Winding up the Week #65

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 shared my thoughts on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of twelve short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes – my ninth choice for The Classics Club. >> THE CLASSICS CLUB: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes >>

Look out for my review of the soon to be published Barnhill by Norman Bissel, a fictionalised retelling of a crucial period in George Orwell’s life.


* 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:

SLACK-TIDEBook review: Slack-Tide by Elanor Dymott – Anna Maria Colivicchi at Nothingintherulebook recommends you read this novel if “you’ve ever wondered why you write, why you feel the need to create, why you feel everything constantly depends on what you are capable of creating”.

Passing ships – In his fascinating review, Chris Lovegrove of Calmgrove finds that Katy Mahood, the author of Entanglement, has “invested in her protagonists” and he sees “a lingering sadness behind the final redemptive optimism”.

“The Friend” by Sigrid Nunez – Lachmi Khemlani writing for Books We’ve Read enjoyed this story of a woman and a dog coping with grief for its “meditative quality” and was “happy” it won the 2018 National Book Award.

What Helen Zenna Smith did next – “The question”, says George Simmers, “is how seriously should we take ‘Helen Zenna Smith’ [aka Evadne Price] in her first book [Not So Quiet… (1930)]?” You may find the answer at Great War Fiction.

Some Books Aren’t For Reading – Howard Marc Chesley – “This book is very, very readable” writes Lizzy Siddal of Chesley’s recently released novel. See her review at Lizzy’s Literary Life to discover why “some books may not be for reading, but this one is made for re-reading”.

The Story Of An African Farm – Over at Just Reading A Book Jane re-examines Olive Schreiner’s classic 1883 novel set in South Africa. She finds it a “radical […] book of ideas in a very restrictive world”, where the reader is left to judge the characters.

* 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: ‘It is a religion’: how the world went mad for Moomins – Lisa Allardice on our enduring love for Tove Jansson’s Moomins.

The Economist: Vincent van Gogh, a literary life – Van Gogh was widely read and wrote “artful” letters.

The New York Review of Books: A Reader’s Guide to Planes, Trains, & Automobiles – Could “trains and buses and ships and planes have […] increased the amount of writing that gets done?” asks Tim Parks.

Voice of America: US Independent Bookstores Thriving and Growing – Deborah Block reports on the growth of independent bookstores as community hubs in the USA.

The Times Literary Supplement: The good European – T. S. Eliot delivered this speech to the Assemblée Générale at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, on 2nd June 1951 in support of cultural co-operation.

The Establishment: The Complicated and Painful Legacy of Dr. Seuss – Jana Meisenholder looks back at the “spectre of infidelity and suicide [that] haunts the whimsical hills of [Theodor Geisel’s] multimillion dollar legacy.”

Literary Hub: Your Surrealist Literature Starter Kit – Emily Temple on André Breton, Leonora Carrington, Kōbō Abe and others.

Book Marks: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Read in April – “April brings us a startling range of genres and styles”, says Leah Schnelbach.

Books + Publishing: The Paperback Bookshop celebrates 50 yearsThe Paperback Bookshop in downtown Melbourne is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month.

The Bookseller: Rowling backs Killer Women’s BAME and working class support scheme – “Female crime writing group Killer Women is launching a scheme to support emerging authors from BAME and working-class backgrounds, endorsed by J K Rowling, Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid and Martina Cole.”

Publishing Perspectives: The Commonwealth Short Story Prize Names Its 2019 International Shortlists – Porter Anderson reports that “sixteen of the British Commonwealth’s 53 nations are represented in this year’s shortlists for the regionally defined Commonwealth Short Story Prize”.

The Korea Times: Wander around Seoul’s first public secondhand bookstore – About “120,000 secondhand books are on sale in this single-story, 1,400-square-meter store, called Seoul Book Repository”, writes Lee Suh-yoon.

Book Riot: How To Find A Book By Description – According to Kelly Jensen, “there are a lot of ways to help you find a book by description.”

Electric Literature: How Media Coverage Undermines Women Authors – “You’re not imagining things” says Carrie Mullins. “A new report confirms that women get diminished, diminishing treatment”.

Marketplace: In Denmark, long opening hours for unstaffed libraries – Listen to John Laurenson’s audio about Denmark’s ‘open-libraries’.

The Guardian: ‘It’s a silent conversation’: authors and translators on their unique relationship – “From Man Booker International winner Olga Tokarczuk to partners Ma Jian and Flora Drew … leading authors and translators discuss the highs and lows of cross-cultural collaboration”, writes Claire Armitstead.

The London Magazine: Residents in a World of Ideas: Thoughts on Cafés and Writing – “Coffee has in many places and cultures become a lifestyle, one for literary enthusiasts that often takes on another level of sacredness”, says Jessamy Gather.

Melville House: UMass’s fledging environmental literary magazine gets sponsorship – According to Michael Barron, attempting to fund a literary magazine “is no joke”.

The New Yorker: Julian Assange and the History of Celebrities Wielding Books – Rosa Lyster finds that the founder of WikiLeaks isn’t “the only prominent figure to use a book as a prop that says a great deal in a very short space of time”.

The Paris Review: Ms. Difficult: Translating Emily Dickinson – Ana Luísa Amaral believes much of the difficulty in Dickinson’s work arises from her “distinctive agrammaticality”.

Stylist: Irish literature is having a resurgence – and women are at the forefront – “From Anna Burns to Suzanne O’Sullivan, writing by Irish women is undergoing a revival. Novelist Jan Carson looks at what’s contributed to recent successes.”

The Washington Post: Where’s the great millennial novel? A Gen Xer wonders. – “The plots, certainly, are there. Maybe it’s the medium”, suggests Mark Athitakis.

Smithsonian: How the Invisible Hand of William Shakespeare Influenced Adam Smith – “Born more than 150 years apart, the two British luminaries each encountered rough receptions for their radical ideas”, writes Stuart Kells.

Bitch Media: BitchReads: 15 Nonfiction Books Feminists Should Read This Spring – Evette Dionne hopes to “shake things up” with her book selection this spring. 40 Years of the Prometheus Award – James Davis Nicoll looks back at 40 years of the esteemed Prometheus Awards, which celebrates outstanding libertarian science fiction and fantasy novels.

Book Riot: 50 Must-Read Literary Biographies – Sarah Ullery likes her biographies to transport her to “worlds with characters that are larger than life.”

Booksellers Association: Yehrin Tong Revealed as 2019 BAMB Limited Edition Bag Designer – The designer of this year’s BAMB Limited Edition Bag has been revealed.



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. Thanks for another excellent post, Paula. I was particularly pleased to be reminded of Entanglement which I loved

  2. Interesting article on the Moomins — one that I’d missed, so many thanks for the link. The “world went mad” part of the headline is a bit misleading, though: as far as I can gather from conversations with friends, the Moomins are virtually unknown over here in the US. I am, of course, spreading the word about them, but . . .

    • It’s good to know you’re carrying the flag for Moomins over there, John. I hope all is well and things are improving for you.

      • Thanks for the kind wishes, Paula. Although I’m not physically up to par yet, much of the time — as when I’m sitting in front of the computer, like now — I tend to forget there’s anything wrong with me. The brain’s compensating splendidly for the loss of the eye.

      • I’m sorry to hear your eyesight still hasn’t been restored. Sending lots of positive thoughts in your direction.

      • I’m sorry to hear your eyesight still hasn’t been restored.

        It won’t be, alas. The damage is permanent.

      • I am sorry to hear that, John. Thank goodness your brain is making adjustments – it’s really quite amazing that it adapts so quickly.

  3. Thanks for yet another mention here, Paula, pleased to be featured among so many other luminaries!

    Good to see indie bookstores thriving in North America, and realising that providing a fuller experience than just offering stacks of books is key: our local bookshop, as well as offering signings and the now ubiquitous café, hosts book clubs and concerts, provides a venue for various local groups, promotes the local high Street and runs an annual literary festival.

    As usual, a goodly range of links, some of which I’ve now explored, thanks!

  4. Great roundup as always Paula – thank you! 😀

  5. I hadn’t come across Sigrid Nunez or his book The Friend before, so it’s interesting that won the 2018 National Book Award, will have to investigate that one. Great round-up as always! Have a lovely weekend Paula 🙂
    Caz xx

  6. Another literary smorgasbord, Paula, I don’t know where to start! I do know that I’ve been to the iconic Paperback Bookshop in Melbourne’s CBD, and done my fair share of searching for a book by description 🙂 but Australia has to pull its socks up regarding the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

  7. Interesting to see that piece about the revival of Irish literature. I wouldn’t have imagined it was in any kind of doldrum, there are always loads of really good books by Irish writers coming out. Am rather envious they have so many ….

  8. Great resources as ever, and thank you for gathering them!

  9. So much good booktalk here. I’m intrigued by the list of NF reading – and the chat about NF – because I’ve been focussed on some fiction projects so far this few (with a few exceptions) so I’m looking to swing back in the other direction in the coming weeks. Always about balance, don’t you find? Regardless of the kind of balance you’re seeking (i.e. not always 50/50)…

    • Thank you, Marcie. There have been times when I’ve read far more NF than fiction. The last couple of years I’ve devoured novels but I try always to get a good balance. I very much enjoy a good literary biography, so I’m definitely due for one soon! 😊

  10. Thank you for the mention, I feel honoured! And I had missed that article on The Moomins so thank you for the link.

  11. Another fabulous round-up, thank you for this excellent service and sharing!

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