An end of week recap
Slightly shorter than usual and a little late in the day, nevertheless, today I wind up the week from a sunny but blustery Mid Wales, where I am enjoying a few days by the sea with my partner, a few friends and four dogs.
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.
PAUSE FOR A POD >>
* Lie Back and Listen *
Here I recommend engaging podcasts I’ve come across during the week. Hopefully you too will enjoy them.
Since I’m in a Moomin frame of mind at present, I would like to take you back to a programme that aired last March on the BBC World Service, exploring the life and work of Tove Jansson. >> The Forum: Moomin creator Tove Jansson >>
* Tove Trove Bulletin *
A brief update on the Tove Jansson project: Ola G from Re-enchantment Of The World has posted a superb piece which examines in detail each of the eight Moomin novels. Whether you are a fellow Moominite or would simply like to know more about the series, it is well worth reading. >> Read TOVE TROVE: Moomins >>
* 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:
Mrs Gaskell and Me by Nell Stevens: A little light relief – Although Susan Osborne of A life in books may “not have picked this book up without the Gaskell hook”, she “raced through […] Stevens’ account of her doctoral research into Mrs Gaskell’s correspondence with a young man” and found it most “appealing”.
Book review – Verily Anderson – “Spam Tomorrow” – Liz Dexter at Adventures in reading, running and working from home has been enjoying a “mid-century wonder” from Dean Street Press. She declares it: “Hugely atmospheric, delightful and impossible to put down”.
I’ve Changed My Mind… – Lauren Pegler talks about “re-evaluating books” at Bookish Byron. She marvels at the way “a little bit of reflection, or perhaps educating yourself on the context of a novel, can really change your mind…”.
‘A Constant Hum’ by Alice Bishop – Kim Forrester at Reading Matters found Bishop’s short story collection, “the literary equivalent of a concept album” and “the most quintessentially Australian book [she’s] ever read.” Focusing on the aftermath of the “Black Saturday bushfires of 2009”, Kim warns potential readers not to rush this book but to “savour, […] cogitate on [and] mull over.”
The joys of having an academic library card and other postgraduate musings – Elizabeth Jane Corbett has “an academic library card” and she’s “been reserving items with gay abandon”.
Decoding the Bayeux Tapestry by Arthur C. Wright – “This new book […] attempts to interpret [the] often-overlooked images” that appear in the margins of the Bayeux Tapestry, says Helen at She Reads Novels. Although she felt there was perhaps a surplus of detail, which “would only really be of interest to an academic reader”, she was “pleased to have had the opportunity to learn” more on the subject.
* 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:
The New York Times: Where Libraries are the Tourist Attractions – Alyson Krueger discovers, “dozens [of libraries] have opened across the world, resembling nothing like the book-depot versions from the past.”
Public Books: In the Moment, On the Edge – “What was literary impressionism?” asks Sarah Cole. She attempts to answer this question in a fascinating piece on impressionist writers.
The Guardian: Robert Macfarlane finally wins Wainwright nature writing prize – “Underland was the author’s fourth work to be shortlisted, and judges decided unanimously that the ‘claustrophobic thriller of sorts’ was his best”, says Alison Flood.
Literary Review: Biographer’s Luck – D J Taylor stumbles across an Aladdin’s cave of literary memorabilia.
NPR: A Novel Concept: Silent Book Clubs Offer Introverts A Space To Socialize – When the bell rings, it’s reading time. Josh Axelrod finds there are over 70 chapters around the world permitting members to read whatever they like, but in silence.
Writing.ie: Bookselling Ireland announce Introduction to Bookselling Course – Bookselling Ireland have announced their first Introduction to Bookselling course, which enables potential new booksellers to find out “more about day-to-day bookshop life”, reports ER Murray.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Impassioned refugee tale wins national biography prize – Manus inmate Behrouz Boochani used WhatsApp to accept his fourth literary award for a book he wrote via a series of text messages.
Mexico News Daily: Library in the clouds: retired aircraft put to use in Michoacán – A retired Boeing 727 has been turned into a library.
Jewish Book Council: The Italianist: An Interview with Ann Goldstein on Translating Primo Levi’s Work – Merrill Leffler speaks to Ann Goldstein about “the monumental task of translating Primo Levi’s vast body of work”.
Booksellers NZ: The Coalition for Books: a dynamic new organisation for New Zealand literature announced – Booksellers in New Zealand have become part of Coalition for Books, a new organization created to promote literature.
Bustle: How We Need Diverse Books Changed The Literary World, According To 15 Publishing Pros – Kerri Jarema solicits the views of 15 literary peeps about the importance of diverse books.
Australian Book Review: ‘Long Live the Bookshop’ by Robbie Egan – Bookshops “have always needed saving”, says Robbie Egan. “Not from themselves […] but from hearsay or conventional narrative.”
Artsnet: How Artist Kara Walker and the New Yorker Teamed Up to Pull Off a Poignant Cover Honoring Toni Morrison in Less Than 24 Hours – Sarah Cascone is impressed to discover that the artist Kara Walker created Quiet as It’s Kept, the cover of the New Yorker paying tribute to Toni Morrison, within a dauntingly tight deadline.
Publishers Weekly: Just Biology? PW Talks with Jeanette Winterson – “Gender theory meets AI-assisted immortality meets a sex bot named Claire in Winterson’s Frankissstein, her hilarious, brilliant retelling of Frankenstein.”
BBC News: JD Salinger: novels finally to be published as ebooks – “The works of The Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger are finally being published in ebook format, nearly 10 years after his death.”
The New Yorker: The Hidden Life of a Forgotten Sixteenth-Century Female Poet – “The Calvinist Anne Lock was the first English poet to publish a sonnet cycle—more than thirty years before Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella”, writes Jamie Quatro.
Toronto Star: Ingrid Paulson found the designs of classic books boring, so she started publishing them herself – Deborah Dundas speaks to the founder of Gladstone Press.
Crime Reads: 7 Great Mysteries about Rare Books and Bibliophiles – As Marlowe Benn discovers, “history abounds with tales of obsessive bibliophilic greed, betrayal, theft, blackmail, fraud, assault, and murder.”
The Atlantic: The Hazards of Writing While Female – A reviewer recently described Sally Rooney as “a startled deer with sensuous lips.” Helen Lewis believes this “demonstrates that women writers still struggle to be taken seriously.”
The Irish Times: A 10-step guide to being an Irish writer – “Emigrating, swearing and competitiveness are among author Rosemary Jenkinson’s tips”.
The Japan Times: How Japan’s modern literature came under Nietzsche’s spell – To truly understand some of 20th-century Japan’s most iconic literary works, you must go back to ancient Greek tragedy and the “Dionysian” philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.
Literary Hub: Roy Jacobsen on the Backbone of Nordic Literature: the Sagas of Iceland – Roy Jacobsen on “some of Europe’s most enduring, complex literary works”.
The Times Literary Supplement: Twenty Questions with Sinéad Gleeson – “Angela Carter’s name is tattooed on the bloody chamber of my feminist heart”, says Sinéad Gleeson, author of Constellations: Reflections from life.
New Statesman: The enduring relevance of George Orwell’s 1984 – “Dorian Lynskey’s The Ministry of Truth manages, against all odds, to find many original points to make about the dystopian classic”, finds Jeffrey Wasserstrom.
The New York Times Magazine: We asked 16 writers to bring consequential moments in African-American history to life. Here are their poems and stories. – The NYT has brought together a selection of poets and writers in order to compile a literary timeline of Afro-American history.
School Library Journal: North Carolina Organization Runs Literacy-Based Anti-Racism Camp for Kids, Professional Development for Educators – Ronda Taylor Bullock tells Kara Yorio: “The nonprofit, we are, works with children, families, and educators with a goal of dismantling systemic racism in schools and beyond.”
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