Winding Up the Week #45

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 the quintessential YA adventure novel, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson for The Classics Club. >> THE CLASSICS CLUB: Treasure Island >>

I also read The Year of Magical Thinking – a powerful memoir from the iconic American writer, Joan Didion exploring death, illness, marriage and memory. This was my book of choice for Nonfiction November. >> READING: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion >>

Next up is The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories by Franz Kafka, translated into English by Alexander Starritt for Pushkin Press.

Coming soon is Ben Smith’s debut novel, Doggerland, set on an off-shore windfarm in the not-so-distant future.


* Lit Crit Blogflash *

DOPPELGANGERI’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:

A tragic-comic turn: Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić – Joseph Schreiber finds the late Croatian writer, Daša Drndić’s novella is “at once deeply distressing and deviously playful.” In his thoughtful review at roughghosts he compares it with the short works of Thomas Bernhard.

Man Booker shortlist review #5 – “The Mars Room” by Rachel Kushner – Set in a US women’s correctional facility, this book put Julia Rice in mind of a “Louis Theroux” documentary. Visit Julia’s books to discover why she found it “an exposing” but ultimately “slow” and “anti-climactic” novel.

Book Review – The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig – Vishy read Zweig’s collection of (short and long) stories for German Literature Month. He describes each one as “beautiful in its own way” in his critique at Vishy’s Blog.

The elect and the damned – Laura Tisdall concludes that Sarah Perry’s recently published Gothic novel, Melmoth, is “an incredible and unlikely success”.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung’s “whimsical illustrations” take Amalia Gavea of The Opinionated Reader “on a beautiful, heartfelt journey to the unique world of those […] who are traditionally called ‘introverts’.”

Cardiff BookTalk Le Guin event – Chris Lovegrove of Calmgrove attended a Cardiff Book Talk event celebrating the legacy of Ursula LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. He found it “a very stimulating evening” that was “over with far too quickly.”

* 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:


Literary Hub: The First Reviews of Every Margaret Atwood Novel – Emily St. John Mandel retrieves early reviews of Atwood’s novels penned by Ursula K. Le Guin, Lorrie Moore, Salman Rushdie, Mary McCarthy, John Updike and others.

The Times Literary Supplement: What did Tommy read? – What did soldiers read on the Western Front in the First World War?

Electric Literature: The Annual Book Sorting Competition Is New York’s Nerdiest Sporting Event – Frances Yackel reports on The New York Public Library going head to head with Seattle to see whose book sorting machine came out on top.

The Guardian: At the root of the problem: the best books about deforestation – John Vidal shares “five books about one of the most profound environmental changes of our time”.

Toronto Life: Inside House of Anansi Press, the Legendary Publisher’s Junction Book Shop and Office – House of Anansi, the publishing house and bookseller, is profiled in Toronto Life.

The New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2018 – The year’s most notable fiction, poetry and non-fiction according to the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

The Calvert Journal: Olga Tokarczuk: the meteoric rise and political urgency of Poland’s pre-eminent novelist – A heavyweight of Polish literature has this year taken the English-speaking world by storm.

Associated Press: Anne Frank House renovated to tell story to new generationAnne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam is expanding to better tell Anne’s tragic story to a growing number of visitors.

npr: Bookstore’s Tweet On The Sale Of A Children’s Book After 27 Years Goes ViralBroadhursts Bookshop in Southport has sold a children’s biography of William the Conqueror that has been on its shelves since 1991.

Medium: 200 Years of Frankenstein – The iconic scientist and his monster have enthralled us for over two centuries.

The Bookseller: Beevor urges writers consider Emirates Lit Fest boycott – The historian Sir Antony Beevor is going to boycott the Emirates Festival of Literature in Dubai and has urged others to do the same.

Book Riot: Strategies For How to Protect Your Books – Laura Marie shares her strategies for keeping books “safe and beautiful.”

Independent: Costa Book Awards 2018: Shortlist announced for annual literary prize – Clarisse Loughrey reveals that a “sixth category, the Costa Short Story Award, will be voted for by the public and will be announced at the ceremony”.

Publishing Perspectives: In Québec, a Literary Prize Is Suspended Over Objections to Amazon Sponsorship – “Raising concerns about damage to a ‘fragile ecosystem,’ authors shortlisted for Québec’s Prix littéraire des collégiens objected to the announcement that Amazon had become the prize’s main sponsor”, writes Hannah Johnson.

BookPage: Pulp: The unsung 1950s genre that changed literature – Robin Talley talks about the underground world of 1950s lesbian pulp fiction that changed her life.



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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29 replies

  1. I’m very interested for when you get to Kafka 🙂

  2. Lovely review from Amalia which rang several bells for me as I’m sure it did for many other bookish types. Lot of other things to explore here. Thanks, Paula.

  3. Loved your thoughtful Year of Magical Thinking post 🙂 Thanks for sharing that NY Times best of the year list, I hadn’t seen that list, excited to browse it now!

  4. Thanks for the mention! The article on lesbian pulp fiction looks really interesting – bookmarking that.

  5. Thank you so so much, Paula!! So many wonderful treasures in this post!!

  6. Thanks so much for featuring my review of Stefan Zweig’s short stories. Loved your post! So many beautiful things to read. The articles about taking care of our books and lesbian pulp fiction are the ones I want to read first. Thanks so much, Paula, for this post.

  7. Safe to say I had no idea 1950s lesbian pulp fiction was a thing! Thanks for pointing me towards another fascinating article Paula 🙂

  8. An interesting one about Québec and Amazon being a main sponsor, I’d have to agree it’s a fragile ecosystem with books and how the way we read has, and continues to, change so rapidly. Great round-up!
    I hope you’re having a lovely weekend and that the week ahead treats you well 🙂
    Caz xx

  9. As usual, I leave your round up post for last, grab a brew, and head off exploring all your links. And, as always, thank you for the guided tour of the literary internet! 😉

  10. Thanks for the link to the Lit Hub’s article on Margaret Atwood – very cool!

  11. If I never read another Joan Didion book, I am glad I read Magical Thinking!

  12. I insist you stop giving links to lists of great books – you should know I can’t resist a list! 😉

  13. Great post and links! 😊Happy Monday!

  14. Thanks for the mention and link, Paula, I think you’d have enjoyed the talks too, though Cardiff might be a bit far for you to go for just an hour and half’s discussion!

    Among the other links you include my eye was caught by the in-depth TLS article on Great War soldiers’ reading material. I was only aware of the Janeites phenomenon, but it’s clear that there was a lot more on offer. Ah, Palgrave, we all had copies of this when we were at school with chunks of verse to learn off by heart; I still have a battered copy on my shelves though I haven’t looked at it for quite a while.

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