An end of week recap
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.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
I read Shirley Jackson’s 1959 supernatural thriller, The Haunting of Hill House. It was my fifth selection for The Classics Club and my chosen title for October’s Monthly Genre Challenge 2018 at The Reading Challenge Group. I was also able to place another satisfying tick on my #VOTE100BOOKS list (one of life’s little joys). >> THE CLASSICS CLUB: The Haunting of Hill House >>
Look out for my review of the soon to be published Nordic novel Crimson by Greenlander Niviaq Korneliussen.
* Before Book Jotter *
I finally posted a second feature in my very occasional series highlighting books read and enjoyed at some point before Book Jotter came into being. >> Books Before the Blog #2 >>
* 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:
Literary Landscapes – Secondary school teacher, Rachel from Book Snob, says Literary Landscapes: Charting the Worlds of Classic Literature by John Sutherland offers “endless interest and fascination”.
on recollection (iv) – Michael at inexhaustible invitations “first came across Marguerite Duras” when he was an undergrad. He writes engagingly about her best-selling autobiographical work, The Lover.
Sense and sensitivity – Chris Lovegrove of Calmgrove writes perceptively about Gail Honeyman’s protagonist in her immensely popular 2017 novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Could this “vulnerable young woman” be on the autism spectrum? The answer, whatever the author claims, is probably, yes!
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan – “It’s a great story”, says Jo of the fictional memoir of Lady Trent, the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. Discover why she “loved every minute of it” at Jo’s Book Blog.
The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre – FictionFan’s Book Reviews explores an “intriguing collection” that is “different in tone to the usual horror anthology.”
* 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 Paris Review: A History of the Novel in Two Hundred Essays – “[V.S.] Pritchett always began with other people”, writes Morten Høi Jensen. “In his fiction, he listened to the voices of clerks, bakers, shopkeepers, tired salesmen taking their pints. In his essays, he showed that he cared about what other people wrote. His openness is unmatched.”
Inc.: Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read – Jessica Stillman believes an “overstuffed bookcase (or e-reader) says good things about your mind.”
Electric Literature: How Jane Eyre Helped Lead Me Out of Orthodox Judaism – Rachel Klein realized “how many stories were possible” once she “stopped restricting [her] fiction reading”.
BBC News: Inside the bookshops and libraries of Scotland – “Scotland in Books is a photographic survey of second-hand bookshops, libraries, and private collections across Scotland by photographer Celeste Noche.”
The Daily Beast: The Haunting Mystery of ‘Edwin Drood’ That Charles Dickens Left Behind – When Charles Dickens died, he left behind an unfinished book containing unresolved mysteries”, writes Allison McNearney. “In The Mystery of Edwin Drood, who killed Drood—and is Drood really dead?”
Stylist: One great reason why we should stop using the term ‘women’s fiction’ – Anna Brech speaks to Liane Moriarty about why she would like to do away with the ‘women’s fiction’ label.
The Telegraph: Fiona Mozley wins the 2018 Polari prize for debut LGBT writing – Fiona Mozley has won the Polari First Book Prize 2018 for her Man Booker-shortlisted debut, Elmet (John Murray).
The Guardian: Fay Weldon on Hampstead: ‘I was a literary groupie from the antipodes’ – Fay Weldon writes on her “arrival as a teenager in post-war London and how she revisits the city in her writing”.
The Irish Times: ‘Bookstores are one of the most important elements of any high street’ – John Keane, the head of the Irish Booksellers Association, defends the importance of bookstores.
i News: What really goes through authors’ minds when we’re asked to name our ‘book of the year’ – Alexander McCall Smith reveals that it’s “perfectly possible to choose as book of the year a book that you have never read”.
The Bookseller: Orwell Foundation to launch political fiction prize – “The Orwell Foundation will next month launch a prize to celebrate novels or short stories that illuminate social and political themes through the art of narrative”, writes Charlotte Eyre.
American Booksellers Association: U.S. Stores Invited to Apply for London Book Fair’s Bookstore of the Year Award – U.S. booksellers have been invited to nominate their stores for the London Book Fair’s 2019 Bookstore of the Year Award.
The New York Review of Books: Why Translation Deserves Scrutiny – Literature in translation has never been a priority in the English-speaking world, which leads Tim Parks to question if “translation [is] a discipline or a cause”.
Unbound Worlds: 10 Horror Anthologies to Try Before Halloween – Matt Staggs shares his favourite spooky short-story collections.
Electric Literature: Relearning How to Read in the Age of Trump – Chaitali Sen says that after the 2016 election, her “relationship with reading” felt “adversarial”. So, she taught herself “to take pleasure in literature again”.
The Guardian: Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce – review – “Does every man secretly desire his father’s death?” wonders Rachel Cooke. She reviews Colm Tóibín’s new study of three writers’ relationships with their fathers.
Standpoint: Death of a bookman: the rise and fall of a publisher – Sally Emerson, one-time editor of Books and Bookmen, remembers Philip Dosse – a brilliant, eccentric, tyrant of a publisher.
Vintage: Where to start reading Angela Carter – Once you have devoured Angela Carter’s dark, sinister and sensual collection The Bloody Chamber, more delights await. The editors pick their favourites.
Atlas Obscura: How Writers Map Their Imaginary Worlds – Sarah Laskow discovers a new book that collects fantastic literary geographies.
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.