Winding up the Week #64

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 29 to 34 of The Autobiography of a Super-tramp by W.H. Davies – the official book of Wales Readathon 19. >> DEWITHON WEEK FIVE: The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies >>

Look out for my comments on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of twelve short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle from 1892, which I read for The Classics Club.


* Wales Readathon Wrap-Up *

I have compiled a list of the many titles reviewed and discussed by those taking part in Dewithon 19. Hopefully this index will act as a stepping-stone for those wishing to discover works from (and about) Wales. >> WALES READATHON LIBRARY: On Our Shelves >>

* Forthcoming Events *

1965 CLUB SMALLDewithon 19 may be over but there are all kinds of exciting and inspiring book-blogging jollies about to commence. One of my favourites is, of course, the biannual reading event organized by Karen from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings and Simon from Stuck in a Book. From 22nd to 28th April, the co-hosts invite you to take part in the 1965 Club by reading and posting your thoughts on titles originally published in that year. An official #1965Club page will soon appear where you can submit links to your posts, seek recommendations and generally stay up to date with all that is happening.

Ali Hope of Heavenali is hoping to host a Daphne du Maurier reading week from 13th to 19th May 2019. If you would like to take part, please head over to Daphne du Maurier reading week, anyone? and make yourself known. I’ve already chosen the book I’ll be reading: My Cousin Rachel – another du Maurier classic set in Cornwall, first published in 1951.

Also, starting today is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon –  all the best of luck if you are staying awake through the night to complete your chosen titles.

Please do let me know if you are organizing a literary event on your blog. I will gladly give it a mention in WUTW.

* 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:

THING OF MOMENT“A Thing Of The Moment” by Bruno Noble – “Not many male authors can write young female narratives as well as this author”, says Martie of this meditation on the subject of identity. Read her review at Leave Me Alone I Am Reading and Reviewing to discover why she feels the two halves of this novel “do not fit.”

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi – “This novel is like nothing else I’ve ever read” writes Claire McAlpine of Emezi’s 2016 debut novel. Discover why she thought it truly “astounding” at Word by Word.

Dylan Thomas – The Collected Stories – “Dylan Thomas is the writer who made me love poetry”, says Amalia Gavea at The Opinionated Reader. She believes these stories “are clearly the products of a unique mind” – indeed, ones which she has “read again and again over the years.”

This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else – Over at What I Think About When I Think About Reading, Jon Savage’s new history of the Mancunian rock band Joy Division receives high praise from Jan Hicks. She describes it as “a story about stars aligning”.

Black Writers Matter, edited by Whitney French – Naomi MacKinnon at Consumed by Ink was immediately “attracted” by this anthology of African-Canadian writing. She discusses several pieces that particularly “stood out” for her.

Julia Boyd: Travellers in the Third Reich – Marina Sofia at findingtimetowrite found this history of the rise of the Nazis “fascinating” and “well written” – but it also “chilled [her] to see how easy it is to flatter and seduce people with lies, simplistic promises and unrealistic solutions”.

* 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:


Esquire: We’re Living Through A Golden Age Of Nature Writing – Olivia Ovenden thinks that “digital fatigue and environmental disaster have, paradoxically, lead to a resurgence of books on the power and meaning of the great outdoors.” She picks out some of the “best”.

The Paris Review: Feminize Your Canon: Etty Hillesum – Emma Garman explores the life of the Dutch diarist and mystic, Etty Hillesum.

Public Books: B-Sides: Russell Hoban’s “Riddley Walker” – Paul Saint-Amour on ‘Riddleyspeak’ and the cult status of Riddley Walker.

Design Week: The Handmaid’s Tale to 1984: designers on their favourite book covers – Graphic designers pick books they think epitomise great print design, from dystopian fiction to political commentary.

Aeon: Was the real Socrates more worldly and amorous than we knew? – Who was the real Socrates and what do we know of his wide-ranging love life?

Tornos News: Athens bookstore opens Chinese section aiming at tourists and 500 titles – A Greek bookstore has added 50 titles in Chinese and expanded its English selection.

BBC Scotland: Walter Scott book prize shortlist revealed – “The final contenders have been revealed for this year’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.”

Radio Prague: Acclaimed Czech-born author and essayist Milan Kundera, still an enigma at 90 – Brian Kenety takes stock of Milan Kundera’s enduring legacy.

Atlas Obscura: Found: A Lost Charter Issued by King John More Than 800 Years Ago – Matthew Taub reports that scholars were delighted to discover a lost charter issued by King John.

Global News CA: Londoners lend helping hand to local bookstore on its move to new home – Fifty customers formed a daisy-chain to help move The Brown & Dickson Antiquarian Bookstore in London, Ontario.

Locus: Vonda N. McIntyre (1948-2019) – Author Vonda N. McIntyre, best known for her ground-breaking feminist SF, died of cancer at the age of 70 on 1st April.

PC World: Microsoft has closed its e-bookstore, and everything you purchased will vanish in July – Mark Hachman reveals that “Microsoft will offer refunds, plus a bonus if you’ve marked up an ebook”.

Standpoint: The lasting worth of ‘worthless’ books – Theodore Dalrymple on how to appreciate bad books.

Independent: Netherlands makes trains free on national book day for those who show a book instead of ticket – “Dutch book lovers got free rail travel across their country’s entire network [last] weekend as part of the Netherlands’ annual book week celebrations”, says Jon Stone.

Literary Hub: A Rare Book Exhibition Celebrates Historic Contributions by Women – Scientific discoveries, women-only climbing clubs and much more.

Bookforum: Lust Never Sleeps – After half a century of respected feminist polemics, Charlotte Shane questions why “straight men of letters still regard their fossilized sexism and quotidian horniness as windows into existential wisdom.”

Refinery29: A Reading List For Those Who Agree “Tragic Love Stories Are The Best Love Stories” – Frankie Mathieson speaks to Sara Collins, author of the gothic page-turner, The Confessions of Frannie Langton.

Vintage: 7 iconic scenes from The Handmaid’s Tale graphic novel – “Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, has been turned into a graphic novel by Canadian artist Renée Nault. Here are seven of the most infamous scenes illustrated from the book.” The new YA rom-com with a distinctly Aussie flavour – “Young adult fiction has boomed in recent years, but many of those stories being told lack a distinctly Australian voice. But one local author is trying to change that with her debut novel”, writes David Meddows.

The New Yorker: Sunday Reading: Dystopian Fiction – From The New Yorker’s archive, pieces about the scary, strange, magnetic appeal of dystopian fiction.

The Expert Editor: INFOGRAPHIC: The Surprising Reading Habits of Millennials – An infographic looking at the reading habits of millennials.

Book Riot: I’m Not a Fan of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novels – Why this reader dislikes Pulitzer Prize-winning novels.

Jewish Review of Books: Harold Bloom: Anti-Inkling? – Michael Weingrad admits it’s “a bit surprising to come across Harold Bloom’s confession that the literary work that has been his greatest obsession is not, say, Hamlet or Henry IV, but a relatively little-known 1920 fantasy novel.”

Read it Forward: Books That Celebrate Prague – “Don’t be surprised if visiting Prague goes to the top of your bucket list”, warns Lorraine Berry.

Bookish: How to Host a Silent Reading Party for Your Book Club – Kelly Gallucci doesn’t think curling up with a good book and quietly reading should necessarily be a solitary activity.



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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23 replies

  1. Beautiful review as always, Paula! Thank you so much for the mention.

  2. Here’s a list of things to thank you for:
    Making me aware of Ali’s Du Maurier readalong – I’ve signed up to read Jamaica Inn
    Reminding me that Freshwater is on my library wishlist
    Reminding me (via Esquire) that I need to read Olivia Laing’s To The River – a shame that list doesn’t include Tom Cox’s 21st Century Yokel, though, which is my favourite nature book of recent years, with shades of W G Sebald
    Linking to my review of This Searing Light

  3. Killer selection of links this week.

  4. Wonderfully eclectic set of links as ever, Paula.

  5. The Walter Scott shortlist looks especially good this year!
    Thanks so much for linking to my review of Black Writers Matter! I feel particularly emotional about that one. 🙂

  6. Thanks for mentioning the #1965Club – it looks to be a year with excellent books so the choice of what to read is actually going to be quite hard! 😀

  7. Such an interesting collection of links this week.

    I was so pleased to see the Etty Hillesum diaries featured. They’re amazing.

    And there are some good books on the Walter Scott Prize list too.

    As for the BookRiot piece, I’m getting weary of readers claiming that they don’t care for specific prizelists when they are not offering a viable alternative to the “prizelists are filled with people who don’t share my literary taste and books I don’t like” other than “I’d rather my friends and I were choosing the prizelists so we could choose all the books we like”. It’s so easy to complain, not-so-easy to create alternatives.

    Hope you’ve had a great week!

    • Many thanks, Marcie. I would really like to read Etty Hiiesum’s diaries.

      It’s the ‘never know’ factor with these prize lists that I like. Debuts are often brought to our attention, authors receive bags of publicity (which is never a bad thing – especially if they’re unknown) and, most importantly, they get everyone talking about books, books, books!

      Hope you’ve had an enjoyable weekend, too. 😊

  8. Thank you for adding me in.

  9. So many interesting links in here, thank you kindly for linking to my review of Freshwater. I was intrigued to read the article about the golden age of nature writing, as I sit here this morning and have almost finished Leslie Marmon Silko’s wonderful nature memoir The Turquoise Ledge.

    I find it interesting that her walks in the arroyo (dry creek bed – I had to look the word up!) of Tuscon where she lives are so fascinating to me, she’s obsessed with finding turquoise stones and though many of the walks may seem repetitive, there’s something about the anticipation of what she may observe or find that I find compelling. And then there are the rattlesnakes that live around and under her house, a truly unique relationship. Happy to read about them from afar, thank you for sharing the article, I’ve read a few of them, but always interested to add to the list, especially nature memoirs by women, they add a dimension that offers something new and inviting.

  10. I was interested by the article on not liking Pulitzer Prize winners. I have in the past also found that sometimes I set my expectations too high when reading award- winning books. Then I realized that every award has a “personality” and it helps to know what you’re looking for ahead of time. For example, in sci-fi/fantasy I have found that I like the prose of Nebula winners, the plot of Hugo winners, and the more literary quality of World Fantasy Award winners.

    Unlike the author of this article, I do like the Pulitzer Prize… but I’m lukewarm on the National Book Award!

    • Many thanks for your thoughts, Marie. No matter how ‘well read’ the judges of these competitions may be, it is always going to be about one’s taste in reading. I have sometimes found myself respecting a winner for its narrative, cleverness etc. without having particularly enjoyed the reading experience. Prizes keep books in the news, which is good, but we are never all likely to agree on a single winner. Thank goodness we don’t – it makes our debates and conversations far more interesting. 😊

  11. I got so carried away reading some of the articles that I discovered that I actually forgot to comment. I went to the Silent Reading Party article, and ended up wandering around that site, including picking up some ideas for my reading group.

    I also enjoyed the Nature writing article.

    Thanks as always. Hope things are going well and you are going to get away for that holiday? Or, am I out of touch.

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