Winding Up the Week #38

An end of week recap

Winding Up the Week #11I am returning to the UK tomorrow, which is why my end of week post is with you a day early. I haven’t until now dwelt upon the likely weather conditions at Manchester Airport – opting instead to shield myself from such disagreeable thoughts – but my stay in Cyprus has come to an end, so face them I must. Far more heartening is anticipating cosy times cuddled up with various animals in front of a crackling log fire, reading something suitably autumnal.

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.

I’ll see you on the other side.


I read Margaret Atwood’s 1996 Man Booker shortlisted historical novel Alias Grace for The Classics Club. It was also my September selection for The Monthly Genre Challenge at The Reading Challenge Group. >> Read: THE CLASSICS CLUB: Alias Grace >>

Look out for my forthcoming review of Murder by the Book: A Sensational Chapter in Victorian Crime by Claire Harman.

Coming soon is Shirley Jackson’s 1959 supernatural thriller, The Haunting of Hill House. It is my third selection for The Classics Club and the title I have chosen for October’s Monthly Genre Challenge 2018 at The Reading Challenge Group, which this month is Horror/Thriller/Paranormal.


* Read Margaret Atwood in November *

MA READING MONTHI’m looking forward to taking part in Margaret Atwood Reading Month, a literary jolly organized by Naomi at Consumed by Ink and Marcie at BuriedInPrint. Throughout the month of November participants will read and review Atwood’s work (including her journalism, fiction, poetry and comics), take part in planned events or simply concentrate on a single piece of her writing. For further information please see: Margaret Atwood Reading Month: November 2018 #MARM.

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

NOW BE FREEI’m going to share with you five 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:

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller – Overall, Helen at She Reads Novels finds Andrew Miller’s recently published historical novel “beautifully written”.

Moving to the country: Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nichols – Nichols’ much-loved 1931 gardening classic is discussed at Leaves & Pages. Apparently, there’s a “fair bit of snark” to be found in this memoir, “but it’s a funny sort of bitchiness”.

Lullaby by Leïla Slimani [book review] – Karen at BookerTalk found Slimani’s novel “deftly written” and “deeply powerful”.

The Bear and the Nightingale By Katherine Arden, A distinctive and enchanting book based in Russian folklore – Jennifer Marie Lin finds “Slavic culture fascinating” and therefore considers Arden’s fantasy an “easy book to recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in folklore”. Read her in-depth critique at The Bibliofile.

Life After Death from a Scientific Perspective – “October is naturally the perfect time for creepy, scary, haunty reading,” says Rennie Sweeney at What’s Nonfiction? Read her review of Mary Roach’s Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, which she describes as “truly a doubter’s dream.”

* 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 Bookseller: Fitzgerald novel ‘Human Voices’ adapted for TV – HarperCollins has agreed a deal with independent producer Rebecca Gushin to adapt Booker Prize-winning author Penelope Fitzgerald’s Human Voices for television.

Unbound Worlds: The Stars Are Isles: Moby-Dick’s Enduring Influence on Science Fiction – From Jules Verne to China Miéville to Star Trek: how the influence of Herman Melville’s magnum opus, Moby-Dick has resonated through the science fiction landscape for more than a century.

The Guardian: The Guardian view on lengthening books: read them and weep – A short editorial on increasingly lengthening books. Do we perhaps conflate physical heft with artistic or intellectual merit?

Virago: An Activist’s Reading List from Virago PressVirago’s Editorial Director, Ailah Ahmed, explores the archives to find five essential texts that every activist should read.

BBC News: Sir Quentin Blake reimagines Matilda 30 years on – It’s 30 years since Matilda was published. What do you think Roald Dahl’s much-loved bookworm would be doing today?

Literary Hub: Ingrid Persaud’s Debut Story Wins the BBC National Short Story Award – Emily Temple reports that the Trinidadian writer Ingrid Persaud’s story “The Sweet Sop” has been chosen from an all-female shortlist.

Stylist: Halloween scares, comedy gems and feminist must-reads: October’s top 10 books – “Make some shelf space because October is bringing some of the biggest books of the year” writes Francesca Brown.

The Bookseller: Indies express dismay as Waterstones starts selling Super Thursday titles early – According to Charlotte Eyre, independent booksellers are angry that Waterstones were selling Super Thursday titles ahead of their publication date.

Travel + Leisure: Oscar Wilde’s Former London Pied-à-terre Is Becoming a Hotel – Cailey Rizzo discovers the writer’s former London pied-à-terre will reopen in December as the Belmond Cadogan Hotel.

The Atlantic: When an AI Goes Full Jack Kerouac – “A computer has written a ‘novel’ narrating its own cross-country road trip” says Brian Merchant.

BookRiot: No, I Didn’t “Forget” that Classic Book on My List – “Compiling book lists is: a joy. A chore. An excuse to revisit titles you’ve stayed away from for too long”, says Michelle Anne Schingler. It is also: “highly subjective”.

Bustle: 15 Rules For Borrowing Books, So You Don’t Lose Your Friends In The Process – Some useful tips from Melissa Ragsdale on the etiquette of borrowing books.

Signature: 10 Best Books to Read While Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month – Celebrate the USA’s National Hispanic Heritage Month by reading and rereading books, both classic and contemporary, by renown and remarkable Hispanic American authors.



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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33 replies

  1. Wonderful post, Paula, will many links to look through! I wish you safe travels home! The cozy fireplace with animals sounds splendid to me! (We are still very hot here and no fall in sight!) ♥️ 🦋 🍁

    • Thank you so much as always, Jennifer. I’m not keen on flying but needs must… Speaking of animals, my partner and I have adopted a lovely female Retriever cross during our time in Cyprus. We found her lying in a puddle behind the local supermarket in a rather thin and bedraggled state (probably dumped – it’s not uncommon here). We bought her some biscuits but when we came to leave she grabbed my partner’s shorts and refused to let go. We had real difficulties getting in the car, and we felt dreadfully upset seeing her little face staring at us as we drove away. We barely slept all night thinking about her, so returned the following morning hoping she hadn’t attempted to cross the busy main road. Thankfully she came running straight over and even followed us around the shop and waited with us at the till – much to the amusement of onlookers. Anyhow, to cut a very long story short, we took her to the vet who gave her lots of injections. He thought she was about 7 months old. We named her Olive and decided to take her home to the UK. We had her neutered on Wednesday and she’s had her first rabies jab. She must remain in quarantine over here for about 3-4 months, but luckily we have found a reasonably priced doggy hotel with a lovely lady who runs the local animal rescue group. When the time comes she will fly from Ercan Airport to Brussells (to get all her European papers in order), then continue to Heathrow Airport. We’ll collect her in Kent. We hate leaving her behind but at least we know she’s safe, comfortable and well-fed. We must be bonkers! 🐕✈️😊💙

      • oh my gosh! the puppy adopted you! that’s quite the story and international to boot, not an easy adoption. she sounds like she’ll be an amazing dog, retrievers are super companions (and obviously smart). Looking forward to catching up on all your reviews. But get some rest first!

      • Thank you so much. I think you’re right – she definitely chose us. I’ve just arrived home, so will probably start catching up tomorrow.

      • I love this story, Paula! It shows your heart even more than I had seen/felt already. I can’t wait for you to bring Olive home! I’m happy to hear she’s in a doggy hotel and comfortable until she can be reunited with you again. Best story ever! 🐶 ♥️ Safe travels tomorrow!

      • That’s a lovely thing to say, Jennifer. I’m safely home, thank you. 🐾😺💙

  2. I’d echo Helen at She Reads Novels re the Miller whose ommission from the Man Booker longlist contiunues to mystify me, along with that of Transcription and Ghost Wall. Karen’s review has persuaded me to overcome my wariness of hype and read Lullaby.

    And not bonkers at all! It sounds as if Olive has landed on her feet. Hope the journey home is an easy one, Paula.

  3. Hope you had an amazing time in Cyprus!

  4. I look forward to hearing what you think of Hill House – perfect reading for this time of year!

  5. I hope you’ve had a great time in Cyprus. Thanks for linking to my review – Now We Shall Be Entirely Free really is a beautiful novel. 🙂

  6. Hope you had an epic time in Cyprus; I was in Paphos last year and totally wish I was there now! Also can’t wait to hear your thoughts on The Haunting of Hill House as I’ve meant to read it for years.

  7. Absorbing post, Paula, you always enlighten me. Delighted to read about Olive. To quote my mother “It was meant to be” because she was there when you went back. I’m sure she will be a delight, a loyal and constant companion. Pictures please!

  8. I love the selections you make on your classic challenge. And you definitely motivate me to pick more classics. And am off to read your review on Alias Grace right away.

  9. Another hands up for The Haunting of Hill House. Such an American classic. I will enjoy your thoughts on it. If you are interested in film the early 1960s black and white film version (NOT the more recent one) is one of the top ten horror classics. No spoilers, but you will never be able to sleep in a bedroom with wallpaper ever…just sayin’….!

    Read your comment about Olive. How wonderful that you and your partner adopted a dog in obvious need. (That tug on the shorts spoke volumes as to her intent)! A friend went to Italy and had the same experience of finding a dog and brought it to the States. Olive will be forever grateful.

    • Thank you, Laurie. The film sounds a little too creepy for me. I’m a dreadful wuss! 😨

      We heard from Olive’s minder this morning to say she is fine – but it was horrible leaving her behind. Four months seems like such a long time, but in the great scheme of things it’s not long at all. We’ll use the time wisely and teach Lilly and Poppy (our two Labs) to speak Turkish. They’ll be able to greet her in her native tongue when she arrives! 🙃

  10. I hope you got home safe and sound! Your trip sounded so lovely.
    Thanks a million for the kind words and sharing my review! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  11. What an impressive compilation! I haven’t stumbled on it before – so thank you very much for including Naomi’s and my Margaret Atwood Reading Month as I am now subscribed to your feed. I’m especially keen to watch the television adaptation of Human Voices: that should be very good indeed!

    • Thank you, Marcie. I’m thoroughly looking forward to taking part in Margaret Atwood Reading Month, so it was a real pleasure to give it a plug. Yes, I agree, the Human Voices TV adaption sounds promising!

  12. I appreciate the positivity you are bringing as you head back home. Reading by the fire is one of my favorite ways to read! It’s hard to imagine the seasons are changing so quickly. Wasn’t it May a few weeks ago? 😉

    I am looking forward to seeing your posts for Margaret Atwood Reading Month — what is on your TBR for this event?

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