An end of week recap
A shortened digest comes to you this weekend. It is also a day late, for which I apologise. I have enjoyed a restful week sailing to France with my partner and friends via Dublin, the Scillies and the Channel Islands and now intend to crack on with various reading projects. I also hope to post something about the more literary aspects of my trip over the next few days.
As ever, 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.
* Lit Crit Blogflash *
I’m going to share with you three 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:
Astonishing guide breathes new life into Welsh literature – Karen at BookerTalk describes The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature, edited by Geraint Evans and Helen Fulton, as “a breathtakingly ambitious undertaking” and “the first truly comprehensive guide to the literary traditions and heritage of Wales.”
A Well-Read Woman by Kate Stewart – “Librarians will enjoy this biography”, writes Chris Wolak of A Well-Read Woman: The Life, Loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport – a German-American Jew who “served as a librarian in a war zone and at the Library of Congress”.
Killing it in Yorkshire: the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate – “Harrogate is one of the places to go if you are interested in crime fiction”, says Sandra van Lente. She reports on the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival for Literary Field Kaleidoscope.
* 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 my Facebook group page), but in case you missed anything, here are a handful of interesting snippets:
BBC News: Booker Prize 2019: Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale sequel on longlist – Margaret Atwood’s follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale is one of 13 novels on the Booker Prize longlist, despite not being published for several weeks.
The Guardian: Dickens museum buys lost portrait 133 years after it went missing – Mark Brown reveals that a London museum has raised £180,000 to buy a lost Margaret Gillies portrait of the young author found in South African auction.
The New Yorker: The Unlikely History of Faber & Faber – Jonathan Galassi explores the history of British publishing house Faber & Faber.
London Review of Books: My Books – Ian Patterson clears his bookshelves.
Kikkei Asian Review: Found in translation: Thai literature reaches West – “New translators lead contemporary authors out of the global margins”, says Max Crosbie-Jones.
The Paris Review: Crying in the Library – Why old books make Shannon Reed cry.
Public Books: A History of Reading: Alan Marshall and Helen Keller – Public Books and the Sydney Review of Books have partnered to exchange a series of essays with international concerns. [This piece], A History of Reading: Alan Marshall and Helen Keller, by Amanda Tink, was originally published by SRB on May 27, 2019.”
Independent: The top 20 short story collections – Charlotte Cripps selects authors who have “nailed the art of the short story”.
Culture Trip: Turning the Page: The Radical Story of Scotland’s First LGBTQ Bookshop – Stuart Kenny visits Lavender Menace – Scotland’s first LGBTQ bookstore.
Electric Literature: Which Looks Better, Hardcovers or Paperbacks? – “Readers weigh in on 20 pairs of book cover designs”.
Boston Globe: Buzz Aldrin took a tiny book on his historic voyage to the moon. Here’s the backstory – Alyssa Lukpat discovers Buzz Aldrin took a “credit-card-sized” copy of The Autobiography of Robert Hutchings Goddard, Father of the Space Age to the Moon.
The National: The library bus in Afghanistan that is driving change – in pictures – Afghan buses are being used as mobile libraries.
Smithsonian Magazine: A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Life on the Chain Gang – Steven Hoelscher discovers that in 1933 Hughes wrote a “powerful essay about race”, which hadn’t previously been published in English”.
Newsroom: How to open a bookstore in Rotorua, Tokoroa and Whakatāne – In Fraser Newman’s regular series on bookshops around New Zealand, he tells of “opening Atlantis Books in Rotorua and Tokoroa – and having to close in Whakatane.”
Library Journal: Social Readers – April Witteveen investigates “millennials’ avid reading habits”.
Quartzy: One of this year’s Booker Prize nominees is just a 1,000-page-long sentence – Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz is astonished to find Lucy Ellman’s Ducks, Newburyport consists only of a 1,000-page-long sentence.
Architectural Digest: This Tiny Traveling Bookstore Wanders the French Countryside – “Its creator—and resident—brings literature to small towns whose booksellers have shuttered”, writes Emma Jacobs.
Irish Examiner: We Sell Books: ‘In some ways, the pace of life slowed as a result and people turned again to books’ – Des O’Driscoll talks to the owner of the Skibbereen Bookshop in County Cork about his job.
Leadership: Prize Winning German Author Brigitte Kronauer Dies At 78 – Georg Buechner literary prize-winning author Brigitte Kronauer has died following a long illness.
The New York Times: Beware the Writer as Houseguest – Jessica Francis Kane advises caution when inviting a writer to stay in your home.
Literary Hub: 40 Writer’s Writers Whomst Readers Should Read – “But what about all the writer’s writer’s writer’s writer’s?” asks Emily Temple.
ABC News: Miles Franklin Literary Award: A reader’s guide to the 2019 shortlist – Sarah L’Estrange, Claire Nichols and Kate Evans share their thoughts on Australia’s most prestigious literary prize.
Longreads: Reading Lessons – Irina Dumitrescu believes: “You never stop learning how to read — probably because you also never stop forgetting how to read.”
The Guardian: Prose and cons: Boris Johnson’s long history of fictional cameos – The [UK’s] new PM saw literary potential in his career – as did his own father and a string of other writers. So how does he come across?” asks John Dugdale.
The Atlantic: A Book That Examines the Writing Processes of Two Poetry Giants – “William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge once spent a grueling year in nature, subsequently producing some of their most resonant works.”
BBC Culture: Was the poet John Keats a graverobber? – “The English poet originally trained in medicine, where he would have encountered bodysnatchers. Kelly Grovier reveals disquieting clues in odes written 200 years ago.”
Melville House: Five things to know about the Booker longlist – Michael Barron shares a few important details about The Booker Prize 2019.
The Millions: Center for Fiction Names 2019 First Novel Prize Longlist – Here is the 2019 longlist for the Center for Fiction’s 2019 First Novel Prize.
Stylist: Why we need to stop forcing ourselves to finish books we hate – “Guess what?” says Sarah Shaffi. “Nothing bad will happen if you don’t finish a book you don’t like.”
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.
Categories: Winding Up the Week