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 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 >>
* 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:
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.
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 generation – Anne 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 Viral – Broadhursts 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.