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 >>
This week I read three books and scribbled copious notes but unfortunately produced nothing in the way of reviews or commentary pieces, due, in part, to an arduous daily schedule. I intend, however, to get my head down over the weekend and post something early next week.
* Spanish and Portuguese Literature Month 2019 *
If you have taken part in Spanish and Portuguese Lit Month in previous years with Richard at Caravana de Recuerdos (who is this year taking “a back seat” with the event) and are wondering where to go for your West Iberian Romance-language reading fix this summer, head over to Winstonsdad’s Blog where Stu has come to the rescue and is organizing a links page. He also provides plenty of useful information if you are considering participating in 2019.
* 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:
‘Owl Sense’ by Miriam Darlington – “Reading about Darlington’s devotion to such a magnificent creature was a real treat”, for Kirsty at The Literary Sisters. She “enjoyed the way in which [the author set] out her memoir” and found her “authorial voice to be warm, honest, and filled with moments of beauty.”
Romain Gary enters La Pléiade – It is “extremely rare that a living author is published in [Bibliothèque de la Pléiade]”, says Emma at Book Around The Corner, but Gallimard issued “the complete works of Romain Gary in [this] renowned collection” on 16th May. Much to her delight, her favourite book shop “celebrated the event with a special wall display in the store”.
I Who Have Never Known Men – Amalia Gavea of The Opinionated Reader has “found a Dystopian novel [she loves] more than 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale” in the newly republished paperback version of Jacqueline Harpman’s 1995 “masterpiece”. She declares the prose “exquisite” and the introduction by Sophia Mackintosh: “beautiful and poignant”.
The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt – Andrea Wulf and Lillian Melcher – Lizzy Siddal at Lizzy’s Literary Life found this “sumptuous” graphic volume about “the life and mind of one of the greatest polymaths to ever grace the planet” to be “a fair reflection of the man’s restless mind.”
Dignity by Alys Conran – Dignity is a “beautifully written” story about an “unlikely friendship”, writes Jo B at Jo’s Book Blog of a novel that “takes the reader from colonial India to present day Wales”.
Blitz Writing by Inez Holden – “Holden is particularly brilliant at capturing the idiosyncratic speech” says Rachel from Book Snob. Furthermore, her writing is “beautiful” and “her eye-witness accounts of the Blitz absolutely fascinating”.
* 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: Unputdownable! The bookshops Amazon couldn’t kill – “Sales of printed books have risen and shops are fighting back. As the online threat mounts, UK booksellers – from chains to pop-ups – tell [Stephen Moss] how they keep afloat”.
Penguin: Margaret Atwood: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale is being read very differently now’ – Atwood talks about how The Handmaid’s Tale came to fruition while she was living in Berlin, about speaking up and what’s next for feminism.
Reading Length: How long will it take to read that book? – A handy tool to help calculate the length of time it will take to read a book.
BBC News: The Bookshop: The story of Australia’s oldest LGBTI bookstore – Madeleine Gray on “one of the last-standing LGBTI bookstores in the world”.
CityLab: Writers Are More Prolific When They Cluster – “A new study finds that British and Irish writers clustered in 18th- and 19th-century London and were more productive as a result.”
The Japan Times: Noted Japanese author Haruki Murakami looks back over 40 years of literary endeavors – Best-selling Japanese author Haruki Murakami sat down for an interview with Kyodo News on the 40th anniversary of his debut novel Hear the Wind Sing.
National Post: Is reading crime fiction written by women a feminist act? – “It’s not that men can’t write women but after so many centuries of men telling women’s stories, there is a particular power in women writing and reading our own” says Mel McGrath.
Publishers Weekly: Bringing Toni Morrison’s Life to Film: PW Talks With Timothy Greenfield-Sanders – John Maher speaks to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, director of the new literary documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.
CBC Books: New $6K literary award to honour YA books written in an Indigenous language – Jane van Koeverden reports on a new Canadian literary award that will honour YA books written in an Indigenous language.
Blop Culture: Can piracy save literature? A bestselling author says yes – Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, is a “firm supporter of piracy”, writes Raphael Tsavkko Garcia.
The Atlantic: Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined – George Packer ponders what 1984 means today.
Melville House: BBC Books drops transphobic author from Doctor Who anthology – BBC Books dropped author Gareth Roberts from a forthcoming anthology of writings about Dr. Who after learning he posted transphobic Tweets.
The New York Times: Remembering Tin House, a Literary Haven for ‘Brilliant Weirdos’ – “The magazine, which will publish its final issue this month after 20 years, set out to become a home for underrepresented voices in the literary landscape.”
Fine Books & Collections: Summer 2019 Books about Books Roundup – Rebecca Rego Barry with five recently published books about books.
Lapham’s Quarterly: Turn the Leaves and Use Them Well – Hannah Field discusses the “joys of experiencing Victorian children’s books as physical objects.”
Mashable UK: Welcome to ‘Deep Bookstagram,’ where dark, book-based comedy thrives – Heather Dockray illuminates “Deep Bookstagram,” where “only the bravest” enter.
The Wolfson Literary Prize: ‘Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice’ – Mary Fulbrook has won the 2019 Wolfson Literary Prize with a work that moves through the generations to trace the legacy of Nazi persecution in post-war Germany.
Literary Hub: On the Fine Art of Researching For Fiction – Jake Wolff on “how to write beyond the borders of your experience”.
Independent: Disease, dependence and death: The dark reality behind Jane Austen’s pearlescent prose – “In the first of her new monthly book columns, Ceri Radford explores the shadows between the lines of [Austen’s] work”.
The Millions: Stop Hating on Adjectives! – Lita Kurth speaks up for the adjective.
The Irish Times: Oscar Wilde’s talk inspired his rise and led to his downfall – Wilde was “a compelling conversationalist but it sometimes got him in trouble”, writes Matthew Sturgis.
Interesting Literature: 11 of the Funniest Quotes about Books – “Wise, witty, and, above all, true one-liners about books, from writers, critics, and other notable people down the ages.”
Bustle: 40 New Thrillers Out This Summer That Make The Perfect Vacation Reads – Kristian Wilson with “40 new summer thrillers”.
NPR: Checking Facts In Nonfiction – How fact checking works for non-fiction.
The Atlantic: The Adults Who Treat Reading Like Homework – “No one’s making them try to read 100 books a year”, says Julie Beck.
The Paris Review: The Soviet Tolstoy’s Forgotten Novel – “Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate has been hailed as a twentieth-century War and Peace.”
The Curious Reader: 10 Books By Indian Authors To Look Forward To In June 2019 – “From thought-provoking non-fiction to hard-hitting novels, June has something for everyone.”
London Review of Books: Overcoming Gutenberg – Erica Eisen on the Samizdat collection in London.
Publishers Weekly: How Has the Internet Changed Book Culture? – A discussion with some of the internet’s most influential young books personalities.
Alma: ‘Sophie’s Choice’ is the Perfect Summer Read. Hear Me Out. – Emma Copley Eisenberg thinks Sophie’s Choice is the perfect summer read.
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.