An end of week recap
This will be the fiftieth and final time we wind up the week in 2018.
I can’t resist mentioning here that in The New Year’s Honours List, which recognises the achievements of a variety of extraordinary people, The Queen will award my favourite author, Margaret Atwood, the Order of the Companions of Honour “for services to literature”. Well done, Madge – it was long overdue!
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support and wish you a peaceful, contented, book-filled 2019. Have a very Happy New Year!
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
* Looking Back at 2018 *
The past twelve months have been filled with dazzling debuts and dearly loved classics. I share with you my favourite reads and biggest literary disappointments of 2018. >> Read: 2018 Reading Year in Review >>
* Join the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-Along *
Following the success of his 2018 Les Misérables Chapter-a-Day Read-along, Deacon Nick of One Catholic Life has announced he will be hosting another in 2019. He hopes to encourage participants “to read books they might not otherwise read because of their length or age” and has therefore selected four books with chapters adding-up to 365. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Lilith by George MacDonald and The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens are the chosen titles. You are invited to “participate as much or as little as you like”. Please check out Nick’s introductory post, which has probably been posted by now. For further details you should download a pdf of the entire year’s schedule at Nick’s Chapter a Day Reading Schedule 2019.
* 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:
234 Homegoing – The latest title in Veronica’s The Thousand Book Project is Yaa Gyasi’s 2016 historical novel, Homegoing. She found it to be “thoroughly researched, eloquently written [and] eminently readable”.
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay – Nirmala at Red Lips and Bibliomaniacs could feel herself “being drenched in Paris, breathing in its nauseating foul-smelling air”, in de Rosnay’s first new novel in four years.
2018 in bookish moments – Emma shares her “literary snapshots of 2018” at Book Around The Corner.
‘And the Wind Sees All’ by Guðmundur Andri Thorsson (Review) – Tony Malone from Tony’s Reading List has “a bit of a soft spot for literature from Iceland”, and although he’s “a little unsure” if the book should be classed as a novel, he declares it “an excellent work”.
The Shepard Touch: Drawn from Life – In her review of Drawn from Life, the second volume of memoirs by Ernest H. Shepard, Lory from The Emerald City describes it as offering “a priceless glimpse of an endlessly fascinating era”.
* 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:
BBC News: Books 2019: Which top fiction picks will you choose? “Each new year brings a frisson of excitement among book lovers as they anticipate the happy hours ahead absorbed in a library’s worth of fresh reads”, writes Rebecca Thomas.
The Arts Society: A dog’s life – Emily Brontë’s furry friend – Emily Brontë had a rather large bull mastiff called Keeper.
Literary Hub: Notable Literary Deaths in 2018 – Emily Temple says, “a last goodbye to the authors, editors, and book people we lost this year”.
World Literature Today: World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2018 – Michelle Johnson lists 75 of the year’s most memorable English literary translations.
The Observer: The Observer Best books of 2018 – Observer critics pick their favourite reads of 2018.
Electric Literature: 8 Books About Women and Addiction That Are at Least as Good as Bukowski – Nikki Darling believes that addiction narratives about women “deserve a spot next to male gonzo antiheroes”.
The New Yorker: The Best Facts I Learned from Books in 2018 – Some of the most interesting facts Kathryn Schulz picked up from books this year.
JSTOR Daily: Is Fan Fiction a Helpful Literacy Tool? – Livia Gershon discovers that some teachers are “adapting to the internet age by trying to understand the ‘new literacies’ of today’s students.”
Lapham’s Quarterly: The Lady Is a Detective – Olivia Rutigliano traces a Victorian literary trend: detective novels – but with women.
Literary Ladies Guide: The Literary Magic of the Mary Poppins Books by P.L. Travers – “If Mary Poppins brings to mind Julie Andrews’ portrayal of her in the 1964 film, you’ll be surprised by how she’s depicted in the books”, writes Nava Atlas.
Words Without Borders: Another Country: Afro-Brazilian Writing – A selection of literature from Afro-Brazilian writers who explore questions of identity, inequality and resistance.
BBC News: The booming trade in second-hand books – “The rise of online has helped revive the second-hand book market, but what impact has it had on traditional, second-hand book shops?” asks Lucy Hooker.
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.