Winding Up the Week #29

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 Beekeeper of Sinjar by the Iraqi-Assyrian poet and journalist, Dunya Mikhail, a harrowing yet often inspirational book, which gathers together first-hand accounts of women who escaped the clutches of ISIS. >> Read my thoughts >>

Look out for my review of The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker’s reimagining of the Trojan War told from the perspective of Briseis, the woman forced into slavery and given to Achilles, only to find herself the apparent cause of his quarrel with Agamemnon.

Next up is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, my first book choice for The Classics Club (see below), which also happens to be the title I have selected for the latest Monthly Genre Challenge at The Reading Challenge Group – August is focussed on science fiction and dystopian titles.

Coming soon is Invitation to a Bonfire, Adrienne Celt’s tale of a risky love triangle – with an intriguing psychological thriller at its core.


* The Classics: Fifty in Five *

After much prevarication, I have finally succumbed to joining The Classics Club, committing myself to reading 50 outstanding books over a period of five years. >> See my choice of ‘classic’ titles >>

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

DEATH IN SPRINGI’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:

Death in Spring – Mercè Rodoreda – Yorkshire book blogger, David Hebblethwaite of David’s Book World reviews the new Penguin European Writers version of a translated Catalan novel exploring ritualistic customs and traditions in a mountain village.

The Elizabeth Gaskell umbrella mystery – Was Elizabeth Gaskell a velumiphobic? Cath Humphris investigates.

Paris in July 2018 – Willy Ronis’ Cats – Les Chats de Willy Ronis – Caroline, a multilingual translator and writer from Beauty is a Sleeping Cat, participated in Thyme For Tea’s Paris in July event by writing a post about a “beautiful” French photography book.

Sentimental Tales by Mikhail Zoshchenko – In her excellent review for Shiny New Books, Karen Langley of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings describes this satirical Russian short story collection as “funny” but “surprisingly moving”.

Nothing holds the wind back from its wings – Juliana Brina believes that the “strength” of Anna Banti’s 1947 novel, Artemisia, “is drawn from the constant tension between” the reader, and the central character. See more of this perceptive critique at the [blank] garden.

The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman – Helen from She Reads Novels introduces us to Tracy Borman’s first book of fiction and the start of a planned trilogy featuring the historic figure, Frances Gorges.

* 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 Observer: How the ‘brainy’ book became a publishing phenomenon – Alex Preston reveals the best ‘brainy’ books of the last 10 years.

The Paris Review: Ode to the Library Museum – “When we cease to read, we begin to see. At the point of losing sense, we regain sensation,” writes Erica X Eisen.

Bustle: Get Rid Of Books You No Longer Need With This Easy 3 Step Process – Melissa Ragsdale has a few suggestions for “cleaning out” your bookshelves.

IrishCentral: How Ireland has attracted American mystery writers to grace its shores – “What is it that makes Ireland such an enticing destination for mystery fiction writers from America?” asks Clare O’Donohue.

The Millions: What the Caged Bird Feels: A List of Writers in Support of Vegetarianism – From V.S. Naipaul to Leo Tolstoy, Elizabeth Sulis Kim examines vegetarianism in the lives and works of writers through the ages.

The Guardian: Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights – in charts – Two centuries after the publication of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, The Guardian’s illustrators “run the numbers” on her “extraordinary achievement.”

The Atlantic: Why Doctors Should Read Fiction – Sam Kean wonders if a simple literary exercise might make physicians more caring when working with their patients.

The Outline: Dr. Seuss’ forgotten anti-war book made him an enemy of the right – “The Butter Battle Book spoke powerfully against the hacks behind the military-industrial complex—and for that, it was pilloried by the right.”

The Brecon & Radnor Express: Colm Toibin’s House of Names is Hay Festival’s first book of the monthHay Festival has announced its Book of The Month campaign, which, according to Patrick Edwards, will “celebrate new releases as well as older books that have a contemporary resonance.”

The Independent: The Book List: What do astronauts read on the International Space Station? – In his regular Wednesday book feature, Alex Johnson lists a unique collection of titles.

Signature: Herman Melville, From Novella to Opus: What to Read and Where to Start – Nathan Gelgud thinks Moby-Dick deserves its reputation as a classic novel. He suggests whereabouts one should begin with the works of Herman Melville.

Vanity Fair: How Publishing’s Floral-Print Trend Came to Rule the World’s Bookshelves – Kenzie Bryant thinks the modern trend for flowery book jackets is turning book stores into floristry shops.

WIRED: Goodreads and the Crushing Weight of Literary FOMO – Does Goodreads induce in us a fear of missing out (FOMO)? Angela Watercutter believes it makes us uneasy over other readers’ supposed intellectual prowess.



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 or comment below. 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. Thanks so much for the link, Paula.

  2. The titbits you select are always really interesting. The concept of “literary FOMO” is intriguing. When you’re immersed in a book, you don’t think about others a great deal. But that doesn’t make somebody selfish because much of literature involves developing empathy with unusual characters. I suppose the perceived problem comes back to competitiveness. If we think of life as a competition, there will always be people who are much better at playing the games in question. Whereas if we view life as an experience, we can only drink our own cup of tea. The next time I see somebody purchasing an expensive philosophy book, I’ll try to remember that I may be having reading experiences that someone else could envy.

    • So glad you find the links useful.

      Some people do seem to get rather stressed over the reading challenges at Goodreads. I must confess, I’m in awe of those who are able to read two or three hundred books a year – I could never in my wildest dreams keep up with them. I much prefer your tea philosophy, John, and will henceforth place far more importance on having a cuppa! ☕

      • I enjoyed this post too … and particularly Johns comment. I do suffer a bit of reader FOMO, and can be inclined to envy those who read 200 books plus a year. Even 100 books if I’m honest. But, my head tells me that this is mostly my choice, in that I do other things with the time others spend reading, and most of those things are important (ie people or family related) or meaningful things. It’s really only when I’m time-wasting that I kick myself and say “You could be reading you know. Just look at yourself. You only have yourself to blame that you don’t read more!”

  3. Thanks as always for such an interesting round up of links, and also your kind words about my review – much appreciated! 🙂

  4. Great round-up! I like the idea of 50 outstanding books over 5 years, would be interested to see if I’ve read any. Off to check out the linky for the brainy books, that one’s made me curious!
    Have a lovely weekend Paula 🙂
    Caz x

  5. I am ashamed to say I’ve never read Brave new World! I hope you’ll enjoy 😉

  6. Thanks for the link to my review, Paula. I’ll be interested to see your thoughts on The Silence of the Girls as I have just started reading it.

  7. I’m intrigued by The Silence of the Girls as well. Another well-organized and thoughtful post, Paula! I look forward to this each week! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  8. Thank you for the link my review, Paula! Much appreciated 🙂

  9. And, good on you for joining the Classics Challenge.

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