Winding Up the Week #15

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 Amy Bloom’s White Houses, the story of a hidden love affair between America’s First Lady and a well-known female journalist. >> Read my thoughts >>

I also reviewed Meet Me at the Museum, an epistolary novel of love and selflessness by Anne Youngson. It is due for release on 17th May by Transworld Publishers. >> See my comments >>

Look out for my contribution to the 1977 Club (see WUTW #13), which I’m scrambling to complete before the 22nd April deadline. Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath has been standing neglected in my library for goodness knows how many years. I caught a glimpse of a copy pictured on Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings under a mound of titles first published in ‘77, making it eligible for Karen and Simon’s book reading jolly. I really must reacquaint myself with the contents of my overburdened TBR shelf.

Next up is Freedom – in which Margaret Atwood, “holds a mirror up to our own world.” It is part of the recently released Vintage Minis series of 30 short books by the world’s greatest writers on the experiences that make us human. This one has been selected from The Handmaid’s Tale and Hag-Seed. Funnily enough, when I took the Vintage Mini quiz to find my perfect match, this was the suggested title!

Coming soon is Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, a reimagining of events in the life of literary icon, Truman Capote.


* Memories of a Red House in Rome *

I have republished an article originally written for almost 18 years ago. Why? You’ll find out by reading The Keats-Shelley Memorial House >>

* Reading Wales 2019 *

Caradog coverA big thank-you to Bronwyn at Brona’s Books – a lady from Australia with a fascinating story to tell about her Welsh ancestors – for posting a piece about Reading Wales on her superb blog. >> Read Dewithon 2019 >>

Several of you made suggestions following my recent post about the Welsh diaspora:

Gretchen at Thoughts Become Words alerted me to Nene Davies, a successful fiction writer raised in Wales, who has “lived in [her] city of Brisbane Australia for fifteen years and has written some great stories.” She very kindly pointed me towards an interview with the author: A Welsh Expat living in Brisbane, Australia.

Arfona Jones, a (non-blogging) friend of some 40 years, tells me her favourite Welsh book in translation is Un Nos Ola Leuad (One Moonlit Night) by the Welsh poet, novelist and journalist, Caradoc Pritchard.

Chris from Calmgrove suggested that Joan Aiken, while not being Welsh herself, “was much indebted to Welsh culture in her children’s books, for example riffing on the Welsh colony in South America in The Stolen Lake and on her alternate history The Whispering Mountain set in a strangely truncated 19th-century mid-Wales.” He has “written at length about these in related posts.” I intend to examine the subject of Wales’ influence on the wider literary world in a future article.

Many thanks to all of you. Please do keep on sharing your thoughts and ideas for Dewithon 2019.

* Elizabeth Jolley Week *

Following publication of a new Fremantle Press edition of The Newspaper of Claremont Street, Lisa Hill at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog has decided to host an Elizabeth Jolley Week from the 4th-11th June, starting on what would have been her 95th birthday. Jolley was an English-born writer who settled in Western Australia in the late 1950s, where she became a successful author. It wasn’t until she was 53 that her first novel was published, but she went on to produce fifteen more (including an autobiographical trilogy), four short story collections and three non-fiction books. If you are interested in taking part in this reading event, please leave a comment on Lisa’s post letting her know what you’ve chosen to read.

* Top Book Blogs *

I received an email from Anuj Agarwal, Founder of Feedspot, notifying me that Book Jotter had been “selected by [his panellists] as one of the Top 200 Book Review Blogs on the web.” He describes Feedspot as “the most comprehensive list” of top book blogs on the internet.” Book Jotter is currently sitting at number 150 on the list. Many thanks Anuj.

* 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 interesting snippets:


The Guardian: Man Booker festival: Peter Carey, Kazuo Ishiguro and Hilary Mantel among lineup – There will be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ gathering of past Booker winners in London this July to take part in a festival celebrating 50 years of the prestigious literary award.

Publishers Weekly: Independent Bookstore Day 2018: It’s A Holiday – More than 500 Indie book-stores in the USA are preparing to celebrate the fourth annual Independent Bookstore Day on 28th April.

Medium Daily Digest: How To Quickly Decide Which Book You Should Read Next – Darius Foroux wonders which book on his reading list should he read next?

The Paris Review: Monsieur Bébé: The Brief, Strange Life of Raymond Radiguet – “I want his youth,” a spirit claimed at a séance, addressing Jean Cocteau’s nineteen-year-old protégé, Raymond Radiguet. He died the next year.

Bookish: What Kwame Alexander, Maurene Goo, and Kaveh Akbar Are Reading Now – Discover what several authors are reading at the moment with Myfanwy Collins.

The Millions: The Moon Is Beautiful Tonight: On East Asian Narratives – How storytelling from East Asia often involves plots without using conflict, and how that differs from storytelling in the West.

The Weather Channel: Thoreau’s Walden Pond Being Destroyed by Human Waste and Climate ChangeWalden pond is being destroyed!

Los Angeles Review of Books: “No Longer the Person I Was”: The Dazzling Correspondence of Albert Camus and Maria CasarèsRobert Zaretsky on the “dazzling” letters of Albert Camus and Maria Casarès.

Culture Trip: There’s a Special Japanese Word for People Addicted to Buying Books – Do you relate to the word tsundoku?

BOOKWITTY: 8 Books to Read About The Politics of Food – Food is about so many things: land, the environment, labour and culture; what we eat and how we eat it. Find out more with this thought-provoking reading list.

Unbound Worlds: Two Book Tango: Angela Carter Omnibus and The Invention of Angela CarterTwo Book Tango is an ongoing series in which Unbound Worlds pairs two titles that go well together.



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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20 replies

  1. Thank you so much for helping to promote Elizabeth Jolley Week – very nice of you!

    • You’re more than welcome, Lisa. If I can possibly fit in one of her books I will join you. There are just never enough hours in the day at the mo, but I’ve never read anything by Jolley and you’ve piqued my interest. Keep up the excellent work, your blog is one of the best I’ve come across on the book scene.

  2. Glad to know I am not the only one scrabbling to finish my 1977 club read. How people manage to read multiple books in one week I can’t imagine

  3. 🙂 don’t worry if you don’t finish the 1977 book before the deadline in – we always seem to end up squeezing in late links! 🙂

  4. I barely have time to browse through the Guardian Review over a week, so no idea how you get through all the reading and the ‘reading-around’ that you do! As for tsundoku, I noted a few years ago ( that I suffer from this debilitating condition — it’s nigh well untreatable, as I remain a chronic recidivist.

    Thanks for the link to the Aiken posts I did, obrigado! 🙂

  5. Another action-packed post, Paula! Thank you for the mention and including Welsh expat writer Nene Davies, she’s such a positive person and loves sunny Brisbane.

  6. Thanks for the link to the top book bloggers. I recognized plenty in the 100-200 spots. Very cool!

  7. Another great summary, Paula, with plenty for me to follow up. Thank you 🙂 Vintage Minis… these are new to me (oh dear!). I couldn’t resist the quiz of course – and apparently I need to read Freedom too! I shall await your thoughts on it with anticipation!

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