Winding Up the Week #8


An end of week recap

This is a weekly post in which I summarize books read, reviewed and currently on my TBR shelf. In addition to a variety of literary titbits, I look ahead to forthcoming features, see what’s on the night-stand and keep readers abreast of various book-related happenings.

If there is something you would particularly like to see on Winding Up the Week or if you have any suggestions, questions or comments for Book Jotter in general, please drop me a line. I would be delighted to hear from you.


I read and reviewed the delightful Great Polar Bear, a poetic and scientifically accurate story about a year in the life of a polar bear by children’s author, Carolyn Lesser. My brief write-up was a Featured Review on Net Galley. >> Read my thoughts >>

Off the bedside-table at long last is George Orwell: A Life in Letters. For the last three or four months I’ve been dipping into this book, reading only a few pages at a time before turning out the light. So it was with a mixture of sadness and relief that I read Orwell’s final letter – written shortly before his death – dated 17th September 1949. >> See my comments >>

Look out for my review of The Little Book of Feminist Saints by Julia Pierpont, which is due to be published by Random House on 6th March.

Next up is Turn a Blind Eye (DI Maya Rahman, #1) by Vicky Newham. This is my chosen mystery read for March in The 2018 Reading Challenge Group’s Monthly Genre Challenge.

Coming soon is Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland. It’s a little out of my usual sphere, but I rather like the description of the protagonist’s work-place and refuge being a “New York book emporium.”


* How to Read a Novel: Week 1 *

I completed the first week of my free online course, How to Read a Novel, and I’m relieved to report that I made good progress. >> Plotting and swotting >>

* More milestones *

1337 badgeAnother of those colourful, saucer-shaped discs landed on my notice board a few days ago, transmitting the message: “You received 1,337 likes on Book Jotter!” Was that 1,337? How bizarre! Call me a nit-picky old quibbler but that seems a slightly odd number. The little green aliens at WordPress obviously have an unorthodox saucer-grading system. Ah well, it was still very much appreciated.

* Women at Work with the Live Life Better Podcast *

If you’re in or near London on 7th March, you may like to go along to the LIVE.LIFE.BETTER. LIVE EVENT at the Like A Woman Bookshop in Shoreditch. Podcast host, Melissa Hemsley will discuss how best to put purpose at the heart of a business. She wants to know if feminine traits are set to differentiate the successful leaders of the future, and if we can find meaning in our work. Authors Rukmini Iyer and Holly Branson will join her to share their experiences, provide key tips and hand out take-home takeaways.

Don’t worry if you can’t be there in person – the organizers have all eventualities covered. You can follow updates on the night and the following day when the event will be released as a special International Women’s Day podcast on the Penguin Living Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.

All tickets include £5 redeemable at the Like A Woman Bookshop. The remainder of every ticket sold will be donated to Solace Women’s Aid. You can purchase tickets here.

* Fab Features *

Umpteen fascinating articles appeared on my bookdar last week. I generally make a point of tweeting my favourite finds, but in case you missed anything, here are one or two interesting snippets:

The Guardian: The parent trap: can you be a good writer and a good parent? – “Doris Lessing left her marriage and children to write. Seventy-five years on, Lara Feigel examines the author’s maternal ambivalence and explores her own struggle to balance motherhood and freedom.”

Literary Hub: 25 Legendary Literary Feuds, Ranked – Literary ding-dongs in ranking order!

BOOKWITTY: 5 Books Set in Hotels Around the WorldPenguin Random House presents a selection of books where the hotel setting is so prominent and intriguing that the hotel becomes another character.

Electric Literature: Can Novels Change Our Attitudes About Death?John MacNeill Miller searches for death-positive books in a death-phobic culture.

NBC News: Baghdad’s first female bookseller breaks barriers – Bara’a Abdul Hadi Mudher al-Biyati is the first woman to run a book shop and publishing house on al-Muntanabbi Street.

The Millions: Are Feminist Dystopias the #MeToo Movement of Literature? – A steady rise in post-apocalyptic/dystopian books that feature control over some aspects of female reproduction has not been entirely lauded, writes Kaethe Schwehn.

Penguin Random House: 10 Vintage books that celebrate International Women’s Day – Celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March and the year of Vote 100 by reading the women who made the world a fairer place for those that followed them.

Paris Review: Astrid Lindgren, the Gutsy Creator of Pippi Longstocking – Chantel Tattoli writes about the famed Swedish author of Pippi Longstocking as Jens Andersen’s biography, Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking is released by Yale University Press.

PW Tip Sheet: Inside the Secret Society of Jane Austen Superfans – A look inside the dancing, petticoat-wearing world of Janeites.

Signature: Best Books to Take You Back to the ’80s When You’re Feeling Nostalgic – The best books of the 1980s ranged from disturbingly prescient dystopian horrors to heart-rending sagas, escapist yarns, and everything in between.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I wish you a week bountiful in books and rich in reading.

NB In this feature, ‘winding up’ refers to the act of concluding something and should not be confused with the British expression: ‘wind-up’ – an age-old pastime of ‘winding-up’ friends and family by teasing or playing pranks on them. If you would like to know more about this expression, there’s an excellent description on Urban Dictionary.

Categories: Winding Up the Week

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. 1337 looks like a prime number to me, but I may be wrong, and anyway it seems such an odd figure to be celebrating, I agree. But congrats! And as always I am in awe about how much literary stuff you achieve in just one week.

    • You’re probably right – numbers aren’t really my thing. Anyhow, thank you kindly! 😊

    • 1337 is not a weird number 🙂 it’s “leet” – look up what that is!

      • Thanks Evelina. I did as you said and looked up “leet”. The definitions I got were:

        1. A yearly or half-yearly court of record that the lords of certain manors held.

        2. A list of candidates selected for a post.

        3. An informal language or code used on the Internet, in which standard letters are often replaced by numerals or special characters.

        4. A derivative of the 80’s software piracy scene.

        Did you mean the third definition? In which case, whatever can 1337 mean? Now I’m confused (but it doesn’t take much)! 🤔

      • I see, Paula, that ‘leet’ (short for ‘elite’) is this number by way of the following substitutions: l=1, EE=33 and T=7. Because the numbers come close to the lower or upper case letters (as appropriate) you could write words, phrases or sentences in numbers or express numbers as word etc. Good for passwords or mnemonics for example!

        And 1337 isn’t a prime number, I’ve worked out: for example it’s divisible by 7, which is a prime number.

      • It would be the third one. 1337 means “leet”, which comes from “elite”, as in not all can understand it 😀 which, as you can see, is the case! Basically, it’s a number that nerdy people think is cool. Nerdy people tend to have websites. That’s why WordPress celebrates this number of likes. Yes, I am nerdy as well 🙂

      • I did, and see that it’s cipher substitution by another name! You live and learn, as they say, thanks Evelina 😀

      • I still had to explain it to Paula 😀 I guess you could just say it’s a funny nerdy word is all 🙂

      • Nerds of the World Unite!

      • And very much appreciated was your explanation, too! Thank you Evelina.

    • Ahh, I see (or I think I do). Thank you for the explanation! 🤯

    • If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lie down in a dark room!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: