An end of week recap
My weekly digest arrives rather later than usual but, nonetheless, on the correct day (just!). It has been quite a fraught week and I’ve done very little work on my blog since last Saturday. As those of you who read WUTW #57 will know, my partner was hospitalized following complications with chemotherapy. We later learned she had sepsis and was fortunate to have been pumped with antibiotics before deteriorating further. She came home a couple of days ago, and the intention now is to halve her next batch of chemo. Hopefully this won’t happen again.
Many thanks indeed to everyone for their kind words and good wishes – your lovely comments really do lift the spirit. We have a long way to go but remain positive.
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.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
* The Wales Readathon 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:
Catching the Light by Susan Sinnott – “Once [Naomi MacKinnon at Consumed by Ink] got into this book, [she found] it was very hard to put down.” She loved “the small-town Newfoundland setting” and felt the “characters really [shone] through.”
More Was Lost by Eleanor Perényi – Jacqui describes Perényi’s 1946 memoir as “superb”. Discover why she “highly” recommends it at JacquiWine’s Journal.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin – Claire McAlpine at Word by Word “recommend[s] without hesitation” Baldwin’s 1974 novel about “the harsh, unjust realities of everyday life in America for black people.”
A Travelogue In Search Of What’s Making Russia Great Again – Rennie at What’s Nonfiction? felt that while In Putin’s Footsteps by Nina Khrushcheva and Jeffrey Tayler sometimes overreached itself, it was on the whole a “descriptive” and “evocative travelogue”.
Rule Britannia – Daphne Du Maurier (1972) – Over at Heavenali, Ali Hope declares Du Maurier’s final novel “marvellously compelling” and “oddly appropriate reading material for the current chaos we find ourselves in.”
The Baron in the Trees – After reading Italo Calvino’s whimsical 1957 novel, Silvia Cachia found herself pondering magical realism. She describes the book as a “fantastical scenario” of “Cosimo’s life in the trees”.
* 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: Shelf policing: how books (and cacti) make women too ‘spiky’ for men – The Daily Mail offers advice on “how to avoid turning your home into a MANrepeller”. Apparently, books can be “offputting to men”! Are they the sort of men a men a self-respecting book-reader would want in their life, one wonders?
The Paris Review: Weird Time in Frankenstein – “When I started reading Frankenstein, I was thinking about time”, writes Elisa Gabbert in her column, Mess with a Classic.
The New York Times: Betty Ballantine, Who Helped Introduce Paperbacks, Dies at 99 – “Betty Ballantine, who with her husband helped transform reading habits in the pre-internet age by introducing inexpensive [Penguin] paperback books to Americans, died on Feb. 12 in Bearsville, N.Y.”
The New Yorker: Do We Write Differently on a Screen? – Tim Parks wonders if he should “turn off the Wi-Fi” and “work silently on paper”?
Open Culture: 800 Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts Are Now Online: Browse & Download Them Courtesy of the British Library and Bibliothèque Nationale de France – Josh Jones discovers a treasure trove for admirers of medieval literature.
The Bookseller: Verso Books launches ‘bold’ fiction imprint – “Radical publisher Verso Books is launching its own fiction imprint this September, promising a string of “politically astute” novels, reveals Mark Chandler.
Literary Hub: If They Gave Oscars to Books, Our 2018 Nominees – Emily Temple urges us to consider Literary Hub’s third annual Academy Awards for Books the “Fake Book Oscars”. She says, “they’re extra fun because you don’t even have to dress up”!
Vintage: Where to start reading Amos Oz’s books – An introduction to the books of one of Israel’s greatest authors.
AV/NEWS: Here’s how Netflix is squeezing 13 episodes out of Green Eggs And Ham – Randall Colburn discovers just how the streaming service intends to stretch its adaption of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham into 13 episodes.
Culture Trip: Banned Books Reveal American Anxieties Around the LGBTQ Community – An examination of the titles removed from libraries and schools over the years “reveals deeper truths about the evolving cultural concerns of the United States.”
Electric Literature: 7 Books About Worlds Within Worlds – “Mark Mayer, author of Aerialists, recommends novels with hidden realities”.
Book Riot: Should Bookstores Charge for Events? – Charging for literary events would provide much needed revenue for bookshops, however, it would also make those same events less accessible. Fee or no fee? wonders Melody Schreiber.
Readings: The Readings Children’s Book Prize shortlist 2019 – The Readings Children’s Book Prize, which celebrates exciting new voices in Australian children’s literature, has announced its 2019 shortlist.
CrimeReads: 9 Mysteries That Will Take You on a Journey From Paris to the South of France – Travelling the French countryside through crime fiction with Deborah Lawrenson.
The Booklist Reader: Title Trend: The Nouns of Full Names (YA Edition) – Eleanor Roth discovers that from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, authors have used ‘the noun of full name’ titling method to effectively pitch their stories to readers, giving them the who and the what right off the bat.”
Independent: Naomi Alderman novel ‘The Power’ to be adapted for Amazon Prime series – Clémence Michallon on the adaption of Alderman’s 2016 science fiction novel.
The Atlantic: The Lab Discovering DNA in Old Books – “Even the beeswax used in seals is rich with data about the past, including the flowers that grew in that region year to year”, writes Sarah Zhang.
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.