An end of week recap
For the second week on the trot, WUTW is a tad late but nevertheless appears on schedule: Saturday – just!
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.
* Week One of the Wales Readathon *
The Wales Readathon kicked off on the 1st March (Saint David’s Day) with posts from Calmgrove and BookerTalk – not to mention a plethora of promotional plugs from fellow book bloggers (see them listed at DHQ). My heartfelt thanks to every one of you for your fabulous features and tremendous support.
I was pleased to see Google celebrating Wales’ patron saint on their home page with a delightful Google Doodle depicting a red dragon and a traditionally-clad Welsh girl – sadly, it was visible only to users in the UK.
There is now a dedicated page on which to display your Dewithon-related posts. Here you can share your reviews, features, interviews etc. with the book blogging community. >> Wales Readathon 2019 >>
Since The Autobiography of a Super-tramp is the official book of Dewithon 19, there seemed no better way to launch our month-long reading event than with a poem from Wales’ most famous drifter. >> A Poem by W.H. Davies >>
If you post any type of content relating to Dewithon on your blogs this month, please be sure to let me know.
* 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:
Visitation – Amalia Gavea of The Opinionated Reader declares Jenny Erpenbeck’s 2010 historical novel, “a literary masterpiece”.
The Truth of Things and Lark by Anthony McGowan – Primary school librarian, Anne Thompson, says there “is a respect and understanding of nature running through [McGowan’s] books” for “reluctant [teenage] readers”. Discover why her “reading weekend was one of many emotions” at A Library Lady.
Conversations With Friends: A Review – Beth Barker of bdrb “didn’t want the narrative to stop” in this 2017 Sally Rooney novel, as she was so “emotionally invested” in the characters.
Awakening By Sharon Bolton: Read It For The Snakes – “This work of fiction taught [A. M. Blair at The Misfortune Of Knowing] a lot about snakes” – but the reptiles weren’t the villains in this 2007 thriller “set in an English village inundated by serpents.”
Wish You Were Here – “Some books can’t escape you. It’s not just your inner circle reading them [but seemingly] every bibliophile on the planet”, writes Beth Steffens at Big Little Literature, highlighting Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale as one such novel.
An evening with Penguin – Over at AnnaBookBel, Annabel Gaskella tells us about attending Penguin’s General Bloggers Evening in the “swanky surroundings of a private room in a dining club in Soho”. There was a “fantastic line-up” of authors, each of whom “read or talked about their latest books”.
* 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:
Vox: “A Novel”: An article – “Why do so many book covers still use the phrase for works of fiction?” asks Eliza Brooke.
CBC: 60 facts about the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss – Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would have been 115 years old!
The Paris Review: Who Was the “Female Byron”? – Who was Letitia Elizabeth Landon (also known as the ‘female Byron’) with her amorous poetry and drug addiction? asks Lucasta Miller.
BBC News: Booker Prize finds new funder in billionaire Sir Michael Moritz – “The Booker Prize will be funded by venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz for the next five years after the Man Group, the previous sponsor, withdrew.”
Library Journal: Winter/Spring Bests | Debut Novels 2019 – Barbara Hoffert rounds-up some of the most exciting novels due for publication between now and June.
Book Riot: Tips for Getting the Best Book Recommendations from Your Librarian – Kristen Kwisnek has a few suggestions for getting book recommendations from your librarian.
The New York Times: Donald Keene, Famed Translator of Japanese Literature, Dies at 96 – Donald Keene, whose translations of Japanese literature into English and prodigious academic output helped define the study of the subject and made him a celebrity in Japan, died on Sunday in Tokyo.
Arch Mission Foundation: The first library on another celestial body. – The Lunar Library, containing a 30 million-page archive of human history and civilization, will be the first of its kind to land on the Moon.
The Museum of English Rural Life: So we found a live bat in our archive – Adam Koszary explains how Merlin, a rare Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat, was rescued and released from the UMASCS rare book store.
BitchMedia: Shelf Love: How A.N. Devers Created a Feminist Paradise for Bibliophiles – “In London’s bustling Soho neighbourhood, A.N. Devers’s feminist paradise for bibliophiles is thriving—and changing the way collectors think about the literary canon”, writes Dianca London Potts.
BBC News: Mr Greedy ‘almost as hard to read’ as Steinbeck classics – “Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Greedy is only slightly easier to read than John Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice and Men, a study has found.”
Books + Publishing Australia: NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2019 shortlists announced – The winners will be announced at the beginning of the Sydney Writers’ Festival on 29th April.
CrimeReads: Noir in the Northern Reaches – Kelley Armstrong shares six mysteries set in a stark and severe landscape.
The Times Literary Supplement: Ghosts and psychic dreams – “Margaret Drabble surveys the dizzying fiction of Anthony Burgess”.
Affidavit: Looking at Photographs of Marilyn Monroe Reading – Audrey Wollen on the continued popularity and power of all those photographs of Marilyn Monroe reading.
The Guardian: ‘If Ferrante is a friend, Ginzburg is a mentor’: the complex world of Natalia Ginzburg – “Long famous in Italy,” reveals Lara Feigel, “[Ginzburg is] gaining readers in Britain with her vivid depictions of family life, the female experience, postwar hardship and hope”.
Independent: Edouard Louis interview: ‘Harry Potter saved my life. I think it’s better than a lot of serious literature’ – “France’s leftist literary sensation […] tells Arjun Neil Alim how he wants to smash the wall between politics and literature”.
The Irish Times – Portrait of a reader: A short history of books in paintings – Jamie Caplin thinks the “process by which books became ubiquitous in our lives and in the work of artists is a fascinating one”.
JSTOR Daily: Sorry, but Jane Eyre Isn’t the Romance You Want It to Be – Charlotte Brontë, a woman whose life was steeped in stifled near-romance, refused to write love as ruly, predictable, or safe” writes Erin Blakemore.
Mental Floss: 15 Places You Can Visit Where Famous Works Were Written – “From cafes to prisons to bathtubs” says Don Rauf, “authors have written in all sorts of locations, and literature lovers today can still visit many of these sources of inspiration.”
The Sydney Morning Herald: Autumn is coming: writers reflect on the change of season – “A thinning of the air, the fall of leaves…eight writers explore a time of change.”
Read It Forward: Classic Books to Read in a Weekend – Lorraine Berry suggests you tackle classic books you’ve been meaning to read “in just one weekend.”
The Paris Review: The Strange Things I’ve Found inside Books – A cheque made out for $375.15, a ticket for jaywalking and a to-do lists with “pick up the whip” are just a few things Jane Stern has discovered inside second-hand books.
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.