Winding up the Week #56

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.


On my beside-table is the Complete Short Stories by the brilliant novelist Elizabeth Taylor. This Virago Modern Classic will sit on my nightstand to be dipped-into whenever the urge strikes, but at 626 pages in length it may be some time before I share my thoughts.

On the horizon are two novels: Barnhill by Norman Bissell and The Stepney Doorstep Society by Kate Thompson. More information about these titles will follow in coming WUTWs.


* Official Wales Readathon Book Revealed *

Earlier this week I revealed the official book for Dewithon 2019. There’s no pressure whatsoever to read this title, it’s there merely for those who want to share their reading experience with fellow book bloggers. I hope I’ve made the right choice for our first ever Welsh reading challenge. Please feel free to share your views and make suggestions. >> ARE YOU READY FOR THE WALES READATHON? >>

200 POSTSShortly after posting this announcement, I discovered another of those colourful, saucer-shaped discs from WordPress conveying the message: “Congratulations on writing 200 posts on Book Jotter!” I must say, these stat bods are jolly nice people.

Finally, a great big thank-you to Lizzie at Lizzie Ross for her post, Book Gluttony, plugging the event, and Gretchen at Thoughts Become Words for promoting Dewithon on her home page. Your support is greatly appreciated.

* 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:

RADETZKY MARCHAnnouncing The Radetzky March Readalong – Lizzy Siddal announces the April dates for The Radetzky March Spring Readalong at Lizzy’s Literary Life.

Mavis Gallant’s “Thank You for the Lovely Tea” (1956) – “Gallant allows us to glimpse the experiences of each character” and “handles it all so deftly”, writes Marcie McCauley at Buried in Print of this fictional piece from Gallant’s Home Truths short story collection.

#SherlockPoems and Nostalgia: Claude McKay and D.H. Lawrence – Over at Rattlebag and Rhubarb Josie Holford writes of Claude McKay, his poetry and his “psychic kinship” with D.H. Lawrence.

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place – “The trappings of the mystery genre sometimes get repetitive, but [Alan] Bradley gives them new life with Flavia”, writes Erin Thompson from Out of Shelves of the ninth ‘Flavia de Luce’ novel.

All The Lives We Ever Lived by Katharine Smyth – Simon Thomas at Stuck in a Book found Smyth’s “beautifully written” new literary memoir, “so perfect” he wondered “if anybody else [would] want to read it?”

No 541 The Song Is You by Megan Abbott – Cathy at 746 Books describes Abbott’s 2007 mystery novel as “a brilliant slice of neo-noir crime fiction” that “transcends its roots.”

* 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: Bite-sized: 50 great short stories, chosen by Hilary Mantel, George Saunders and more – “Quick and easily shared, is the short story the form for our times? Leading authors pick their favourites”.

The New York Times: The Trouble With Autism in Novels – Marie Myung-Ok Lee looks at what happens when autism becomes a literary device.

BBC Bitesize: The most extreme libraries on Earth – Explore some of the world’s most extreme places to borrow a book.

Literary Hub: Patricia Highsmith’s Malcontents, Misogynists, and MurderersBook Marks shares: “Classic and contemporary reviews of five iconic thrillers from the ‘poet of apprehension’”.

Brain Pickings: Jane Goodall’s Lovely Letter to Children About How Reading Shaped Her Life – “How a public library and a messy second-hand bookshop helped a small girl with no money and big dreams change the face of science”, writes Maria Popova.

Electric Literature: 8 Fictional Books in Literature – “Ben Winters, author of Golden State, recommends storytellers telling stories about storytellers.”

Front Porch Republic: The American Bookstore: Prologue – Tara Ann Thieke makes an appeal for bookstores that prize curation, preservation and staying-put over Instagram appeal.

Los Angeles Times: Sandra Cisneros to receive PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature – The Mexican American author of The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek has won the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

The Bookseller: Ian McEwan joins Southbank’s Literature Season line-up – Katie Mansfield reveals that “Ian McEwan will join writers James Ellroy, Jeanette Winterson and Robert Macfarlane on the Southbank Centre’s Summer 2019 Literature Season”.

The Rio Times: Buying and Borrowing English-Language Books in Rio de Janeiro – “From upmarket bookstores to second-hand selections, there are a number of worthwhile places to visit when searching for a great English-language book in the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’”, writes Jack Arnhold.

Eidolon: The Twists and Turns of Translation – Johanna Hanink asks why classicists have such a complicated relationship with translation.

Retail Design Blog: A bookworm’s dream – The design of Shenyang Jiuwu Culture City, a 24-hour ‘book mall’ in Shenyang, resembles a forest.

Books + Publishing: Hager wins Margaret Mahy Medal – Mandy Hager has won the 2019 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for a lifetime of achievement and distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature.

Book Riot: Get To Know The Little Magazines of The Harlem Renaissance – Kelly Jensen introduces readers to some fascinating publications of the Harlem Renaissance movement.

CrimeReads: Is Fictionalizing Crimes Inherently Exploitative? – When writing the fiction of violence, there are no easy answers”, writes Katrin Schumann.

Independent: Undiscovered Merlin and King Arthur tale fragments found in Bristol archives – Clarisse Loughrey discovers that “fragments could potentially be part of the version of the Vulgate Cycle that Sir Thomas Malory used as a source for Le Morte D’Arthur.

Melville House: Starting a reading group doesn’t have to be a nightmare – Michael Seidlinger offers a few useful pointers on setting up a reading group.

The Times Literary Supplement: Literature festivals – Jaipur and elsewhere – Mary Beard found the Jaipur Literature Festival “a great advert for the power of the book.”

BBC News: George Orwell gets food essay apology from British Council after 70 years – The British Council has issued a belated apology George Orwell for rejecting an essay he wrote seven decades ago.

The New Yorker: A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions – A distinctly unsettling piece about Daniel Mallory (aka A.J. Finn), author of The Woman in the Window.

Wired: The History of Women in Sci-Fi Isn’t What You Think – It would seem the history of women in science fiction is largely inaccurate.

The Guardian: The best books to understand what is happening in Venezuela – Rory Carroll suggests a few books you should read to better understand Venezuela’s current political situation.



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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26 replies

  1. Ohhh! Elizabeth Taylor’s short stories! I have only read her novels (which I love). Each time I read one of her books I think that her writing is unfairly overlooked…

  2. I’ve read a few Megan Abbott books before and liked them so far. I hope to get to more of her stuff, especially some of her more noir-inspired books, in the near future.

  3. Congratulations on 200 posts!!

  4. Too many great stories, as usual! Thanks for such a great roundup 😊

  5. Elizabeth Taylor short stories – what a treat! Congratulations on 200 posts 🙂

  6. Great round up as always, Paula! I have that Taylor lurking (have had for years, actually!) I really must get to it one day… ;D

  7. Congratulations on 200 excellent, detailed and throughtful posts, Paula.

  8. Thank you for the acknowledgement, Paula, the Dewithon countdown begins…

  9. A wonderful week, my friend! I received my Super-tramp book and can’t wait to dig in! I posted it over on instagram in a bookmail post. Happy week ahead! ♥️

  10. Lots of interesting titles on your TBR list but also some fascinating stories. I’ll check out a few of those – the autism as a literary device by the NY Times caught my eye so I’ll read that first. Thank you! I hope the week ahead treats you well, Paula 🙂
    Caz xx

    • Thank you, Caz. I’m glad you found my post of interest. I always try to include a fairly wide range of links in the hope of pleasing different types of readers. I hope your week is a good one, too. 😊 xx

  11. That volume of short stories must contain all sorts of gems. I’ve only read a couple of her short stories, but I’ve read all of her novels (save one).

    The article on the women of vintage sci-fi is a good one. But there are so many names that aren’t even covered. It’s more of a whet-your-appetite thing, I guess!

    Thanks for including the link to my post on Mavis Gallant’s short stories: very kind! I’m just past the halfway mark in reading through her work. Have you ever thought about just posting on one or a few of Taylor’s stories, rather than waiting until you finish the whole collection?

  12. Another good round up with more to tempt me. Reading group ones always interest though I reckon my group has this well and truly licked. Then there’s the autism one, fictional books in literature, translation, and more. Wah, Paula. When to I get to read my books! No wonder I’m behind!

  13. Loved the article about representation of autism in literature. I have two kids on the spectrum (and very different parts of the spectrum), and I find it equal parts exciting and challenging when there is supposed representation in a book. The author of the article did a lovely job of voicing my position on the subject. Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, Myndi. I’m HFA – although I wasn’t diagnosed until three years ago – and agree completely with the oft quoted adage: ‘If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism’. We simply can’t be put in a box! 😊

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