Winding Up the Week #47

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 Doggerland by Ben Smith, a cleverly inventive, well-crafted debut novel about isolation and hope – set on an offshore windfarm in the near future. >> Read my review >>

Look out for my thoughts on The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame’s, which I’m reading for The Classics Club.

Next up is Philip Ardagh’s The Moomins: The World of Moominvalley – the start of my undisciplined reading season (see Three Things… #4).

Coming soon is a short story collection I have been wanting to read for ages: Public library and other stories by Ali Smith.


* Three Things… Returns *

Reading, Looking, Thinking. Three Things… returns after a four-month hiatus. In this post I meander from Persephone Books to BBC Proms in the Park, stopping off to admire an old typewriter before somehow finding myself in the company of singing reindeers and Father Christmas. >> Read Three Things… #4 >>

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

HORACEI’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:

#Classic Satires Horace – Nancy Elin shares her thoughts on Horace’s Satires I and Satires II in her own unique way.

Orlando by Virginia Woolf – Woolf’s 1928 classic fantasy is Lady Emily Rose’s introduction to the author. Discover why she has mixed feelings about this novel at Knight of Angels.

Her body seemed outside her – Juliana at the [blank] garden shares her epistolary reflections on the first three volumes of Pilgrimage by Dorothy Richards.

Review: Born Survivors by Wendy Holden – A thoughtful review from Hopewell’s Public Library of Life of Holden’s memorable Holocaust biography.

Book review – Samantha Ellis – “How to be a Heroine” – Liz Dexter describes Ellis’s 2014 book about books as a “super memoir” and a “great read” in her review at Adventures in reading, running and working from home.

84K – “84K, by Claire North, is one of the most marvelous works of fiction” says Jeanne Griggs from Necromancy Never Pays of this 2018 “dystopian satire”.

* 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:


The Guardian: Guardian best books of 2018: across fiction, politics, food and more – The best books published this year according to the paper’s critics.

Big Think: Why Henry David Thoreau was drawn to yoga? – Derek Beres discovers Thoreau was doing yoga at Walden Pond.

The Bookseller: Foyles’ Books of the Year champion women’s voices – Lisa Campbell reveals that the UK chain, Foyles, has chosen three books by women as its top titles of 2018.

Columbia Journalism Review: What’s behind a recent rise in books coverage? – Mainstream publications in the US are writing more about books after years of slashing their coverage, says Sam Eichner.

Publishers Weekly: U.K. Authors Lobby for Brexit Protections – The UK Society of Authors has produced a report called “Brexit Briefing”, which outlines the vulnerabilities the creative community faces during Brexit negotiations.

GeekWire: Goodreads reveals best books of 2018 with more than 5 million votes across 21 categories – The winners of the 10th annual Goodreads Choice Awards have been announced. “Seventeen of the categories were won by women,” writes Kurt Schlosser.

Atlas Obscura: The Little Blue Books That Made French Literature Mainstream – “Invented in Troyes, these travel-sized texts started popping up everywhere”, according to Evan Nicole Brown.

Red: The Christmas gift guide for book lovers – Anna Bonet has created a list of gifts for lovers of literature.

Electric Literature: Why Was Norah Lange Forgotten? – “After more than half a century, the Argentinean author is finally getting the attention she deserves.”

Literary Hub: Jonathan Lethem on First-Person Narrators: When Men Write Women and Women Write Men – The author of the recently released detective novel, The Feral Detective, shares five books with first-person narrators written across gender.

The New York Times: The Way We Read – A 550-piece art collection was auctioned recently. “Every piece had one thing in common” writes Erica Ackerberg: “people were reading in them.”

Brain Pickings: Ursula K. Le Guin on Suffering and Getting to the Other Side of Pain – Another fascinating piece from Maria Popova.

Esquire: The Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2019 – Olivia Ovenden reveals the books she’s most looking forward to reading in 2019.

Euronews: Kuwaiti artist creates graveyard for books to protest government’s literature ban – Momhammed Sharaf has created a graveyard for books to protest his government’s literature ban.

The Guardian: Jeanette Winterson: ‘I couldn’t finish Fifty Shades. Are straight women really having such terrible sex?’Jeanette Winterson “on Mary Portas’s call to arms, Tove Jansson’s Moomin wisdom, and not reading Thomas Pynchon”.

Vulture: In Fiction, It Was the Year of the Woman – “This golden age of women’s fiction is the resistance that we didn’t know was coming to save us”, writes Hillary Kelly.

The Paris Review: On Writerly Jealousy – “There’s a bad double bind in being a writer – If you write about things no one is interested in, nobody is going to read you. But if you write about things other people are interested in, other people are writing about them, too,” warns Elisa Gabbert.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Should Studying Literature Be Fun? – Timothy Aubry on the seriousness of literary studies.

Unbound Worlds: 10 Fantasy Novels That Bibliophiles Will Love – A list of fantasy novels in which books, readers and libraries are featured.



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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28 replies

  1. I’m glad you found my blog worthy enough to share. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Of course studying literature should be fun. Any prof who doesn’t think so will teach his students to hate something about it. I love wide-eyed enthusiasts.
    Thanks for including my post in your “blogflash” (great word).

  3. What a great selection of articles — thank you!

  4. So many interesting links as usual! I never know where to begin with everything I bookmark from you!

  5. Seeing lots of Best of 2018 lists right now. Tis the season for lists obviously

  6. I really liked Public Library and Other Stories, hope you enjoy 🙂 And thank you for mentioning my post! I am loving Pilgrimage so far. 🙂

  7. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Wind in the Willows, which I haven’t revisited since I was a child but really loved at the time. Maybe it’s time for me to pick it up again.

  8. The Wind in the Willows is one of my favourite books-looking forward to your thoughts!

  9. You cover so much a week!

  10. Pressed send too soon – found you on twitter now too

  11. Thank you for the mention – I’m honoured. I think that one will make my Best of 2018 although that will not be done until 1 Jan 2019, of course!

  12. Thanks as always Paula! I’d missed the Jeanette Winterson interview – what a joy, as she always is 🙂

  13. The Backlisted podcast group recently covered one of the Moominvalley books (the final one, I believe, although there weren’t any massive spoilers that I recall). I’ve never read the series but I think I’d like to. The Wind in the Willows is a classic that I didn’t properly read as a child (only abridged story versions of it) and I just loved it as an adult: charming. That Winterson headline is a hoot. Hee hee

    • I’m sure you would enjoy the Moomins, Marcie – we would definitely benefit from their wisdom in these crazy times. Jeanette Winterson is brill. At least we are blessed with some superb female authors in the modern world!

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