Winding Up the Week #39

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 Murder by the Book: The crime that shocked Victorian literary London by Claire Harman – a gripping investigation into a crime that scandalized literary London. >> Read my review >>

Look out for my thoughts on Jorge Luis Borges’ short story collection, Ficciones, which I intend to read for the 1944 Club – a highly popular book blogging challenge that runs from 15th to 21st October.

Next up is a combined rereading and fresh reading of Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s classic Matilda, along with the newly released Matilda at 30, in recognition of October 2018 marking 30 years since its publication.


* Margaret Atwood Reading List *

With Margaret Atwood Reading Month only a couple of weeks away, I decided to post a comprehensive checklist of her works since 1961. How many have you read? >> Margaret Atwood: The Works >>

* One Bookish Bash After Another *

NONFICTION NOVEMBERA bevy of bloggers, namely: Rennie (What’s Nonfiction?), Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Julie (JulzReads) and Katie (Doing Dewey) will all be hosting Nonfiction November next month. Described by Rennie Sweeney as “a fun way to expand your nonfiction horizons”, this annual reading event takes place throughout the entire month. Please see Nonfiction November is Coming! for information about the planned weekly challenges and themed discussions.

The month of November is also German Literature Month, a literary jolly in which participants are encouraged to read and review “works originally written in German”. The event is being organized by Caroline at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy of Lizzy’s Literary Life. You can “read as you please” or take part in “social reading opportunities”. Check out the reading plan at Announcing German Literature Month VIII – November 2018.

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

UNTAMED STATEI’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: An Untamed State by Roxane Gay – Find out in her review at The Book Stop why Deb felt “wrecked” and “changed” after reading this novel.

Like Death by Guy de Maupassant – Nirmala of Red Lips and Bibliomaniacs describes Maupassant’s fifth novel, translated into English by Richard Howard, as “elegant” and a “fabulous, memorable read.”

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton – Jennifer found this book “engaging” and “sublime”. Discover what else she had to say about this newly released mystery novel at Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader.

Little by Edward Carey: Only in statureEdward Carey’s recently published historical novel based on the early life of Madame Tussaud was “absorbing” with “a touch of the Dickensian”, according to Susan at A life in books.

Girl, Balancing and Other Stories – Amalia Gavea of The Opinionated Reader describes the late Helen Dunmore’s final short story collection as “the finest swan song”.

The dilemmas of bibliophiles through the ages… – Over at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings Karen reviews Shelf Life by Alex Johnson, an “anthology of writings about books and reading”, published by British Library Publishing.

* 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:


Moomin: The UK film adaptation of Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book will be filmed in Finland in 2019 – The UK film adaptation of Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book will be filmed in Finland and star Julie Walters.

The Washington Post: Lauren Groff and Terrance Hayes among the finalists for the 2018 National Book Awards – The 2018 National Book Awards finalists have been announced!

The Observer: Library hours across England slashed by austerity – Vanessa Thorpe reports that new research has revealed “libraries that avoided closure after funding cuts have significantly reduced their public opening times”.

The Paris Review: Beyond Hygge: An Interview with Dorthe Nors – A fascinating interview with the Danish writer, Dorthe Nors – author of the 2017 Booker International Prize shortlisted Mirror, Shoulder, Signal.

Literary Hub: Meet the Beloved Pet Ravens of Charles Dickens – Christopher Skaife has a fascinating theory: Charles Dickens’s genius was not his prolific output or his public performances or public works, but his knowledge of ravens.

Commonweal Magazine: Footnotes: Appreciating Fiction’s Secondary Characters – B. D. McClay writes in praise of books that linger on mediocrities.

Unbound Worlds: 8 Lesser-Known Works by Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors You Love – Beyond the classics that everyone reads, there are the deep cuts from the back catalogues.

Culture Trip: What Our Literary Editor Thinks You Should Be Reading This October – From a new Murakami epic to a debut short story collection on race relations in America, here are October’s most notable new book releases in the opinion of Matthew Janney.

The New York Times: The Nobel Prize in Literature Takes This Year Off. Our Critics Don’t.The New York Times’s staff book critics talk about the prize and what it has meant to them.

The Conversation: I’m talking to you: second-person narratives in literature – Used in “ironic, ambiguous ways, the second person becomes a powerful tool because it reminds us that […] persons essentially are second persons”, writes James Peacock.

Lapham’s Quarterly: A Flannery O’Connor Reading List – Jaime Fuller imagines book recommendations from Flannery O’Connor – compiled from her letters, essays and the observations of those who studied her.

Penguin: 7 timeless life lessons from The Little Prince – “From lessons on kindness to caring for our environment,” the messages in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince are as important today as ever.

Signature: 19 Best Books to Understand Fascism and How It Works – These books, fiction and non-fiction, shed light on the origins of fascism and the mechanisms that allow fascism to operate, throughout history and in the modern world.

Deadline: ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ Book To Be Developed Into Drama Series By ‘The Cry’ Producer Synchronicity Films – Peter White reveals that Heather Morris’s book The Tattooist of Auschwitz is about to be turned into a ‘high-end’ international drama series.

Brain Pickings: Jeanette Winterson’s 10 Tips on Writing – “Turn up for work” is Winterson’s top tip for aspiring writers.

The Guardian: George Orwell archives added to Unesco Memory of the World register – The “UN’s cultural agency recognises the ‘world significance’ of the Animal Farm author’s papers”, writes Alison Flood.

The Bookseller: Indies dominate Women in Translation prize shortlist – The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist has been announced.

The New Yorker: One Year of #MeToo: “He Said, She Said” Is a Literary Problem, Too – Katy Waldman takes a look at one year of the #MeToo movement in the book world.

Wired: Why So Many Fantasy Novels Are Obsessed With Academia – “The best fantasy debut of 2018 has a problem”, writes Jason Kehe. “It was also the best fantasy debut of 2009. And 2007. And 1997, 1985, 1982, and 1968.”



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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32 replies

  1. Marvelous post, Paula! So many beautiful findings! Thank you so much for the mention 😘

  2. Thanks for the mention, Paula. I’d love it if Little became the surprise bestseller for this Christmas. You always have lots of interesting links in these posts – I’ll be nipping over to the Paris Review to read the Dorthe Nors interview, for sure. Thank you.

  3. I really liked Mirror Shoulder Signal so thank you for pointing me in the direction of that interview! And Jeanette Winterson too – what a treat for a Saturday morning 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for mentioning German Literature Month, Paula.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing Nonfiction November (and so many other great links, as usual!) I’m already so excited for it and thrilled you’ll be taking part too! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the mentions Paula – much appreciated! I may well be attacking the Borges as one of my 1944 reads – looking forward to it! 😀

  7. “Matilda at 30” is an interesting idea, and it’s made clear that this is the original story.

  8. I know how I’ll be spending some time today, Paula! Exploring this post! Thank you for linking my review. I hope the rain has calmed down, and you and the pups have been enjoying a quiet day! ♥️ 🦋 ☀️

    • It’s a pleasure, Jennifer. Hope you find something of interest amongst it all. The rain has stopped for the past couple of hours, so hoping it doesn’t return for a while. How are things with you? Is the water damage as bad as feared? We’ve had a lovely quiet day, thank you. I’ve just been watching hundreds of starlings settling down to roost on a nearby telegraph wire. Do you get starlings in North Carolina? 🌺🐶💙

      • Thanks, Paula. We have a basement, and we can tell the water got to some small places on the block wall (unfinished part of the garage), but the finished part of the basement’s sheetrock does not seem to have gotten wet on the side we can see…We have to monitor for mold that could form in between the block and sheetrock. We also need to make sure the gutters are in good order, but our house is taller than we can get up to comfortably with a ladder, so we’ll have to have someone come to check things out. It could have been much worse, but we are kind of in a wait and see for now.

        I remember seeing starlings on powerlines in their massive flocks, but only maybe once a year? I just read they were introduced here from the UK! They are captivating to watch! 🐦 ♥️

      • Yes, I see your problem. Water damage is difficult to assess. I think you’re very sensible to stay away from ladders. When you live in an area affected by storm damage, one of the biggest problems can be finding a professional plumber, builder or whoever you need to sort things out because everyone else in the area wants them too. It takes time but I promise you’ll get there in the end. Hopefully the water came down and not up from the drain so you won’t have contamination issues.

        There are particular spots all over the UK where thousands of starlings gather as the sun goes down. Before settling to roost, they form one immense murmuration and create wonderful patterns in the sky as each one flies in perfect synchronization with its wing-mate. It’s a wondrous sight and one I never tire of watching. 🌻💙

  9. I don’t have anything lined up for 1944 Club but am so on it for Nonfiction November 😁

  10. Interested to read the New York Times article about the Nobel prize. Some of those comments could be applied to the Booker prize I suspect

  11. Thank you for the mention, Paula! I loved the New York Times article and the staffers’ answers to the big Bob Dylan question! 😀

  12. Just thought I’d mention that Nonfiction November and Margaret Atwood Reading Month go very well together! 🙂

  13. Such great links, thanks for sharing them, twitter is so random, I appreciate you gathering together some of the best here!

  14. Same wishes to you for the week ahead! And thanks again for posting about the Margaret Atwood Reading Month. I’ve got so many library requests coming in, with the event in mind, that I am having to race through other books previously borrowed so that I don’t hit the maximum number of items on my account! A nice problem to have. I’m going to check out the NYRoB commentary on the Nobel and I’m curious to hear about your two Matildas rereading.

    • Many thanks, Marcie. I hope your Margaret Atwood Reading Month is a huge success. I know what you mean about juggling books – it can be quite befuddling at times. Hopefully the Matildas post will be up soon.

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