Winding Up the Week #24

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 The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai – a powerful novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy. >> See my thoughts >>

Look out for my comments on A Private Language: A Dip Into Welsh Literature by Marion Eames, which will be discussed in my fourth occasional feature about Wales to be posted in the run-up to Dewithon 2019.

Next up is Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn – a novella-in-flash that draws upon magic realism to weave a tale of everyday troubles in 1970s communist Romania.


* Three Into One *

My first Three Things… post and I’m already cheating by reading, looking and thinking all at the same time about my experiences at Hay Fest! >> Three Things… #1 >>

* 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 two:

BenjBook review – Benjamin Zephaniah, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah: The Autobiography – Liz at Adventures in reading, running and working from home describes the life story of British dub poet, writer and Rastafarian, Benjamin Zephaniah, as an “excellent read.”

Book review: “The Birth of Venus” by Sarah Dunant – Julia Rice highly recommends Sarah Dunant’s 2004 historical novel set in Renaissance Florence. Read her review at Julia’s Books.

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza – Jennifer has been reading A Place for Us with fellow members of Traveling Sisters. She thoroughly enjoyed savouring this novel and reading it slowly. Discover why she felt it was “one of the best books [she’s] ever read” at Jennifer – Tar Heel Reader.

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans – In her review for Shiny New Books Julie Barham of Northern Reader says she believes this new novel set in 1928 is “rooted in a place, yet with characters who go beyond the here and now.”

A teaching novel about an intellectual rebel: The Spinoza Problem by Irvin D. Yalom – Georgiana from Bucharest confesses to being, “a fan of Yalom’s teaching novels” at Readers’ High Tea.

The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier – review – For her 20 Books of Summer challenge Janet Emson at From First Page to Last read and now highly recommends du Maurier’s short story collection.

* 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 Paris Review: Feminize Your Canon: Olivia Manning – In a new monthly column exploring the lives of underrated and under-read female authors, Emma Garman looks at the British novelist Olivia Manning and what she describes as her, “dogged, embittered career longing, largely in vain, for literary glory and a secure place in the English canon.”

Commonweal Magazine: Men Reviewing Men – Book critic, Anthony Domestico, asks why he was never asked to write about a female author—and takes a long look at why he went along with it.

Brain Pickings: 200 Years of Frankenstein: Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece as a Lens on Today’s Most Pressing Questions of Science, Ethics, and Human Creativity – Another fascinating essay from Maria Popova.

Atlas Obscura: Where the ‘No Ending a Sentence with a Preposition’ Rule Comes From – According to Dan Nosowitz, “the no ending a sentence with a preposition” rule can be sourced to “17th-century England and a fusspot named John Dryden”, the first English poet laureate in history.

BOOKRIOT: Literary Tourism: Scotland – Kathleen Keenan leads us on a clockwise literary route around Scotland.

The Guardian: Vida survey of gender bias in literary criticism shows ‘stubborn imbalance’ – “Authors of report warn that continuing dominance of male writers ‘creates a dangerous lens through which the world is viewed’”, writes Alison Flood.

New Humanist: The dark side of nature writing – Richard Smyth suspects the recent renaissance in nature writing also revives an overlooked connection with fascism.

Goodreads: Hot Reading Challenge Tips from Pros Who Read More Than 100 Books a Year – Members of Goodreads offer advice on speed reading.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Was a Renowned Literary Theorist Also a Spy? – Has Julia Kristeva’s reputation been damaged by revelations that she used to work for Bulgarian intelligence or was the damage done long ago?

Signature: Adventures in Writing: 10 Stunt Memoirs That Shook Up Writers’ Lives – These 10 memoirs by Colson Whitehead, David Foster Wallace, Barbara Kingsolver and more detail spans of time during which writers upended their lives.



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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23 replies

  1. Paula, thank you for mentioning my review and the Traveling Sisters! As always, I look forward to this post every week. It exposes me to new bloggers, new books, and new ideas; all thanks to your work in organizing and writing it.

    • You’re very welcome, Jennifer. I always enjoy reading your reviews. I think it’s a good thing for the book blogging community to work together whenever the opportunity arises as we all have our own particular niches and strengths. Anyhow, glad you find WUTW useful.

  2. Thank you for mentioning me – I’m honoured and feel all famous now! I love all the other fascinating stuff you share, too!

  3. you have an impressive number of books up there, but the one that caught my attention was ‘bottled goods’.

  4. Another fantastic windup! However, I do think the article you refer to about Kristeva is a bit much. She had a really fresh take on literature, and many great writers have engaged in espionage. As for structuralism, it is always something which somebody else has- I think literary critic Terry Eagleton compared it with bad breath in this respect. The politics of the 1970s were much more pluralist than they are now- many respected academics in England and France were sympathetic with regimes that are now considered dreadful as more is known about them.. I think Kristeva may have penned some detective stories as well as some thought-provoking literary criticism, and I for one think that digging up alleged misbehaviour on her part is likely to achieve little. To think that people have the energy to attack original thinkers like Kristeva when a likely fascist is squatting in the White House- maybe it is because there is a likely fascist squatting in the White House. 🙂

  5. I’m a bit confused about that video ok A Private Language. It says it’s a dip into literature but the blurb on Amazing n says it’s aimed at Welsh learners.

  6. Atlas Obscura and origins of ‘No Ending a Sentence with a Preposition Rule’ was most enlightening. I tend to be lax in the grammar department but it’s often one rule which makes me wince.

  7. Thanks a lot for mentioning my post, Paula! Yes, I really recommend Yalom’s novels, they’re so insightful 🙂
    And congrats for writing these resourceful posts, they’re really helpful in discovering very interesting topics!

  8. A Place for Us is on my TBR. It is the one from the SJP imprint right? I loved the articles under the internet finds.

  9. WOW what a windup!!!

  10. Good grief! I don’t see too many light cozy reads there. That’s some major reading, very ambitious. You do an amazing job with the variety. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the shout-out!

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