An end of week recap
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 nightstand and keep readers abreast of various book-related happenings.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
* Indigenous Literature Week 2019 *
Lisa Hill at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog will once again host Indigenous Literature Week from 7th to 14th July, “to coincide”, she says, “with NAIDOC Week” in Australia. The aim of this reading jolly is to “make more people aware of indigenous writing”. You are therefore invited to participate by reading “Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori literature” or indigenous literature from anywhere else in the world, including Canada, Guyana, USA, Basque Country, South-Central Asia and Oaxaca. Simply let Lisa know you would like to take part by leaving a comment beneath her post announcing the event. Here you’ll also find all you need to know about taking part. Please use the #IndigLitWeek and #NAIDOC2019 hashtags on Twitter.
* 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’s difficult to limit the list to only these few – all of them published over the last week or two:
A perfectly-formed novella – There “is nothing superfluous in the text, just beautiful writing”, says Annabel Gaskell of West – Carys Davies’s Wales Book of the Year shortlisted historical novel. Discover why it’s “an epic in miniature” at AnnaBookBel.
Found Drowned by Laurie Glenn Norris – Over at Consumed by Ink, Naomi MacKinnon found herself “mesmerized” by this Canadian author’s writing, leading her to declare the ending: “deeply satisfying”.
Nigel Featherstone, Bodies of men (#BookReview) – Sue T at Whispering Gums found Featherstone’s “war novel that questions war” to be “brave”, “edgy” in tone and “a very good read.”
And the 2019 Woman’s Prize for Fiction goes to – ‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones – The winner of this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction is a “moving story” and an “accomplished novel”. Read the review at Shoshi’s Book Blog.
Winter Journal by Paul Auster – Laura Frey found her first choice for 20 Books of Summer 2019 was “a little cringey” on race and “experimental in form” but a “coherent piece of writing”. Head over to Reading in Bed to discover why Paul Auster and Jonathan Franzen were engaged in conversation.
The Listening Eye (1955) by Patricia Wentworth – Although “modern art doesn’t come off too well” in this classic mystery novel, and the plot is “ridiculously simple”, Dead Yesterday “enjoyed almost every minute” of No. 28 in the Miss Silver series.
* 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:
Book Marks: Tayari Jones Wins the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction – For her acclaimed novel about a marriage torn apart by injustice, An American Marriage.
BBC News: Hay Festival ticket sales up by 5,000 over 11 days – “More than 278,000 tickets were sold over the 11 days of the Hay Festival, up 5,000 on last year, organisers say.”
The Guardian: Turkey puts novelists including Elif Shafak under investigation – The Turkish authorities have put novelists whose fiction tackles such subjects as child abuse and sexual violence under investigation.
Lit Reactor: The Most Nonsensical Terms Used in Book Blurbs – Peter Derk on blurbs he can’t bear.
CBC Books: Watch Olive Senior deliver Margaret Laurence Lecture, ‘A Writer’s Life’ – You can watch the award-winning Jamaican-Canadian writer Olive Senior delivering this year’s Margaret Laurence Lecture: A Writer’s Life from Halifax.
Book Riot: When Childhood Books Should Not Be Revisited – “Sometimes the books we read as children work wonderfully until we revisit them as adults”, cautions Abby Hargreaves.
The Hudson Review – The Genesis of “Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom” – Karen V. Kukil finds Sylvia Plath was “hungry for new experiences” when she wrote Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom in 1952.
Literary Hub: The Radical Power of Writing in the First-Person Plural – Lynn Steger Strong mulls over the power of using the first-person plural in literature.
ABDA: ABDA Award Winners 2019 – The Australian Book Designers Association (ABDA) announced the winners of the 2019 Australian Book Design Awards at an event in Sydney on 31st May.
The Conversation: Scientists and poets are more alike than you might think – “Science and poetry haven’t always got along”, says Sam Illingworth – but he discovers there have been exceptions.
CrimeReads: The Small Crime Within the Larger Crime – Karen Lord with six works in which we are warned to seek the roots of violence in history.
Electric Literature: The Battle of the Book Cover: U.K. versus U.S. – “Who will win?” asks Andrea Oh.
The Irish Times: The very different Chaucer connection in Ireland and England – Marion Turner finds “the author of The Canterbury Tales later used English because it allowed more people a voice”.
BBC News: Waterstones boss takes helm at Barnes & Noble – “The boss of UK book retailer Waterstones is being parachuted in to help the turnaround of giant US chain Barnes & Noble.”
Condé Nast Traveler: Writing My Love Story at the Strand, New York’s Most Iconic Bookstore – Mitchell Kuga describes the Strand Book Store as a “place where fantastical stories have the potential to come true.”
Los Angeles Review of Books: In Search of the Naples — and Women — of Ferrante’s Novels – Lucia Benavides goes in search of the real-life setting of a quartet of novels and faces up to the doubter within.
Metro: You can run a London bookshop for the day, just like Hugh Grant in Notting Hill – Natasha Salmon discovers that Offside Books, a second-hand bookshop in London, “has opened its doors, so you can pretend to be Hugh Grant for the day.”
Stack: The 9 best literary magazines in the world right now – According to Kitty Drake.
Books + Publishing: ABA booksellers of the year 2019 finalists announced – Ten finalists are vying for the two 2019 Australian Booksellers Association booksellers of the year awards.
The Oprah Magazine: 50 Unapologetically Queer Authors Share the Best LGBTQ Books of All Time – Fifty queer writers share their favourite reads with Michelle Hart.
Poetry Foundation: Emily Dickinson Museum Receives $22 Million Gift – Harriet Staff reports on some very exciting news for the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA.
Russian Art + Culture: 10 Books You Should Read to Understand Russian History – A list of books that will “help you to understand Russia’s past and present”.
Read it Forward: Why We Love Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Abbe Wright invites you to celebrate Eleanor Oliphant Day on 22nd June 2019.
BBC Culture: Can reading really improve your mental health? – “In the toughest of times, fiction can be an important remedy, as a panel of top authors discussed at a special BBC Culture event at the Hay Festival”.
BookPage: Historical fiction reigns supreme once again – “Historical fiction is hot again”, says Lauren Willig.
Nature: A world history of imagination, mapping our cosmic context, and India’s urban forests: Books in brief – “Barbara Kiser reviews five of the week’s best science picks.”
ABC Arts: Best winter reads of 2019 – “ABC’s book experts have compiled a list of the best books to keep you warm” this winter.
The Verge: 11 new science fiction and fantasy books to check out in early June – “Stories about magicians, digital afterlives, and starfighter pilots” from Andrew Liptak.
Public Books: Madeline Miller on “Circe,” Mythological Realism, and Literary Correctives – John Plotz and Gina Turrigiano in conversation with Madeline Miller.
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.