Winding Up the Week #37

An end of week recap

KINDLE BALCONYI’ve been in Cyprus for twelve days but have done disgracefully little with my time other than eat, sleep, swim and read (very slowly). This island seems to induce in me a perpetual torpidity. How will I ever readapt to my drizzly homeland? There must be a felicitous book to get me through this difficult spell. Any suggestions?

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.


Coming soon is Murder by the Book: A Sensational Chapter in Victorian Crime by Claire Harman. It has been selected as one of The 50 biggest books of autumn 2018 by The Guardian and is to be published by Viking on 25th October


* Lawrence Durrell in Northern Cyprus *

I prised myself away from the beach to visit Lawrence Durrell’s 1950’s Cypriot home in which he wrote his famous memoir Bitter Lemons of Cyprus. >> The Bitter Lemons of Bellapais >>

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTUREI’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:

Book review: An Awfully Big Adventure, by Beryl Bainbridge, 1989 (Spoiler free, for a change) – This was David’s “first Beryl Bainbridge novel” and he was impressed with her “deft control” of plot. Discover why he read this book twice at The Reading Bug.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment: Book Review – Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?? – Grace from London “would definitely recommend this book if you want to give Russian Literature a go.” Read her helpful review at Hey Grace.

The Beginning of Spring, by Penelope Fitzgerald – Over at Dactyl Review, U.R. Bowie declares Penelope Fitzgerald’s 1988 novel an “astounding book”!

Slade House by David Mitchell – terrifying fun for the R.I.P. Challenge! – Cathy at 746 Books critiques David Mitchell’s 2015 “tongue-in-cheek horror” for the 13th RIP (R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril) Challenge. She finds his prose “top-notch” and adjudges the novel a “satisfying” read.

Paris Echo by Sebastian FaulksFictionFan’s Book Reviews has “very mixed feelings about this book.” However: “Overall, the good outweighed the less good”.

The Condition of the Working Class in England: – Lauren at Bookish Byron is “happy” to have read Friedrich Engels’ 1845 study of working-class people in Victorian England. She recommends you read it alongside “contemporary writers such as Dickens and Gaskell.”

* 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:


Independent: Man Booker Prize shortlist feels so underwhelming because its longlist was so daring – Holly Baxter says that although there are some “brilliant books” and “fantastic authors” on this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist, she doesn’t consider it ground-breaking.

Broadly: How Feminist Bookstores Changed History – “In their printing presses and bookshops, women once owned the means of production—in their literature, at least” writes Lucy Uprichard.

The Guardian: Obscenity trial judge’s copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be sold – Alison Flood reveals the copy of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover used by the judge of its obscenity trial will be auctioned next month.

The Irish Times: Caitriona Lally wins major literary prize in Trinity (where she works as a cleaner)Caitriona Lally, who is published by Melville House in the USA, took home the €10,000 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature with her novel Eggshells.

The Bookseller: SoA and IWU warn of dangers of no-deal Brexit – “The Society of Authors (SoA) and the Irish Writers Union (IWU) have warned about the dangers of a no-deal Brexit” says Heloise Wood.

The Spinoff: An ode to the joy and persistence of secondhand bookstores – New Zealand columnist Alan Perrott reports on the “freedom” of running a used bookstore.

CrimeReads: The Murderous Playwrights of Elizabethan England – There were scoundrels aplenty in Elizabethan England – two of them were named Shakespeare and Marlowe.

The New Republic: All the Rage – Rebecca Solnit scrutinizes three new releases and asks what a literature that embraces female anger can achieve.

Vulture: The Stories Behind Haruki Murakami’s Most Iconic Book Covers – Lila Shapiro talks to Chip Kidd about the stories behind his work on Haruki Murakami’s book jackets.

The New York Times: Would You Like Some Sausage With Your Novel? – Wolfgang Frühauf’s bookstore “now offers more than just books,” writes Sally McGrane. It is also “emerging” as an important centre in Bad Sooden-Allendorf – a “rural part of Germany”.

The Washington Post: Do we really still need Banned Books Week? – Book critic Ron Charles describes Banned Books Week as: “shrill and inaccurate”. He questions if the celebration is still necessary.

The Paris Review: A Responsible Freedom: Patti Smith on ‘Little Women’ – “Like countless girls before me,” Smith writes, “I found a model in one who was not like everyone else, who possessed a revolutionary soul yet also a sense of responsibility.”

BBC News: Philip Pullman loses His Dark Materials ballpoint pen – “Author Philip Pullman has misplaced a beloved pen with which he handwrote the acclaimed ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy.”

Publishers Weekly: 10 Story Collections by Women You Should Read Right Now – Sara Batkie highlights ten under-the-radar collections by women.



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. I say keep doing disgracefully little Paula 🙂

  2. Murder by the Book sounds great, I can’t wait to read your review! I just read an arc of another Victorian-era murder case, The Lady in the Cellar, and it was really good so I’m interested in something else along those lines. And I love the article about the secondhand bookstores!

  3. I definitely wasn’t enthused seeing the shortlist but I have gotten over it. I think you should continue doing whatever you are already not doing and just enjoy your holiday!

  4. Thanks for linking to my post, and also the links to other blogs – as usual I know some of them but some are new to me, and I look forward to visiting them. Lazing around doing nothing in Cyprus sounds like a pretty good use of time to me… 😀

  5. Thanks so much for the link!

  6. Wonderful post, as always, Paula! Loafing around sounds so perfect! Is that a journal with the cute owl on it? Beautiful pic! 🦋 🏖

  7. Thanks from me as well for linking to my post – glad you enjoyed the Bainbridge review.

  8. No No No don’t do this to me please. The book world has been mercifully free of Brexit stuff until now. Don’t spoil it for me !!!
    Murder by the Book sounds good…… I know my sister will love a present of this. Then I can borrow her copy (sneaky or what?)

  9. Glad you had a relaxing time on your vacation. I definitely need to read the article about Banned Book Week. It will be interesting to see what he thinks. Always a lot for me to check out when I read your roundup.

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