Winding Up the Week #34

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 winner of this year’s CILIP Carnegie Medal, Where the World Ends by Geraldine Mccaughrean. >> Read my review >>

I also reviewed Green Almonds: Letters from Palestine by sisters Anaële & Delphine Hermans, a graphic memoir about a young woman’s experiences in the occupied territories. >> See my thoughts >>

Look out for my comments on Ali Smith’s Autumn, a novel longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017. It seemed appropriate to begin reading her book at this time of year.

Coming soon is The Cake Tree in the Ruins, a short story collection by the Japanese novelist Akiyuki Nosaka – published last month by Pushkin Press.


* Witch Week is Which? *

I was intrigued to spot an announcement at Lizzie Ross’s blog for Witch Week (30th October – 6th November). Originally hosted by Lory at The Emerald City (2014-17), it’s an annual event named after the third book in Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series, which celebrates favourite fantasy books and authors. It has focussed on a different theme each year (New Tales from Old and Dreams of Arthur, to name but two). This year’s theme is Feminism and Fantasy, the read-along will be Ursula K Le Guin’s The Other Wind and the official organizers are Lizzie and her “co-conspirator” Chris from Calmgrove. Watch out for more information appearing on this literary jolly.

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

EYES WATCHING GODI’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:

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston #BookReview – Lisa Hill of ANZ LitLovers LitBlog shares her thoughts on Zora Neale Hurston’s important 1937 novel – an epic tale of a proud, independent black woman.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews – Canadian blogger Naomi MacKinnon at Consumed by Ink found Miriam Toews forthcoming novel “intensely interesting.”

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar #bookreview #tarheelreader @escobargolderos @thomasnelson #auschwitzlullaby – North Carolina critic, Jennifer at Tar Heel Reader says this historical novel: “…sheds an important light on the prejudice against, and extermination of, the Romani people by the Nazis during WWII.”

War in Val d’Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944 by Iris Origo – “Nirmala describes Origo’s war memoir as “deeply moving and inspiring”. Read her fascinating review at Red Lips and Bibliomaniacs.

To make the invisible visible: Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf – Joseph Schreiber believes Catalan author, Alicia Kopf’s new hybrid novel is “an exercise in trust”. Discover why her journey “resonated deeply” with him at roughghosts.

Raphaël Jerusalmy, Evacuation (#BookReview) – Sue T at Whispering Gums found Raphaël Jerusalmy’s translated novel “surprisingly enchanting” with an “engaging narrative”.

* 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:


Culture Trip: What Our Literary Editor Thinks You Should Be Reading This September – Matthew Janney shares his favourite new book releases of the month.

Hay Festival: Book of the Month – September 2018Hay Festival’s recommendation for September is Beloved by the Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

The New York Times: Kate Atkinson: By the Book – The author of Transcription cringes at the idea of a literary dinner party and recalls the death of Ginger in Black Beauty.

The Guardian: ‘Different sex. Same person’: how Woolf’s Orlando became a trans triumphJeanette Winterson explores the affair and politics behind Virginia Woolf’s ground-breaking novel.

Medium: Why You Need to Curate Your Reading List – If you want to write, you must read more advises Michelle Matthews. She offers several suggestions for starting a reading list that will “help you in your creative pursuits”.

Publishers Weekly: The Case of the Confusing Pub Date – A book’s publication date can sometimes seem bizarrely timed. Elizabeth Bluemle asks why.

Independent: The books everyone starts and no one finishes – In his regular column, Alex Johnson scrutinizes books most likely to be abandoned unfinished.

Vulture: J.D. Salinger’s Books Are Being Reissued For a Big Centennial CelebrationLittle, Brown has announced it will be reissuing major works by J.D. Salinger ahead of what would have been his 100th birthday on 1st January 2019.

The New York Times Magazine: Letter of Recommendation: Recently Returned Books – If you’re wondering what to read next, Elisa Gabbert suggests you take a look at titles recently returned to the library.

Vanity Fair: Man Booker Writers On The Books that Have Inspired Them – Authors longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2018 share with VF London the books that have influenced their work.

Medium: The enduring truths of Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’ – John Wight believes that “modern literature lacks the epic works that encompass and define the times in which we live”, describing works of the last thirty years a “plethora of vacuous tripe” written by “middle class people”!

The New Yorker: The Unjustly Overlooked Victorian Novelist Elizabeth Gaskell – Though less popular than her contemporaries like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell was passionate about the political issues of her time says Hannah Rosefield.

Literary Hub: How to Open a Bookstore in Rural Scotland – Shaun Bythell, the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland, learns “the hard way why George Orwell disliked being a bookseller.”

Press Gazette: New literary magazine Booklaunch will use extracts instead of reviews and offer something readers can ‘pick up’ – Dorothy Musariri reports that Stephen Games’ magazine Booklaunch will be “like walking into a book shop, picking up a copy of a book and deciding whether you like the feel of it before buying…”.



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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29 replies

  1. I’ll be interested to hear what you make of Autumn, I read it recently (as you say, the perfect time of year!) but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to. I’m still a big Ali Smith fan though.

    Very excited to hear of a new release by Pushkin Press – always a rewarding read!

  2. Thanks for your support, Paula!
    Having just read Atkinson’s Life After Life, I was happy to find your link to her interview — her list of faves parallels mine (esp Penelope Fitzgerald and Barbara Pym). I’m beginning to suspect I like the writers who like the same writers I like — a viscous circle?

  3. What a wonderful round-up! It’s a good way for me to catch up on some posts I’ve missed. And thanks for including mine! 🙂

  4. You always find so many great links, I never know where to start!!!

  5. A humbling honor to be included in your Winding Up the Week post, Paula! Thank you! I love spending part my Saturday morning with this post checking out your weekly travels. 😊

  6. Thank you for including my post in your round-up post, Paula! 🙂 The list of books that have inspired authors longlisted for the Man Booker this year is pretty nice. Added a bunch of those books to my wish-list now. 😀

  7. So pleased to see Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing acknowledged in The New Yorker. I binge-read her books after “North and South” and found her pre-psychology insights into human behaviour were amazing. In particular “Ruth” where she describes PTSD well before the term was coined. Interesting that the quality and depth of “Les Miserables” (I’ve never read the book, just seen the movie) is lacking in our modern ‘vacuous tripe’. I’ve noticed a new TV series is coming based on that epic novel, “War and Peace”.

  8. I’m glad Witch Week caught your eye. I’m so happy it’s been taken up by two fabulous bloggers and I look forward to this year’s program.

  9. Firstly, thanks so much for the link Paula. I feel chuffed to be in that company.

    I enjoy posts like this. Would love to do them myself, but they take such time to do, I know.

    Several of your links interest me, particularly the one about Gaskell, but right now I’m going to check out that one about abandoned books, to see if any of mine are there!

  10. The first sentence in the Independent article you highlighted caught my attention: “Tsundoku: a Japanese term for the habit of buying books, then leaving them unread in a pile”. For a minute I thought it was a wind up so had to of course Google. Well what a surprise, the term does exist!

  11. Wow, lots of great links here. I won’t be able to check them all out, but this will keep me busy for awhile.

  12. I don’t like all those “women in jeopardy” novels either, and there seem to be an awful lot of them…
    Like Kate Atkinson, I couldn’t bear to read a ‘woman in jeopardy’ novel, and steer clear of tv crime serials that feature these: there’s enough inhumanity to women in the world to want to read fiction about it or watch it dramatised.

    Thanks also for the link to the Vita/Virginia article. Having just spent a week in Sussex it was fascinating to visit Vita’s Sissinghurst and Virginia’s Monk’s House, and to see Virginia’s actual ‘room of her own’; also to see where Radclyffe Hall lived in Rye (a fantastic Gothick brick façade, though as it’s a private residence we couldn’t go in). Orlando being the only Woolf I’ve read so far it was also interesting to see the related exhibition about it currently showing at Vanessa Bell’s home Charleston.

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