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 reviewed Invitation to a Bonfire by the award-winning American writer and cartoonist Adrienne Celt – an ingenious literary mystery based on the infamous Nabokov marriage. >> Read my review >>
Coming soon is my next choice from The Classics Club list and my September selection for The Monthly Genre Challenge at The Reading Challenge Group. This time the genre is Historical Fiction, so I have picked Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.
* The Birthday Shelfie *
I took part in a fun tag that involved sharing a picture (or ‘shelfie) of a favourite bookshelf and then answering ten associated questions. My inaugural shelfie was unusual in that it pictured books received for my birthday. >> Shelfie by Shelfie #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:
Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood – Eleanor Jones found Atwood’s classic dystopian novel, “hard-hitting, brutal and real”. Discover at Not-so-modern girl how she overcame her initial prejudices about the book and now believes it should be “required reading for those in power”.
The Bear and the Nightingale (Katherine Arden) (Winternight #1) – Bea at Just me and a pad of paper is a lover of fairy tales, folklore and mythology. She found this book “lyrical” and “captivating” but wished it had been a stand-alone novel and not the first in a trilogy.
‘No More Boats’ by Felicity Castagna – “Immigration,” writes Kim Forrester, “is arguably the issue of our times.” Discover why she found this Australian novel about migration both “illuminating” and “compelling” in her thoughtful review at Reading Matters.
The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola (2018) – Jane at Beyond Eden Rock appraises a book about a collector of folk tales set in the 19th century on the Isle of Skye.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer – Librarian Deb Baker at Bookconscious writes a fascinating critique of a chronicle detailing the amazing rescue of precious manuscripts from Al Qaeda.
* 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:
Brain Pickings: Pioneering Feminist Philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft on Loneliness, Friendship, and the Courage of Unwavering Affection – Another superb essay from Maria Popova.
Lonely Planet: Visit the vast Brussels bookstore where books and dining meet – Analia Glogowski discovers Cook and Book, an enormous bookstore in the Belgian capital that includes a greenhouse and an Airstream trailer.
The Times Literary Supplement: Rediscovering Charlotte Lennox – “Min Wild on the eighteenth-century novelist, critic and translator filled with self-confidence.”
Medium: There’s Something Wrong with the Library’s Image: A Pictorial Guide – Are libraries badly represented? Writer and librarian Oleg Kagan wonders if books are excessively overhyped at the expense of the many other services on offer!
The New York Times: If You Could Add One Book to the High School Curriculum, What Would It Be? – Several writers suggest books they would like to add to a high school curriculum.
The Millions: 3 Books by Women from the Balkans You Should Be Reading – Ksenia Lakovic examines three books by women from the Balkans that English-language readers should seek out.
Unbound Worlds: So You Want to Read The ’80s: Here’s Where to Start – Shawn Speakman supplies “a magical starting point” to fantasy books of the 1980s.
Signature: The Lost Art of Sentence Diagramming, Plus a Few Examples – Do you know how to diagram a sentence? Sentence diagramming isn’t taught as often as it used to be, but it’s still useful. Lorraine Berry shows us how it’s done.
Vintage: Knausgaard’s My Struggle: A reading guide – “Whether you’ve been following the journey from the beginning, or you’re a brand new convert to Knausgaard’s 6-book series, My Struggle, here’s everything you need to know about it – from the beginning, all the way through to The End…”
Moomin: Archive treasures: Tove Jansson’s notes for the upcoming edition of her Moomin book – Archivists stumbled upon a copy of Comet in Moominland, in which the author Tove Jansson had made copious handwritten notes for the next edition of her novel.
The Paris Review: Vodka for Breakfast: On the Melancholy of Cheever’s Journals – “The themes of John Cheever’s journals—God, sex, guilt, and nature—manage to instil genteel ennui with the anguished moral passion of a Russian novel”, writes Dustin Illingworth.
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.