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 and reviewed The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories by Franz Kafka for German Literature Month – barely squeezing it in on the last day of the month. >> BOOK REVIEW: The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories >>
Look out for my thoughts on Doggerland, a soon to be released novel of loneliness and hope, nature and survival, by Ben Smith.
Coming soon is Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 children’s book, The Wind in the Willows, which I am reading for The Classics Club. A delightful winter treat.
* Atwood Month Goes Out on a High *
Sadly, I must report that Margaret Atwood Reading Month 2018 has come to an end. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and give my thanks to the two dedicated hosts, Naomi and Marcie, who made this book blogging event such fun. I look forward to doing it again next year. For my final MARM post I chose a handful of favourite quotations. >> MARGARET ATWOOD READING MONTH: Quotations >>
I’m quite sure every Atwoodian and her pet pigoon must now have heard that our favourite storyteller is in the process of writing a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. In a message posted by the author, she said:
“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”
Entitled The Testaments, it is due to be published on 10th September 2019 and will be set some 15 years after her famous 1985 dystopian novel ended. It will have no connection with the recent TV adaption, which is heading into a third series, but will be narrated by three female characters.
I’m almost beside myself with anticipation but will use the time wisely to place my order and practice the art of patience.
* 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:
Raised to the Pitch of Incandescence: Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir – Although Melissa Beck of The Book Binder’s Daughter frequently “identified” with Simone de Beauvoir in this early memoir, she sometimes found the “amount of details [and] the extremes of emotion” rather “overwhelming”.
The German Room – Carla Maliandi’s debut novel, translated into English by Frances Riddle, is not only “strange, haunting and brave” but “demands to be read slowly”, according to Tom Carlisle of The Independent Literary Fiction Blog.
Supplementary: On servants and their powers of invisibility – Over at the The Reading Bug David shares his thoughts on the invisibility of servants in Jane Austen’s novels.
Book Review: The Public Image by Muriel Spark – Spark’s 1968 novella is “darkly comic” and the author showed a “clear contempt” for her characters. Read the review at Gilt and Dust.
The Pollen Room – Zoë Jenny – Lizzy Siddal describes The Pollen Room as a “modern classic” and “the best-selling Swiss debut of all time.” Read her piece for German Literature Month at Lizzy’s Literary Life.
Browse: Love Letters to Bookshops Around the World edited by Henry Hitchings – Susan at A life in books thinks this newly released collection of essays about favourite bookstores is “the kind of book [she’d] have had stacked up at till points back in [her] bookselling days”.
* Irresistible Items *
Umpteen fascinating articles appeared on my bookdar last week. I generally make a point of tweeting my favourite finds (or adding them to our Facebook Group page), but in case you missed anything, here are a handful of interesting snippets:
Vintage: A Reykjavík bookseller on why Iceland is the number one Christmas destination for book lovers – “Iceland has a uniquely rich literary heritage. Svanborg Þórdís Sigurðardóttir, a bookseller at Reykjavík’s famous Penninn Eymundsson bookshop, tells us what it’s like to work as a bookseller in Iceland at Christmas.”
The Guardian: Sarah Waters: ‘Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber was like nothing I’d read before’ – Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber was like nothing Sarah Waters had “ever encountered before.”
The Paris Review: We Tell Ourselves Stories: Didion’s “White Album” Takes to the Stage – The White Album, Didion’s 1979 collection of essays concerning American life in the late 1960s has been adapted for the stage.
Recode: An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands – Jason Del Rey wonders how long the tech giant will be able to exert control over smaller brands before they revolt.
Electric Literature: A Reading List About Feasting – “From an Indonesian foodie road trip to the rhapsodies of a Parisian food critic,” JR Ramakrishnan suggests seven literary delicacies on which to gorge yourself.
BOOKish: Shelfie Envy: 10 Stunning Instagram Bookshelves – Is your bookshelf the centrepiece of your home? If so, you might feel inspired by these colourful Bookstagram shelfies.
Book Riot: Is It Okay To Stop Reading A Book You Don’t Like? – Matt Grant wonders if you should stick with a book no matter how little you like it.
Read It Forward: 10 Books Everyone Should Read In Their Lifetime – Jonathan Russell Clark has compiled a selection of must read books, many you may not find on other lists of this sort.
Bookstr: 10 Voltaire Quotes to Make Us Wise Beyond Our Years – Francesca Contreras selects the wisest of words from the French Enlightenment writer, Voltaire.
The New York Review of Books: Is Literary Glory Worth Chasing? – “Is writing worth it?” and does it “make any sense at all to pursue literary glory?” asks Tim Parks.
Literary Hub: 10 Literary Translators on the Art of Translation – Emily Temple provides an overview of the complexities of translation according to practitioners of the craft.
GQ: N.K. Jemisin Is Trying to Keep the World From Ending – “The most critically acclaimed author in contemporary science fiction and fantasy made history this year. Now she’s trying to make the future”, says Joshua Rivera.
Lonely Planet: Lounge on the Book Heaven floor in Oodi, Helsinki’s stunning new library – Finland is opening an incredible new library in Helsinki for its citizens.
Medium: How to Stop Hoarding Books – Srishti Mehrotra has a strategy for clearing your home of literary clutter.
Electric Literature: The Literary Roots of the Incel Movement – Erin Spampinato is concerned that our canon of “white men’s literature reinforces the idea that male sexual deprivation is a public concern.”
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.
Categories: Winding Up the Week
You offer us such a wonderful smorgasbord every week – thank you! I appreciate the wide range you cover.
Thank you so much, Alison. It’s a real pleasure.
Thanks so much for including the link to my post!
You’re very welcome, Melissa.
As always, I save coffee time time vist your blog somI can go surfing your great link horde!
Oh dear, I need smaller fingers, or a bigger iPad! lol
Thank you, Alexandra. I really appreciate your kindness and support.
Always a delight to come here and read your posts, Paula. You put such work into providing us with thes great round ups.
Thanks so much for joining German Literature Month and for the link, Paula.
I’m only sorry my input was so limited, Caroline – November is such a busy month for book events. I did, however, enjoy following GLM and will try to be better organized next year!
Thanks so much for the link, Paula. Browse is the perfect stocking filler for the bookish!
I definitely like the look of this one, Susan. You’re very naughty encouraging us poor weak-willed book obsessives to add to our TBR mountains. You tempt us so with your sharp and discerning reviews! 😉
I’ve been reading “God’s Sorely-Tested Child” about “the spiritual life of Annette von Droste-Hulshoff” a German Poet and Writer. Coincidentally it has been German Literature Month. Thanks for such extensive information and resources.
I’m vaguely aware of Annette von Droste-Hulshoff. Wasn’t she a writer? Anyhow your book sounds interesting. Happy reading! 😊
So far most of the book has been about her poetry, written throughout her life and struggling with her Catholic faith and belief. I do believe she was also a writer, though not as well-known for her books. 🙂
I enjoyed the link “Book Riot: Is It Okay To Stop Reading A Book You Don’t Like?” because members of my book club disliked a non-fic tome so much 90 percent of them stopped reading – the book shall remain nameless 😉
Hello Gretchen. Good to see you. You’ve got me really curious over this nameless book. It must either be very bad or extremely difficult to read. Were you able to complete it? 🤔
Well, Paula, let’s just say I tried! The book is ‘The Twentieth Man’ by journalist Tony Jones and is billed a fast-paced thriller of terrorism acts, politics, betrayals and Yugoslavia’s deadly struggles circa 1970s, part real-life, part fiction, more a compilation of journalistic forays.
I haven’t come across The Twentieth Man (I’ve just looked it up on Goodreads), but it’s certainly longer than your average thriller. I think I may give it a miss! 😉
Wise decision, Paula!
Thanks so much for the mention! I had a lot of fun reading through all of this.
You’re very welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.
Another lovely set of choice tidbits, Paula, thanks. My eye was immediately drawn to the article on book hoarding, and (as anticipated) there were bits that had my teeth grinding. Bits like
If you haven’t picked up a book months after putting it down, you don’t really want to get back to it. If you can’t find it in you to finish a book this time around, it’s unlikely you will find time to finish it at a later date. Give these away.
What a load of bollards! This is someone who, it seems to me, isn’t truly in love with words and ideas, people and worthy objects of desire. Really, while this obsession with minimalism is commendable (the world is drowning in excess, in plastic, in pollution) please do allow discerning readers to know what they need to recycle and what they treasure!
Sorry, rant over…
I completely agree, Chris. Many a time I’ve picked up a book that has been gathering dust for eons and finally read it – this is especially true with classics. Minimalism? Pah! Not in my library! 😉
The Testaments will be out in time for MARM #2!!
Yes, of course. How exciting. I bet we’ll all be reading The Testaments for MARM 2019!