Winding up the Week #63

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.


I read and remarked on chapters 22 to 28 of The Autobiography of a Super-tramp by W.H. Davies – the official book of Wales Readathon 19. >> DEWITHON WEEK 4: The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies >>


* Wales Readathon Declared a Success *

Dewithon 2019 is almost at an end. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in this inaugural event – I’ve been bowled over by your response. I hope next year to have far more time to devote to this celebration of literature from Wales. I will, as promised, post a list of all the titles featured in your posts over the last month and, of course, there is still the final summation of our official book to come.

I would like to say an extra special thank you to two people who have supported Dewithon since it was a mere suggestion just over twelve months ago: Chris Lovegrove and Gretchen Bernet-Ward. You are both pobl hyfryd.

So, please make a note on your calendars that Dewithon 2 will take place from the 1st to 31st March 2020. If not, I’ll be sure to keep reminding you!

Should you post any content relating to the Wales Readathon on your blogs, 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:

H FOR HAWKIf You’re a Bird, I’m a Bird: The Beautiful Power of “H Is for Hawk” – Marie Louise from Marietoday found this 2014 memoir by Helen Macdonald “a beautiful book” – indeed, it’s “one of the few” she’s read recently that’s “worth re-reading soon”.

Classics Club: The Story of My Life – Helen Keller’s 1903 autobiography gave Lory at The Emerald City a fascinating “insight into the life of one of the most extraordinary figures of our time.”

Review: Victorians Undone by Kathryn Hughes – Over at The Bookish Bundle, Chelsie Whetter has been delving “back into […] the Victorian period” – or more specifically, Victorian attitudes to body parts and the lives of their owners.

Review: The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara – Although Diana at Thoughts on Papyrus found this 2013 historical novel rather “cold” and “rambling”, she also considered it a debut of an “impressively high calibre”, with “amazingly fluid” writing.

Book Review: Secret Rendezvous, Kobo Abe (1977, trans. 1979) – Joachim Boaz of Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations believes this erotic and comic adventure by Japanese author Kōbō Abe is ideal “for fans of existential and experimental SF”.

‘Avenging Angels: Soviet Women Snipers on the Eastern Front (1941-45)’ by Lyuba Vinogradova – Kirsty of The Literary Sisters took “a while” to get used to the “haphazard approach” of Vinogradova’s history of the Russian female sniper corps in WWII but found it became “a more immersive book” as she continued to read.

* 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 Observer: Edvard Munch: Scandi novelists on the master of misery and menace – “How is the great Norwegian artist seen back home? Ahead of a new British Museum show, Karl Ove Knausgaard and other Scandinavian novelists explain what Munch means to them”.

adda: The Forgotten World – Yvonne Singh on Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and how Scotland erased Guyana from its past.

Book Riot: 13 Nonfiction Books About Real, Live Librarians – Anna Gooding-Call describes librarians as being like ninjas: “easy to overlook yet extremely effective.”

Literary Hub: The Quest to Acquire the Oldest, Most Expensive Book on the Planet – Margaret Leslie Davis writes on “unwrapping the most beautiful Gutenberg of them all”.

The Bookseller: Vintage rallies indie bookshops for Atwood’s The Testaments – “Vintage is calling on independent bookshops to coordinate creative publication events for Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, the much-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale in September, with a chance to win £750 to fund the best ideas”, writes Heloise Wood.

My London: Amazingly lifelike statue of Virginia Woolf could come to Richmond – if we splash out a bit – “It was the place where The Waves author’s career took off, but so far fundraising hasn’t”, says Martin Elvery.

Publishers Weekly: European Parliament Approves Controversial Copyright Overhaul – Andrew Albanese reports that the European Parliament has “voted to approve a sweeping copyright reform bill supported by publishers and media companies”.

The Washington Post: Fifty years after John Kennedy Toole died, ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ lives on – Colin Fleming looks back on the Pulitzer Prize-winning tragicomedy A Confederacy of Dunces, fifty years after the death of John Kennedy Toole.

The Paris Review: Beyond the Narrative Arc – Jane Alison imagines what fiction might look like if it took more inspiration from the shapes of the natural world.

Crime Reads: Where True Crime Meets Experimental Literature – Nicola Maye Goldberg shares nine true crime books testing the boundaries of the form.

The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Books That Wouldn’t Die – “They’re alive, despite being rebutted, criticized, and cast out of the disciplines from which they came!”

Aeon: Lost in migration – “When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?” asks Giorgio van Straten. E-readers are ‘sitting in the cupboard next to the bread-making machine’ as e-book sales collapse – Despite Amazon’s arrival in Australia, the co-founder of Booktopia has reported skyrocketing sales.

Connacht Tribune: Galway shop books the trend! – Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop won the best Irish indie store in the British and Irish Book Awards.

The Inquirer: A Bucks County bookstore is looking to sell its ‘wall of fame’ to keep the lights on. Think J.K. Rowling. – Vinny Vella discovers that children’s bookstore owner, Ellen Mager is auctioning off her shop’s walls in order to offset debt and remain open.

Guelph Today: People are loving Wellington County’s new library book vending machines – “Vending machines were placed in two sports complexes late last year”, says Anam Khan.

Barnes & Noble: 15 Newly Translated Novels You Need to Read in 2019 – Jeff Somers suggests fifteen “brilliant” books by writers from around the world.

The Guardian: The book industry isn’t dead. That’s just an excuse to keep salaries low – “Poor working conditions for book editors are ingrained”, writes Bethany Patch. “It’s time for that to change – no matter how much we love our jobs”.

Wordery: The Best Selling Book From the Year You Were Born – What was the best-selling book from the year you were born?

The Bookseller: Tennant to narrate The War of the Worlds in new H G Wells audiobook collection – “Five H G Well’s works are being released as ‘a special audio collection’ on Audible on next month featuring the voices of David Tennant, Sophie Okonedo and Hugh Bonneville”.



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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20 replies

  1. The Bestselling Book From the Year You Were Born is irresistible!

  2. Thanks a lot for the mention! I really appreciate it!

  3. I love those nonfiction about librarians and experimental true crime lists! Bookmarking lots of titles from those. And the H is for Hawk review…have you read that one? Ive heard so much about it but can’t decide whether I want to read it.

  4. Thanks for the mention! I appreciate it very much.

    Also, “Avenging Angels” sounds fascinating. The title reminded of another book called “The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II”. She mentions it in her review, as well, so now I’m motivated to find it and read it.

  5. I had fun with Dewithon and have enjoyed all the Wales related posts! I look forward to it again next year. 🙂

  6. So many wonderful links Paula! Alas, I failed the Dewithon this year – I shall try harder next time…😬

    • Glad you found them of interest, Karen. I know you’ve been really busy and it simply isn’t possible to take part in all the book blogging events, so don’t worry. Hey, it’s almost time for the 1965 Club – I have my book ready! 😊

  7. A lot of tasty reading there, Paula, and I had fun with Wordery’s Best Selling Book From The Year You Were Born. Now I’ll have to read it 🙂

    Thank you so much for your kind words, it is lovely to be acknowledge, Paula. I just followed your advice, you did all the hard work creating a successful Wales Readathon which broadened my literary horizon. You’re arbennig!

  8. I’m so glad Dewithon was a success–I was a failure at reading anything for it but I enjoyed the posts I read! Maybe next year …

    Thanks for highlighting my review of Helen Keller’s book – there are indeed so many amazing reviews and posts being written and I”m honored to be included.

  9. Great roundup! And I’m so curious what those indie bookshops will come up with, in terms of celebrating The Testaments. *rubs palms in anticipation*

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