Winding Up the Week #14

An end of week recap

Winding Up the Week #11This 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.


I read and reviewed Oscar Wilde’s whimsical short story collection, A House of Pomegranates, first published in 1891. >> See my thoughts >>

I also posted a review of Roxane Gay’s collection Ayiti, a unique blend of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, all interwoven to represent the Haitian diaspora experience. >> Read my comments >>

Look out for my review of White Houses by the American writer and psychotherapist, Amy Bloom, due for release in the UK on 3rd May by Granta Publications.

Next up is Meet Me at the Museum, the debut novel of Anne Youngson, which is scheduled for publication on 17th May by Transworld Publishers.

Coming soon is my initiation into the collaborative world of Blog Tours. I am currently reading Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? by Lev Parikian, which is due for release by Unbound on 17th May, however, you won’t be able to see my review until the official tour rolls up at Book Jotter the following day. The subtitle for this memoir is 200 birds. 12 months. 1 lapsed birdwatcher. As a fellow (partially lapsed) birder, this is right up my street – or should I say tree?


* Reading Wales 2019 *

I have posted the first in a series of features about Wales, its people, history, culture and most importantly, its literature, which will appear sporadically in the months leading up to the first ever Dewithon, or Wales Readathon (1st to 31st March 2019). In this post we take a brief look at Welsh emigrants. >> Read: The Welsh Diaspora and its Literature >>

* Les Mis Marathon *

les misWhich of you brave souls have been taking part in the Les Misérables Read-along with Nick Senger at One Catholic Life? Starting 1st January 2018, those participating have been reading the unabridged, translated version of Victor Hugo’s 1862 masterpiece at the rate of a chapter a day in order to savour the experience and make it “part of daily life for […] 365 days” – as astonishingly, there are exactly 365 chapters in the book. Considered by many to be one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, Les Misérables is 1,463 pages long and contains 655,478 words in five volumes, making it among the lengthiest to be released by a mainstream publisher. Nick has posted a number of fascinating articles on the subject of this literary tour de force, in addition to information concerning the Read-along itself. It is well worth monitoring his progress by signing up to receive updates from his blog or by following him on Twitter.

* Man Booker International 2018 Shortlist Announced *

The shortlist for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize has been announced, naming six authors from around the world. The £50,000 prize is split equally between the author and the translator of the English version. The overall winners will be revealed on 22nd May.

  • Vernon Subutex 1: Virginie Despentes (France), Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press)
  • The White Book: Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith (Portobello Books)
  • The World Goes On: László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes (Tuskar Rock Press)
  • Like a Fading Shadow: Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain), Camilo A. Ramirez (Tuskar Rock Press)
  • Frankenstein in Baghdad: Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq), Jonathan Wright (Oneworld)
  • Flights: Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

* 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 a handful of (well, perhaps more than a handful this week) interesting snippets:


Literature Wales: Literature Wales announces the dates for the Wales Book of the Year Awards 2018 and its all-star panel of Judges – Once again, Literature Wales will be hosting the Wales Book of the Year Awards 2018.

Signature: Reading Charles Dickens for the First Time: A Reading Journey – Join Lorraine Berry as she reads the oeurve of Charles Dickens for the first time.

The Paris Review: Shakespeare’s Twitter Account – “The Shakespeare moderator describes his tribute account as ‘a play in miniature.’ He uses Shakespeare’s words to comment on the world and listens as his hundreds of thousands of followers engage,” writes New York based writer and editor, Kate Dwyer.

Bookwitty: Illustrating the Illustrious Women of History: Picture Books to Inspire Young Feminists – Relaying stories about extraordinary women, past and present, for children is essential. Here’s a reading list from Rachel Sherlock about a wave of fabulous books, many of them with great illustrations, for kids and young adults.

Atlas Obscura: The Secret Codes Hidden in the Books of a Scottish Library – Natasha Frost discovers that mysterious symbols are a way for elderly readers to keep track of what they’ve already read.

TLS: Widest senseThe Times Literary Supplement is 6,000 issues old!

The Nation: The Insanity DefenceEvan Kindley examines Ezra Pound’s unsavoury political legacy.

Medium: 25 Recommendations For Life Changing Biographies For The Voracious Reader In You – “Smart people read biographies,” writes Ryan Holiday. He suggests a few titles to increase your collection.

The Bookseller: Book reviewers urge publishers to use recyclable packaging – A group of UK books journalists have written an open letter urging publishers to use recyclable packaging to send out books.

Wigan Lane Books: 10 of the Oldest Known Surviving Books in the World – Following the discovery of what could be the earliest known siddur (Jewish prayer book) in 2014, this UK book store listed some of the world’s oldest surviving books, complete with full colour photographs.

NPR: Nobel Prize Judges Face Crisis ‘Worse Than One Can Imagine’ After Resignations – “The institution is in ruins,” a local culture editor said of the allegations and subsequent resignations that have rocked the Swedish Academy.

The Culture Trip: What Our Literary Editor Thinks You Should Be Reading This April – A Japanese novella, Albanian poetry and fiction from bestselling author Meg Wolitzer feature in this month’s round-up from UK Books Editor, Matthew Janney.

Lifehacker: How to Prune Your Book Collection, According to Professional Book People – Advice from authors, publishers, and booksellers (all notorious book hoarders) on how they keep control of their home libraries.

Electric Literature: What Are the Rules for Lending Your Books to Friends? – Erin Bartnett asks librarians if there are rules for lending your books to friends?

Signature: Much Better Than a Masterpiece: Finding Humanity in The Great Gatsby – On the anniversary of the publication of The Great Gatsby, Nathan Gelgud examines the pockets of humanity in the book that make it better than a masterpiece.



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.

Categories: Winding Up the Week

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

14 replies

  1. Still gathering up the courage to read Les Mis 😛

  2. I really love your Winding Up the Week posts. 🙂

  3. I feel really old because I’m dying of laughter over the title Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? (The Carpenters, anyone?)😁

    • Ahh, of course – I thought the words seemed vaguely familiar. ‘Close to you’, wasn’t it? Although I think the birds might have been appearing rather than disappearing in the lyrics. That is going back a few years. Well remembered, Tammy! 🤣

  4. I really enjoy these wrap up posts of yours!

  5. Marathoning Les Mis sounds like a wonderful idea to motivate you to finish such a chunky book! I’ve never read the book itself, but I’ve always wanted to.

  6. Another fan of your Winding Up posts here, Paula 🙂 I’m looking forward to the Disappearing Birds review and now I’m humming along with The Carpenters playing in my head… As for Les Mis…. maybe when I’ve finished Dickens 😉

  7. I read and reviewed White HOuses. I will be interested to see what you thought of it.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: