Winding up the Week #51

An end of week recap

Winding Up the Week #11We’re winding up the week for the first time in 2019. I hope you enjoyed the celebrations and wish you a Happy New Year.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned I may not be able to commit the time necessary to be as fully involved with the book blogging community as usual. Sad to say, my partner was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer shortly before Christmas and is in for a difficult few months of surgery and chemotherapy. Nevertheless, I don’t intend to abandon Book Jotter – indeed, I think it may act as a haven of sanity as we fight this horrible thing. I will therefore post reviews and features as frequently as possible. I also intend to continue with my plans for the Wales Readathon (Dewithon 2019) in March, and I very much hope you will join in the fun.

As ever, 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.


* My Christmas 2018 Book Booty *

Santa left some beauties under my tree on Christmas morning. Did you receive any long-coveted books in your stocking? >> See my Christmas Book Bonanza >>

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

ashI’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:

Ash by Alys Einion – The latest novel from Welsh writer, Alys Einion, about a woman escaping an abusive relationship “contains an abundance of issues”, writes Karen from BookerTalk. Although she found the book “a little repetitive”, the “characterisation kept [her] interest throughout.”

Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere by Jeanette Winterson – A small but Powerful Book – Joules Barham from Northern Reader found that while this recently published adaption from Winterson’s 2018 Richard Dimbleby Lecture was “full of facts”, it was also “a most enjoyable read.”

Day 1299: Flush: A Biography – It was clear to Kay “that a lot more was going on than a story about a dog” in Virginia Woolf’s 1933 story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, Flush. Discover why the novel perplexed her at Whatmeread.

Long-Lived Literary Lions and Lionesses – Dave Astor discusses “famous writers who lived into old age, 85 or more” at Dave Astor on Literature.

The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading by Edmund White – Of this 2018 literary memoir Eric Karl Anderson of Lonesome Reader remarks: “It’s moving reading about White’s motives for wanting to write and engage with literary culture”.

New Year in the Bookshop – Another entertaining post from Victoria Blake on working in a second-hand book shop.

* 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: Audiobooks, inclusivity and #MeToo … how books changed in 2018 – In 2018, “the books world turned towards inclusivity and a broadening of perspectives”, writes Alex Clark.

The Millions: Literary Obituaries of 2018: Let Us Now Praise the Under-Sung – Many well-known figures from the literary world died in 2018. Bill Morris discovers some of the frequently overlooked writers who died last year.

The Financial Times: What I Learnt From a Year of Reading Only Books by Women – Alice Fishburn set herself a challenge in 2018 to only read only female authors. She shares her thoughts.

Motherboard: How to Download the Books That Just Entered the Public Domain – Follows these instructions to obtain the tens of thousands of books from 1923 that became legal to download for free in 2019.

BBC News: Glasgow’s LGBT book shop a ‘wonderful success’ – “The owners of an LGBT book shop in Glasgow say they could not have imagined how successful it has been.”

The Bookseller: Feminist Library to open in Peckham after £35k crowdfunder success – Staff at the Feminist Library have raised £35,000 for a move to Peckham in south-east London.

The Guardian: 2019 in books: what you’ll be reading this year – “The Goldfinch takes flight in cinemas, Robert Macfarlane goes underground and Margaret Atwood continues The Handmaid’s Tale … what to look forward to in the world of books.”

Literary Hub: On the Experience of Entering a Bookstore in Your Forties (vs. Your Twenties) – Steve Edwards considers the meaning of books as you grow older.

Mental Floss: JK Rowling Explained Why Harry Potter’s Hagrid Doesn’t Have a Patronus – Hagrid lacks a Patronus. Natalie Zamora asks why.

National Literacy Trust: Books should be sweets for children, not brussels sprouts – Author of the award-winning How to Train Your Dragon series, Cressida Cowell, believes we need to get our children to love reading.



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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68 replies

  1. Thank for you for your always informative posts and very best wishes to you and your partner. it sounds like you have a treatment plan in place and that is always helpful. Every best wish yo you both.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear your grim medical news. All best wishes to you and your partner that this horror can be soon defeated.

  3. So sorry to hear about your partner’s news. I’ll be thinking of you both and sending positive vibes – hopefully the treatment will sort everything out. x

  4. I am so sorry to read about your news and wish you and your partner well. The blogging community can be a very supportive one and I do hope you find strength and comfort from it.

  5. Sorry to hear your news and wishing you strength for the treatment. Many good wishes, and we’ll all still be here if you need to come and go a little.

  6. Thanks so much for the mention, Paula! Very, very sorry to hear about your partner’s diagnosis. I wish you both the best of luck.

  7. I am so sorry to hear about your news and I wish you and your partner all the very best luck and courage as you fight it together.

  8. Such distressing news for you . Take care of each other and make time to take care of yourself. You might be right about your blog giving you some joy and sanity. You don’t need long posts. Just drop in with what you’re reading and how you’re going for the support and distraction. All the very best to both of you. 🤠🐧

  9. Hi Paula, I – like other commenters – am sorry to learn of your partner’s cancer diagnosis. I hope that the two of you will be recipients of a great load of love, support, and medical expertise this year.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about your partner’s diagnosis, Paula. Wishing you both so much strength to get through the treatment, and I hope that it’s all safely behind you very soon! 🤗

  11. So sorry to hear the news about your partner, Paula. Wishing you both the best.

  12. I’m so sorry to hear this news. May you have all the strength and support you need to fight this.

  13. Oh, Paula, so sorry to hear about your partner’s diagnosis. I wish you both the very, very best. And do as little or as much blogging as you want or need. Real life comes first.

  14. Sorry to hear your news, and I do hope that things improve for your partner – they’ve made such advances in treatment and care recently. All best wishes to you both.

  15. Paula, I had somehow missed your December 15 WUTW post, and I am sorry to hear this news. As always, your resilience and positivity are an inspiration to me. I will be here reading whatever content you put on Book Jotter. Sending positive thoughts for healing to your partner and love to you.

  16. As always, thanks for the great links of interest. I’m sorry and sad to hear about your partner’s health challenges, which makes them your challenges, as well. I’ll keep you both in my thoughts as these coming months progress.

  17. So sorry to hear the news about your partner, Paula. Wishing you both the best and I will be praying for both of you.💕💕

  18. I am very sad to hear this news, Paula. All good wishes and strength to you and your partner for the coming weeks x

  19. Having a partner who twice survived cancer (against all the odds) I can only empathise, Paula: it won’t be easy but I hope it will work out well in the end, for both of you.

  20. I’m really sorry to hear you and your partner’s news Paula. I hope treatment goes smoothly and that you both have all the support you need to help you through it all.

  21. So sorry to hear about your partner’s diagnosis, Paula. All best wishes to you both. xx

  22. So sorry to hear your news, Paula. Wishing you both all the support you need. Take good care! xo

  23. Paula, I’m so sorry to read about your partner’s diagnosis. I hope you are both surrounded with love and support as you fight this. Sending positive thoughts your way for a successful treatment!

  24. Wishing you and your partner the best outcome. I gave up my job to care for my husband when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. I managed to write a little every day to keep myself sane! I hope you can too as looking after yourself is important. I know it might not feel like that but you need your strength so you can give it. Best of wishes xxx

    • Thank you so much, Maria. The number of people who have gone or are going through the same thing is quite astonishing. My partner and I sold our business of 26 years in October 2017, which makes coping a little easier. It can’t have been easy for you to give up your job, but I can fully understand why you would do so. It feels like a mountain to climb at present, but I will definitely do my best to keep the blog going. I very much appreciate your words of wisdom – all advice is very gratefully received at the moment. 🤗 xxx

  25. Sending thoughts of strength and courage to you and your partner. Finding a ‘sane’ place is very important for both of you at this time, whatever that may be.

    I enjoy these Friday posts and learn a lot. As a former book clerk working in a variety of bookshops I liked A New Year in a Bookshop as well as learning that the LGBT bookstore in Glasgow is proving successful.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Laurie. I’m so glad you like my end of week posts. I’ve really enjoyed reading Victoria Blake’s Tales from the Book Trade series – especially her descriptions of the odd things that turn up inside books. I would very much like to visit that bookstore in Glasgow one of these days. It’s such a refreshing change to read a success story about an independent book shop these days! 😊

  26. Paula, I have so enjoyed reading your blog and getting to know you a little bit through it. You have such a wide ranging and interesting take on the literary world. I hope that you will be able to write a bit given your current challenge.
    But, more importantly, please know that I am thinking of both you and your partner. I hope that treatment goes well and that you and your partner will be okay. I truly wish you both all the best.

  27. So sorry to hear about your partner. Thinking of you both and sending all the positive juju I can muster your way!

  28. I am saddened to hear the news about your partner and feel for him and you.
    Hope is what stays with us and often helps us win the way.
    Writing on will probably be a very good therapy for you, so keep it up.
    Bless you both


  29. Oh Paula. I have only just read this. I am so sorry for you and your partner. Cancer treatment can be horrendous but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that. I wish you both all the best with this journey. I hope when you do manage to post – and I understand the therapeutic value of doing so – that you give us updates every now and then.

    Meanwhile, take care – and good reading!

  30. I am so late in reading this post for which I apologise. I am very sorry to read of you and your partner’s bad news but pleased to see that the cancer hasn’t spread. I hope the chemo is going okay.

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