Winding Up the Week #22

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 Orchid & the Wasp by Caoilinn Hughes, a dark but amusing coming-of-age story, which encompasses sexuality, mental health, class, religion and contemporary politics. >> See my thoughts >>

I also reviewed Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss – the tale of a teenage girl living in a remote Northumberland camp as an exercise in ‘experiential archaeology’. It is out with Granta Publications on 20th September. >> Read my views >>

Look out for my ruminations on the Jules Verne classic, Around the World in 80 Days. This is my choice for June’s Monthly Genre Challenge with The Reading Challenge Group on Goodreads.

Next up is The Great Believers, a new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, by the award-winning author Rebecca Makkai.

Coming soon are two very different books I brought home from Hay Festival 2018: 24 Stories: of Hope for Survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire, edited by Kathy Burke and Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Jennifer Croft) – winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2018.


* Featured in Guardian Books *

Guardian Books

One of my photographs from the Hay Festival, showing a small selection of my ‘Hay hoard’, was featured in The Guardian’s 28th May ‘Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week?‘. No doubt this means instant stardom and a possible appearance in the next series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

* Reading #Vote100Books *

After masses of nominations and much lively debate, Hay Fest came up with the top 100 books by women over the last century. It’s contentious, as you might expect, but I still hope to read my way through the list (well, most of it)! >> A Century of Memorable Books by Women Writers >>

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

I’m going to share with you six of my favourite literary posts from around the blogosphere. There are so many talented writers posting high-quality book features and reviews, it was difficult to limit the list to only these few – all of them published over the last week or so:

The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood (2009) – A thoughtful review of the second novel in Margaret Atwood’s brilliant dystopian trilogy from Ali at HEAVENALI, a lady who describes herself as “a bit book crazy”. We’re so glad you are, Ali!

North Wales Folk Tales for Children – A rather lovely review of a children’s book by Fiona Collins from Amalia at The Opinionated Reader, complete with stunning photographs of North Wales. This is a definite heads-up for Dewithoners!

The Newspaper of Claremont Street, by Elizabeth Jolley – Over at ANZ LitLovers, Lisa Hill, a prominent voice in the Australian and New Zealand book blogging community, posts her first critical piece for Elizabeth Jolley Week, in honour of the author’s birth on 4th June 1923.

‘Night and Day’ by Virginia Woolf (Review) – Tony at Tony’s Reading List, whose tag line is “Too lazy to be a writer – Too egotistical to be quiet” (I’m sure that isn’t true, Tony), shares his thoughts on rereading one of Virginia Woolf’s more conventional novels.

The Street of Crocodiles – Jenny from Shelf Love examines this short story collection by Bruno Schulz, a writer regarded by many as one of the great Polish-language prose stylists of the 20th century.

Neuromancer, by William Gibson – Eleanor, the lucky lady who works at Heywood Hill, a well known book shop in Mayfair, gets her “cyberpunk fix” over at Elle Thinks.

* Irresistible Items *

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: Kamila Shamsie wins Women’s prize for fiction for ‘story of our times’Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, which reworks Sophocles’ Antigone to tell the story of a British family caught up by Isis, takes £30,000 award

Literary Hub: Bradley Babendir on Marilynne Robinson, Zinzi Clemmons, and the Economics of Writing – Writer and critic, Bradley Babendir explains why he believes so many book reviews these days are overly positive.

Futurity: Millennials may prefer reading paper books over e-books – According to a new study, young people may prefer physical books over ebooks.

The Paris Review: Edmund White, The Art of Fiction No. 105 – Jordan Elgrably recalls interviewing Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story and The Beautiful Room Is Empty, at his Paris home in 1988.

The Edinburgh Reporter: The 10 best bookshops in Edinburgh – Alastair Stewart lists what he believes to be the ten ‘best’ bookshops in the Scottish capital.

BOOKRIOT: A Librarian’s Top 5 Tips to Help You Build a Home Library – A librarian’s top five tips to help you turn that book collection into your very own athenaeum.

Channel 4 News: One hundred books written today that won’t be published for one hundred yearsThe Future Library is the creation of the Scottish artist Katie Paterson, and it is happening in the middle of a Norwegian forest.

Electric Literature: Vladimir Nabokov Taught Me How to Be a Feminist – Adrienne Celt explains what she gained from finding out that her favourite writer wasn’t the man she first thought him to be.

Independent: The Book List: Titles most commonly left at Travelodges – from Fifty Shades of Grey to The Casual Vacancy – Alex Johnson names the most popular ‘left behind’ books in Travelodges.

Cherwell: Is the publishing boom ‘a sign of cultural vitality’? – Despite the recent publishing boom, the literary landscape is looking increasingly streamlined and less diverse says Alex Jacobs.



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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19 replies

  1. Will look forward to your thoughts on The Great Believers – I’m a sucker for books set in the 80s but wondering if this one is trying to do too much?

  2. Congratulations on getting featured. The year of Magical thinking is a wonderful book , I hope you like it too.

  3. Thank you so much, Paula!! Many congratulations on getting featured in The Guardian!

  4. I am starting to look forward to your Winding Up the Week posts, Paula! So much good stuff in here! I’m going to back and peek around some more. Happy weekend to you!

  5. Amongst your links I was pleased to read about millennials and physical books, their emotional ties to them and their different feelings about ebooks compared to older readers. Perhaps an equivalent is the surge in popularity for vinyl records by a generation who weren’t around when vinyl was first displayed by cassettes and then CDs, before even sound files began to be downloaded or streamed.

    • Yes, there does seem to be a resurgence of interest in owning physical books and vinyl. As someone who was a keen record collector (in addition to a book lover) as a young person, a large part of the enjoyment I received from buying them was their tangibility. I loved sliding the discs into protective envelopes, examining the artwork on the sleeves, and filing them alphabetically on shelves (yes, I know, should have realised then!) They were easily scratched, I know, but I so liked rooting about in record shops. CDs were okay but not nearly so much fun; and as for downloads… Well, far more practical but they never did it for me! 😂

  6. I wonder how many of those “left behind” books are BookCrossing books, left on purpose to find a new home. I certainly do that in hotels …

    • I wonder? I once found one in a service station café on the M56, just outside Chester, and for the life of me I can no longer recall its title. Anyhow, I left it in the bar at Clwyd Theatr Cymru one evening and never heard of it again. Perhaps the cleaners disposed of it!

      • Oh wow! how cool is that! I’ve only found a few in the wild, and used to release them all over the place and have seen them travel far.

  7. Congrats on being featured in the Guardian. I always find what you write to be worth reading.

  8. Yes, add my congratulations too!
    And thanks for the mention, much appreciated:)

  9. I’ve thought about leaving books in hotel rooms but haven’t done so because I’m afraid they will just end up in the rubbish. I’ve stayed in some small hotels where they have a bookcase of items guests have donated. They tend to be thrillers.

    • I stayed in a guest house on the Scillies last year and it had an amazing book case full of excellent titles (everything from Sarah Waters and Italo Calvino to Jonathan Swift and TS Eliot). Not a Dan Brown or E. L. James to be found. Apparently they had all been left there by guests. I was impressed!

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