An end of week recap
I am fortunate to have good friends with an apartment in Northern Cyprus. Every year I spend about three weeks over there with them enjoying the warmth, eating far too much and reading on a lovely, peaceful, sandy beach – when I’m not splashing about in the sea or snorkelling. This year I will be away from 18th September until 6th October, which means that next Saturday WUTW #36 will be coming to you from Lapta, a small town known in ancient times as “Laphetos”, one of the oldest civilized areas on the island.
I will, of course, endeavour to post regular book-related content to BJ during my time away.
As usual, 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.
See you in Cyprus!
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
I read and reviewed Autumn, the first in Ali Smith’s tetralogy in progress, ‘Seasonal’ – published by Hamish Hamilton in 2016. >> Read my review >>
Look out for my thoughts on The Cake Tree in the Ruins, a short story collection by the Japanese novelist Akiyuki Nosaka – published last month by Pushkin Press.
Next up is Margaret Atwood’s historical novel, Alias Grace, which I’m reading for The Classics Club and The Monthly Genre Challenge at The Reading Challenge Group. This is one for the beach!
* We Celebrate Owain Glyndŵr Day *
On 16th September Wales marks the anniversary of its national hero becoming the last true Welsh Prince of Wales in 1400. We take a brief look at Owain Glyndŵr’s place in history and his frequent appearances in literature. This is the fifth in a series of occasional features about Wales to be posted in the months leading up to the first ever Dewithon, or Wales Readathon, which will take place from 1st to 31st March 2019. >> Read Owain Glyndŵr Day >>
* Help Jay Choose His Next Readathon *
Nobody could accuse James J. Cudney IV of indolence. He’s at it again: no sooner has his Children’s Books Readathon ended (and that began shortly after his Agatha Christie Readathon) than he’s energetically planning his next book blogging jolly. He’s “targeting November” for the upcoming event and has plenty of suggestions to share with everyone, which he’s helpfully included in his post, My Next Readathon – Input? at This is My Truth Now. He would, however, value your input and asks that you please submit readathon ideas before 15th September (that’s today – yikes!) – this will enable him to publish a poll listing the proposed topics and books.
* 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:
The Proverb Zoo – Tom Carlisle shares his thoughts about Armel Dagorn’s Irish-themed short story collection at The Independent Literary Fiction Blog.
The Monsters We Deserve – Marcus Sedgwick – Jennifer Cameron of Who ate all the books? says: “Sedgwick’s writing is excellent” and she is delighted to have “discovered” a ‘new’ author.
The Cry of the Owl by Patricia Highsmith – Jacqui describes herself as fond of Patricia Highsmith’s “particular brand of domestic noir.” Discover at JacquiWine’s Journal why she thinks “decency and morality” are at the heart of this 1962 crime novel.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (transl. Antonia Lloyd-Jones): Animals have rights, too. – Of this novel concerning an “eccentric” animal rights activist, Susan of A life in books writes: “Tokarczuk carries her narrative off with a good deal of humour while making serious points about hunting”.
A Summary and Analysis of James Joyce’s ‘The Sisters’ – Dr Oliver Tearle of Interesting Literature scrutinizes “one of Joyce’s finest short stories”.
Book Review: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking – Amy at Curiouser and curiouser “[loves] almost everything about this book” from the way Hawking explores “the history of physics from Aristotle onwards” to his use of exclamation marks!
* 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:
Bookriot: The Books We’re Drowning In: A Bookseller’s Lament – Second-hand book store employee, Margaret Kingsbury, reveals the types of books that pile up and don’t move off the shelves.
The Guardian: JD Salinger’s teenage lover challenges her ‘predator’ reputation – “Joyce Maynard, now 65, has published a new essay that asks if the #MeToo movement will allow her to tell her side of the story”, writes Alison Flood.
The Wall Street Journal: Something Is Lost as Campus Books Retreat – “The elimination of books for internet research is a Faustian bargain”, writes a college lecturer.
The Bookseller: Dutchman wins Welsh bookshop in raffle draw – A man from Holland has won Bookends, a second-hand book shop in Cardigan, in a raffle.
The Verge: How Tor.com went from website to publisher of sci-fi’s most innovative stories – Andrew Liptak examines how Tor Books became the publisher of sci-fi’s most innovative stories after only ten years.
The Florentine: Florence’s leading English bookstore for sale – The Paperback Exchange in Florence, the city’s best English-language bookstore, which first opened in 1979, is up for sale.
Vulture: The BBC Orders More His Dark Materials Before Airing Its Adaptation – According to Jackson McHenry, the BBC has requested a second season of ‘His Dark Materials‘ while the first is still in production.
Evening Standard: Why an arts journalist became a rare books dealer of female-authored works – Rare book dealer A. N. Devers talked to Laura Hampson about gender inequality in the literary sphere and how she’s trying to change it.
Brain Pickings: FROM THE ARCHIVE | The Missing Piece Meets the Big O: Shel Silverstein’s Sweet Allegory for the Simple Secret of Love and the Key to Nurturing Relationships – “A gentle reminder that the best relationships don’t complete us but let us grow and become more fully ourselves”, writes Maria Popova.
The New York Times: Three Blockbuster Novels From the 1950s, and Their Remarkable Afterlife – Why are Russians so adept at annoying Americans? Atlas Shrugged, Lolita and Doctor Zhivago may offer a clue according to this essay by Sam Tanenhaus.
Signature: 7 Best Books to Understand Dutch Culture and the Netherlands – The Dutch have a fascinating literary history and one well worth exploring. Keith Rice has selected the titles he believes will best help you begin that journey.
The Guardian: Why you should read this article slowly – “Even in a fast-moving age there is time for slow reading”, writes Joe Moran.
Publishers Weekly: 10 Famous Authors and Their Cats – Alison Nastasi looks at authors and their cats.
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.
Categories: Winding Up the Week
Your holiday sounds pretty much like my ideal holiday. Enjoy!
Thank you so much, Kate! 😃
Many thanks for linking to my review, that’s very kind of you. I hope you have a lovely time in Cyprus – have fun. 🙂
You’re most welcome, Jacqui. Thank you for your good wishes. 😊
Have a fantastic holiday, it sounds perfect and thank you very much for linking to my review. xx
It’s a pleasure, Jennifer. Many thanks! 😊
Random thoughts follow… Hmm, Lapta—not the same as Laputa I hope, we don’t want you floating off into the ether! Have a lovely time. 🙂
I wonder if The Florentine will be bought by a Dutchman following the Cardigan bookshop’s acquisition…
Still waiting to hear when the first series of Pullman’s HDM will be broadcast, I expected it last Christmas. Wonder how Lyra actress Dafne will age…
Thank you, Chris. No, I’m definitely not heading to Laputa – I would first have to catch it (or flag it down) and that seems far too taxing for a relaxing holiday! 😏
What a good idea. The Dutch gentleman could then spend his time pootling between Cardigan, Florence and his home in Holland. I think you should suggest it to him.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with the Pullman adaption.
Thank you so much for mentioning the readathon. You’re such a terrific and supportive blogger. I appreciate the kind and funny intro, too. I’ve shared this on my social media, too.
You’re very welcome, Jay. Glad to help when I can. 😃
Informative post, as always, Paula! I am so excited you are going to Cyprus! And blogging from there as well! (I know you’ve been before, but I get to go with you this time! 😊) I have started looking through some of these links, and of interest so far is the article on slower reading. I don’t know why but The Silence of the Girls has been a slower read for me, but I’ve enjoyed every word. I don’t know why I’m not reading it quickly because it’s not heavy. Safe travels! ♥️
I wish you could join me in Cyprus and escape Florence. It would also be lovely to have a book reading buddy on holiday – neither my partner nor friends are readers. I’m really glad you’re enjoying The Silence of the Girls. Perhaps reading more slowly has made it more enjoyable. Anyhow, I’ll be flying on Tuesday. You stay safe, too! 🐱💙
Oh I loved Alias Grace and I can’t wait to hear what you think about it. Have fun at Cyprus!
Thank you so much, Gayathri! 😃
Have a wonderful holiday. I’m told that Cyrpus is lovely at this time of the year. Warm but not too hot
Thank you, Karen. The temperature is usually about right for me at this time of year. Any earlier and I would be melting in the heat!
I find I can’t tolerate high temperatures as much these days as I could when a teenager
I’m exactly the same. It was about 32° today but it is a lovely cool evening.
Lots of lovely links for me to explore as usual Paula – thank you 🙂 Have a great holiday!
Thank you, Madame B for both compliment and holiday wishes! 😃
Thanks for all the links to book-related articles, most of which I have missed. Really useful.
So pleased you found them useful, Julia.
Alias Grace is a favourite of mine. Enjoy!
Thank you, Naomi. I’m a couple of chapters in and hooked already! 😃