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 >>
I shared my thoughts on Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, the true story of Chris McCandless, a young man who walked deep into the Alaskan wilderness to seek adventure but never returned >> THOUGHTS ON: Into the Wild >>
* 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:
Being Interesting in America – Marina Sofia of Finding Time to Write “gradually warmed” to The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer’s 2013 novel about “six teenagers who meet at an expensive camp for ‘artistic’ kids”. She would have liked more “satire” but was impressed by the observational “skills of the author”.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – “The way [Ocean Vuong] describes his coming out and his growing up, his ever-progressing awareness of self, his first love and loss, moves beyond courageous”, writes Adam at Roof Beam Reader.
The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective, by Susannah Stapleton – “This rather marvelous book is a mashup of biography [and] social history,” says Eleanor Franzen of Elle Thinks. She found it both “engaging” and “intellectually stimulating”.
Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain (France) tr. Jane Aitken, Emily Boyce – Over at Word by Word, Claire McAlpine has found a “satisfying light read full of laughs”, set in 1950s Paris. The verdict: it was “far-fetched” but “uplifting” with “fun characters”.
The most beautiful and most brittle of all human things – In Frances Burney’s 1778 novel, Evelina, Juliana Brina of The [Blank] Garden “particularly enjoyed the darkly humorous way the book explored the deep contrast between what was socially expected of men and women in eighteenth-century England”.
book review: Country by Michael Hughes – “Country is the most literal Iliad retelling [Rachel of pace, amore, libri has] ever read,” although it was “worlds away from Ancient Greece.”
* 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: Torn apart: the vicious war over young adult books – “Authors who write about marginalised communities are facing abuse, boycotts and even death threats. What is cancel culture doing to young adult fiction?”, asks Leo Benedictus.
The Irish Times: This Bloomsday, why not rub a bit of sacred against a spot of profane? – “Accidental Joycean Simon O’Connor prepares to open the Museum of Literature”.
Literary Hub: “Perhaps We’re Being Dense.” Rejection Letters Sent to Famous Writers – “Some kind, some weird, some unbelievably harsh”, says Emily Temple.
The Atlantic: The Books Briefing: Social Media for Bibliophiles – “Social media is probably not the first medium most bibliophiles think of when they consider their favorite ways to read literature”, writes J. Clara Chan.
New Statesman: NS Recommends: New books from John Browne, Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Kate Atkinson – “Browne’s Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilisation, Hughes-Hallet’s Fabulous, and Atkinson’s Big Sky.”
Brain Pickings: Keats on Depression and the Mightiest Consolation for a Heavy Heart – “Before Styron, even before Van Gogh, the great Romantic poet John Keats […] painted an uncommonly lifelike portrait of the malady throughout his Selected Letters”, writes Maria Popova.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Recession fears spell end for revered bookshop – Pages & Pages Booksellers in Mosman, Australia, is up for sale but will close for good if no buyer is found by 30th August.
BBC News: Narnia creator CS Lewis’s letters to children go on sale – “A collection of letters sent to children by CS Lewis have gone on sale.”
Crime Reads: Noir Tropes Are Alive and Well—And Powerful as Ever – Kelsey Rae Dimberg looks at “how today’s writers explore and complicate the noir classics”.
NHK World: Japan and China, bound by books – Japanese used bookstores have become a popular source for classical Chinese works.
Literary Hub: Elizabeth Acevedo Wins the 2019 Carnegie Medal – “The author of The Poet X becomes the first writer of colour to win the UK’s most prestigious children’s book award”.
Publishers Weekly: Online Lit Mag for Translation Launches – A new e-zine from the European Council of Literary Translators Associations has launched in English and French.
The Paris Review: What It Is to Wake Up – Having marinated in the world of men for nearly two decades, Carmen Maria Machado revisits The Awakening and feels the depth of Edna’s suffering.
Bustle: 7 Stats About Diversity In Book Publishing That Reveal The Magnitude Of The Problem – Kerri Jarema has rounded up seven statistics showing how much more work needs to be done on diversity in book publishing.
Vintage: Where to start reading Vita Sackville-West – Penguin recommends a few favourites by Sackville-West.
BBC Culture: The man who created our vision of space – “As a scientist, many of Arthur C Clarke’s predictions for the future came true. But his wildly imaginative science-fiction writing is his greatest legacy.”
Book Riot: 11 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Book Blogging – Danika Ellis offers a list of pointers suggesting ways in which you can make book blogging easier.
BuzzFeed: Kathleen Hale Came For Her Goodreads Critic. Then The Internet Came For Her – Scaachi Koul finds that five years ago, “Kathleen Hale wrote an essay for the Guardian — about targeting a Goodreads reviewer — that nearly ended her career.”
CBC: New Green Gables interpretive centre puts focus on L.M. Montgomery – Nancy Russell with news of “a new interpretive centre at Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish”.
The Curious Reader: Why You Should Read Literature From Around The World – Devanshi Jain explains why she thinks we should read internationally.
It’s Nice That: Penguin Random House UK’s 2019 Student Design Award winners have been revealed – Josh Baines reveals “the trio of students who’ve got their hands on the highly-coveted and ever-prestigious student design awards.”
Lit Reactor: 13 Books That Wouldn’t Be Published Today – Peter Derk wonders which well-known books might not make it in 2019?
Litro: When fast didn’t matter: the Lausanne Typewriter Museum – D.B. Miller visits Switzerland’s Musée de la machine à écrire.
Mental Floss: The Tree That Inspired Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax Has Fallen Over – Michele Debczak laments the loss of a particular Monterey cypress – a tree that inspired The Lorax.
The Millions: I’m Going to Keep Writing: At 91, Lore Segal Is Still Going Strong – Hannah Gersen speaks to Lore Segal about her career, literary influences and her latest book, The Journal I Did Not Keep.
The Moscow Times: ‘Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy’ Wins Pushkin House Prize –Serhii Plokhy becomes the first author to win two Pushkin House awards.
The New Yorker: Where Are All the Books About Menopause? – “For women, aging is framed as a series of losses—of fertility, of sexuality, of beauty. But it can be a liberation, too”, says Sarah Manguso.
Read It Forward: Why Books Are Worth Your Money – According to Jessica Mizzi, a “broke twenty-something-year-old girl living in New York City.”
Spine: A Look at International Editions – “When a book originally written in English is translated for a new audience it often requires a new cover to go with it”, finds Holly Dunn.
Times of India: Reading with focus engages your brain differently – A study has looked at how different types of reading affects the brain.
Washington Examiner: How to end a book ban, according to the lawyer who got Harry Potter back on school shelves – Madeline Fry discovers how to end a book ban.
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.