An end of week recap
This 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.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
I read and ruminated on Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s ingenious 1932 dystopian fantasy – considered to be his most enduring masterwork. This was my first choice from The Classics Club list. >> Share my thoughts >>
* Reading Wales Update *
A big thank-you to Lizzie Ross for mentioning Dewithon 2019 in her Quick check in… on 9th August. I’m delighted to report she hopes to “participate in some way, perhaps with a re-read of How Green Was My Valley” by Richard Llewellyn. It will be a pleasure to have you join us, Lizzie.
Amy-Louise at Tomes with Tea reported back from the first book blogger meet-up in South Wales in her post: The Swansea Blogger Collective – Meet Up #1. She writes: “The wonderful Twitter Guy from Waterstones Swansea responded, loved the idea, and ran with it. The birth of the Swansea Bloggers Collective happened.” If you live locally and fancy popping along to the group’s September gathering, please tweet Guy.
Remaining in South Wales, Jessie Cahalin of Books in my Handbag Blog paid a visit to Cardiff’s Octavo’s Bookshop and Bar, “the oldest surviving building in what was known as Tiger Bay.” She describes the store as having a “welcoming, calm bookish environment that invites the customer to linger, read and create.” Read her thoughts in Creative Inspiration at Octavo’s Bookshop. You may also enjoy reading her post, Delving into the Dark Past with Thorne Moore, in which she chats to the author Thorne Moore at the Cardiff Literary Festival.
* 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:
Review: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson – Cardiff based blogger Chelsie of The Bookish Bundle, enjoyed Jeanette Winterson’s retelling of The Winter’s Tale – the first book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series – which she described as, “readable”, “very cleverly written” and “snappy with a heap of imagination”.
Storied: O, Brother, Where Art Thou? – To Kill a Mockingbird is the first book reviewed by Beth A. Steffens for ‘Storied’, her new Big Little Literature series. She says it’s her “personal initiative to read the greatest books in American literature.”
Reading the Russian Revolution – Wrap-Up – FictionFan’s Book Reviews has “thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience” of reading literature of the Russian Revolution over the last 18 months.
16 Puerto Rican Women and Non-Binary Writers Telling New Stories – A post from Eleanor Parker Sapia at The Writing Life Blog on Dr. Ivelisse Rodriguez’s book about “writers who are changing the topography of Puerto Rican literature”.
Review: August by Romina Paula (tr. Jennifer Croft) – Abe dissects August, a reverse coming-of-age story set in Argentina, at The Old Book Appreciator.
* 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: ‘A different way of living’: why writers are celebrating middle-age – Lara Feigel on authors redefining life after menopause, children or divorce. She reckons, “it has never looked so good!”
Signature: A Turbulent History: The 11 Best Books to Understand Pakistan – Keith Rice has come up with a selection of books he believes will help readers better understand Pakistan’s turbulent history.
The Outline: How a queer fabulism came to dominate contemporary women’s writing – “Recent books by Carmen Maria Machado, Daisy Johnson, Melissa Broder, and many more are part of a burgeoning trend in writing that uses the fantastic to explore marginalized experiences,” writes Kit Haggard.
The Atlantic: Who Gets to Claim Kafka? – Adam Kirsch reports: “a court battle between German and Israeli archives over [Kafka’s] manuscripts raised literary, not just legal, questions.”
Electric Literature: The Weirdest Libraries Around the World – “Get your books from a phone booth, monastery, military tank, or camel,” suggests Brianne Alphonso.
Culture Trip: Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries – From Brazil to Austria, take a peek inside the world’s most impressive libraries with Amber C. Snider.
The Times Literary Supplement: Partnership of equals: John Fletcher on the quasi-marriage of Albert Camus and Maria Casarès – “He was guilty of Don Juanism, albeit of a discerning kind.” John Fletcher writes on the revealing letters of Albert Camus.
Remezcla: The Literary Canon Is Mostly White. Here’s an Alternative Latin American Reading List – Alejandra Oliva lists nine works to read as an alternative to the typical literary canon, including books by Julio Cortázar and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
The Atlantic: What Rereading Childhood Books Teaches Adults About Themselves – Emma Court believes that, “whether they delight or disappoint, old books provide touchstones for tracking personal growth.”
The American Conservative: The Hedonism of Reading Good Books – Choosing what to read takes time and effort and often results in disappointment. E.J. Hutchinson believes you should do yourself a favour and ditch the best-sellers.
Signature: 100 Best Thrillers of All Time – Signature reveals its take on the 100 best thrillers of all time, “spanning the best psychological thrillers, crime novels, and mysteries.”
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.