An end of week recap
I haven’t posted a single review or literature related feature since last Saturday, for which I apologise. Real life has unfortunately crept up once again and stuck a sharp pointy instrument in my book bubble. I have, therefore, made very little progress with December’s reading schedule.
I will continue to update Book Jotter as frequently as possible in the coming weeks but will be unable to commit the time necessary to be as fully involved with the book blogging community as I would like. Please forgive me if I miss a comment or fail to react to one of your posts – I will certainly do my best to keep up with all that happens. With luck, things will return to normal.
As always, 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.
* Lit Crit Blogflash *
I’m going to share with you five 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:
The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau – Helen at She Reads Novels describes Bilyeau’s latest historical novel as “an exciting, thrilling tale of espionage, art, [and] religious persecution”.
“I loved Mr. Darcy far more than any of my own husbands.” (Rumer Godden) – Over at Madame Bibi Lophile Recommends, Madame B shares her thoughts on two Rumer Godden novels: Kingfishers Catch Fire (1953) and China Court: The Hours of a Country House (1961).
The Springs of Affection by Maeve Brennan – Jacqui is a “latecomer to the Irish short-story writer” but enjoyed Brennan’s 1996 short story collection. In her review at JacquiWine’s Journal she describes it as “a terrific collection of stories with much to recommend it”.
Olivia by (Olivia) Dorothy Strachey (1949) – Ali Hope is “surprised that this delicate little novella isn’t better known.” In her critique at Heavenali she defines it as “a subtle classic of lesbian literature.”
Nonfiction Classic: A “Young Writer’s Book” on the Natural World – Even when first reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, Rennie from What’s Nonfiction “knew [she] would be reading [it again] many times.”
* 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: There’s more to this bad fiction than bad sex – between the lines is privilege – “Only a famous white man could get away with publishing a book as dreadful as Katerina, James Frey’s Bad Sex Award winner”, says Sian Cain.
Radio Times: 15 books you need to read before they become TV series and movies in 2019 – Flora Carr reveals some of the biggest book adaptions coming in 2019.
The New York Times: A British Christmas: Some Translation Required – US food writer Ruth Reichl has an amusingly difficult time understanding the ‘English’ in Nina Sitbbe’s Christmas book.
Mental Floss: Mundal, Norway is Home to More Books Than People – Mundal is known as ‘The Norwegian Book Town’ because it has more books than residents.
The Week: 25 best book buys for Christmas 2018 – “Literary giants mingle with new talent and former presidents and first ladies in this year’s hottest new releases”.
The Paris Review: Reading While Nursing – Leslie Jamison on a year of reading with her newborn pressed against her chest.
The Norwegian American: Christmas book flood – Elizabeth Bourne has found an “Icelandic tradition worth importing”.
The Morning News: Announcing the 2019 Tournament of Books – TMN has announced the shortlist, judges and commentators for its 15th annual literary competition.
The New Yorker: The Contested Legacy of Atticus Finch – Does the inspiration behind a literary hero merit celebration or condemnation?
Literary Hub: Here are the Biggest Nonfiction Bestsellers of the Last 100 Years – Emily Temple pulls together the biggest non-fiction bestsellers (and the books we remember instead) of the past one hundred years.
JSTOR Daily: Jane Austen’s Subtly Subversive Linguistics – “Why are Jane Austen books still so beloved?” asks Chi Luu. “A linguist argues it has more to do with Austen’s masterful use of language than with plot.”
Metropolis: Japanese Historical Novels – David McElhinney seeks out the best of Japan’s historical fiction.
Electric Literature: 10 Moments That Shook the Literary World in 2018 – “Plagiarism, prizes, deaths, and dick soap marked the longest year in recent history”.
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
Ali, Jacqui and Madame Bibi have all added to my list this week. Great round up, as ever, Paula.
Thank you so much, Susan. For some reason I’ve stopped receiving notifications when you post so I have signed up again. Very odd! 😲
It is odd, but thanks for resubscribing.
That post with ““I loved Mr. Darcy far more than any of my own husbands” made me chuckle! I’m sorry life has crept up on you, it has a tendency to do that and scupper best laid plans! I do hope everything’s okay and that you’re doing alright… You’ve still managed a great round-up!
Have a lovely weekend xx
Thank you, Caz. I appreciate your kind words. I hope your weekend is a good one, too. 🤗
I became aware of Rumer Godden as a result of visiting the house she lived in in the 1950s, but have yet to get stuck into ‘Battle of the Villa Fiorita’ which I actually bought in Rye (my better half enjoyed it before me, at any rate!). It’s pencilled in for 2019, as is a reread of His Dark Materials (mentioned in one of your links) before the BBC finally decide to air it as a serial or serials.
I still haven’t read His Dark Materials or anything by Rumer Godden, so you’re way ahead of me, Chris! 😃
That’ll be a rare thing then!
Thank you for the mention Paula 🙂 I’m also behind on reading and blogging, so you are not alone! It’s that time of year. I’m very interested by the Austen article, thank you for pointing me towards it.
It’s a pleasure, Madame B. Glad you always find something of interest in my Saturday posts. 😃
Great round up, Paula! The Week’s list of Christmas books is eclectic and much appreciated – I love pairing gifts with books.
Thank you, Michael. I love buying book related gifts for people (whether they want them or not). 🤣
Thank you so much for that lovely mention, Paula! I’m so glad you liked the review.
I’m fascinated by this whole Katerina thing, which just sounds dreadful but has amused me with so many hilarious bad reviews. That Guardian article makes an excellent but sad point about why it’s even allowed to be published and at what expense.
And I can’t wait to comb through that Lithub list of bestselling nonfiction and what we remember from each year instead…big thanks for sharing that!!
You’re very welcome, Rennie. I love that LitHub list – it just proves that bestsellers aren’t necessarily the most enduring books!
So very true!
Thank you for linking to my review of The Blue! That list of Japanese historical fiction is interesting – I’ll have to try some of those.
It’s a pleasure, Helen. 😊
I know only too well how it is when events muscle in on blogging time. Hope all is well, Paula 🙂
Hello Sandra. Yes indeed, blogging schedules are useful but are so easily thrown into disarray by the unexpected. I do hope your dad is okay and you are able to enjoy Christmas. Thanks for popping in – it’s always good to see you. 😊
I hear you Paula – only too well. Same over here. Too much on to read AND blog about what I’m reading.
However, you have posted a couple of links I shall follow up, including the one on why Austen is still popular. Certainly for me it’s far more than the plots.
Thank you, Sue. Glad you found something of interest. 😊
I just read that New York Times article on A British Christmas: Some Translation Required. Usually these kinds of articles have me rolling my eyes but from those few examples she’s included I can well understand her frustrations. They do seem very very parochial.
I imagine it must be like reading a book in Swahili to most Americans. It did make me laugh, though. 🤭
It *is* such a hectic time of year. But you’ve done a stellar round-up anyhow.
I’m always keen to see which books are coming out on screen (especially The Goldfinch in that list, which seems like such a vivid story to bring to film) and I’m also a longtime Rumer Godden reader (Dolls’ House and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower).
Never a shortage of good reading, is there?!
Thanks Marcie. I agree, The Goldfinch should be interesting. You’re so right, we need never fear there will be a shortage of good books to read!
I’m on your side, Paula! I do hope that things will smooth out and line up well for you, soon.
Thank you, Leslie. Hope things are going well for you, too.