Winding Up the Week #9


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.


My reading choices this week were planned to tie-in with International Women’s Day on 7th March. The festival’s theme for 2018 was Press For Progress, and its slogan: ‘Individually, we’re one drop but together we’re an ocean!’

I read and reviewed The Little Book of Feminist Saints, Julia Pierpont’s joyous celebration of one-hundred women who achieved something of significance during their lives. >> Read my thoughts >>

Landing on my bedside-table with an ominous thud was an unabridged copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork, The Second Sex – another dip-in doorstop, I fear. If I am ever to work my way through the 700-plus pages of groundbreaking analysis, I will probably need to tackle it one chapter at a time. Wish me luck!

Look out for my review of Turn a Blind Eye, the first in a planned new series of DI Maya Rahman crime novels by Vicky Newham.

Next up is Lost for Words, a light novel by Stephanie Butland, which has been described as having the “emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road”. The latter is a great favourite of mine, so we shall see!

Coming soon is The End of Loneliness by the Swiss-German novelist, Benedict Wells – winner of the 2016 European Union Prize for Literature.


* How to Read a Novel: Week #2 *

I have completed the second week of my online course, How to Read a Novel, in which we looked at characterisation by reading from several novels, but with particular emphasis on What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell. >> Character assassination >>

* Wales Readathon 2019 *

dafodillsThe Welsh celebrate St David’s Day annually on 1st March – the date of our patron saint’s death in 589 CE. However, while Ireland’s St Paddy’s Day (17th March) is all about shamrocks and pointy green hats, we in Wales go about sedately brandishing leeks and wearing daffodils in our lapels.

I have noticed there are literary shenanigans breaking out all over the blogosphere for the feast of Saint Patrick, but little happening to honour our fella (with the exception of an excellent piece from the talented Karen at BookerTalk). I have, therefore, decided that from next year I will start hosting #dewithon19 on Book Jotter – Dewi being the diminutive form of the Welsh name Dafydd (David).

Throughout March 2019 we will celebrate Welsh literature by reading the works of our authors and poets. These can be novels, non-fiction, short stories, poetry collections or texts of any sort; written either in Welsh or English, whichever you prefer, but as a non-Welsh-speaking (well, pretty hopeless), Welsh-born woman, my posts won’t, I’m afraid, be bilingual. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop native speakers from reading and posting in Cymraeg (the true ‘British tongue’).

We have 12 months in which to prepare, so there is ample time to develop a master plan – but the focus will be on wordsmiths writing in and about Wales and its people (past or present): so, in addition to stories and poems, we will explore all that embraces the written-word on Wales.

I would very much like to hear your suggestions, so please do let me know if you have any thoughts on our first month-long Wales Readathon, commencing 1st March 2019. This literary jolly will, of course, be open to everyone from all parts of the book-blogging world – the wider variety of readers taking part, the better. So, to stimulate your Welsh bookbuds, I suggest you take a look at a couple of websites listing Welsh writers: Wikipedia and Visit Wales. You may be surprised to find names like Roald Dahl, Philip Pulman and Sarah Waters among them.

* 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 new Scandi noir? The Korean writers reinventing the thriller – The country has emerged as a surprising literary force as a novel by the ‘Korean Henning Mankell’ bags a six-figure deal and sparks a global bidding war,” writes Alison Flood.

Signature: Literary Loners and Outsiders to Read When You’re Feeling Misanthropic – As “a particularly introverted person,” Keith Price says he has always been drawn to fictional “misfits, loners, and outsiders.” He shares a few of his favourites.

The Times Literary Supplement: All TalkGore Vidal on being a public author, from an article first published in 1965.

Brain Pickings: A Burst of Light: Audre Lorde on Turning Fear Into FireMaria Popova writes of the late poet, essayist, feminist and civil rights champion, Audre Lorde, who died in 1992 at the age of 58.

Electric Literature: Why I Left Men for Books – Women’s solitude, and women’s reading, can be a radical act!

BOOKWITTY: Man’s Best Feline: 6 Books About Cats from Literature’s Most Influential Men – “If some of history’s greatest literature has anything to say for it, cats are man’s best friend,” writes Project Coordinator and Regional Ambassador at Bookwitty, Kanzi Kamel.

Forward: Paula Vogel, Avram Finkelstein Finalists For Lambda Literary AwardsCarmen Maria Machado, Eileen Myles and Danez Smith are among the finalist for the awards, which recognise achievement in LGBTQ literature.

The Paris Review: Mean Streets: The Life and Afterlife of Berlin AlexanderplatzDustin Illingworth asks: How did a middle-aged medical doctor manage to write the ne plus ultra of city literature?


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.

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.

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21 replies

  1. I loved the Electric Literature piece on sleeping with books. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I was very struck by The End of Loneliness. Charlotte Collins is one of those translators who seem to pick excellent novels.

  3. Turn A Blind Eye is one I’ll make a note of for my mother’s birthday as I think it’s one she’d quite enjoy. As per the last comment, I’m quite intrigued by The End of Loneliness too. x

  4. I’d certainly be interested in the Dewithon! As it happens, one of my favourite authors — Diana Wynne Jones — had Welsh blood and March is already March Magics month celebrating both DWJ and Terry Pratchett. I’m already keen on medieval Welsh literature so that’s another avenue to continue exploring. Then there are authors like Horatio Clare, Jasper Fforde and the much admired author-illustrator Jackie Morris to consider further. What a treat!

  5. Can wholeheartedly agree with reading Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde. Love their work!

  6. Thank you for those kind words about my rambling thoughts… love the idea of the Dewithon. Any visibility we can give to writers from Wales and the publishing scene will be so appreciated by those involved. This will give me the impetus I needed to write a list of books and authors for people who want to read more from our fair country….


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