An end of week recap
I’m making the most of my final few days in Northern Cyprus before returning to the UK on Monday (the early hours of Tuesday to be strictly accurate). My partner starts an intense cycle of radiotherapy on Wednesday, so my posts may be sporadic for a little longer. I will, however, do my utmost to catch up with a now substantial backlog of books to be read and reviewed.
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.
* German Literature Month IX *
“2019 is a significant year in terms of German history, both actual and literary”, says Lizzy Siddal of Lizzy’s Literary Life. She and Caroline at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat are once again hosting German Literature Month throughout November and they have planned an exciting reading schedule ranging from a DDR week to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall to a readalong in memory of the founding of the Weimar Republic. If you would like to join them, please trot over to Announcing German Literature Month IX for full details.
* Lit Crit Blogflash *
I’m going to share with you four 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 Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier – Sandra from A Corner of Cornwall has “read all of Tracy Chevalier’s earlier” works but “gradually lost touch with her later books”. She wasn’t disappointed in the author’s recently released historical novel, describing it as “a charming read.”
An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde – Deb Baker at Bookconscious loves “the understated”, and having now read Wilde’s famous play of 1893, is “interested in reading more” of his works.
Watermark by Christy Ann Conlin – Over at Consumed by Ink, Naomi MacKinnon appraises Conlin’s first short story collection, which was published last month. She was impressed by the author’s “inclination to write about ‘home’” – especially when home is the Annapolis Valley, which she finds a “perfect setting for dark pasts, tragedy, ghosts, and secrets”.
Review: Sulphuric Acid by Amélie Nothomb – The author’s “factual and ‘economical’ writing suits her story well”, says Diana at Thoughts on Papyrus of this 2005 “dystopian novella”. In addition, she finds it a “thought-provoking” and “unsettling” story, which “sends out a powerful warning”.
* 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:
Penguin Features: Margaret Atwood on the real-life events that inspired The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments – “During a trip to her archives in Canada, the author reveals which historical events shaped the world we now know as Gilead.”
The Guardian: Henrietta Garnett obituary – James Beechey looks back at the life and work of Henrietta Garnett, a writer and biographer “born into a Bloomsbury group family who found an escape from her often turbulent life in her work”.
The Atlantic: Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers – Much depends on “how parents present the activity to their kids”, says Joe Pinsker.
CTV Vancouver Island: Victoria book shop to stack Guinness World Records books in world record attempt – Todd Harmer finds that Russell Books in Victoria is intending to “make it into the Guinness World Records by building the tallest tower of Guinness World Records books.”
The Irish Times: First look inside the new Museum of Literature Ireland – “MoLI in Newman House, Dublin opens this month featuring Joyce’s notebooks and more”.
The Paris Review: The Joys of the Italian Short Story – Jhumpa Lahiri believes that only “works in translation can broaden the literary horizon, open doors, break down the wall.”
Daily Press: Books as more than fonts of information or fun – “Book lovers have long been beset by predictions that technology would kill off the printed volume, and they’ve gamely pointed out the failure of these forecasts to materialize”, writes David Silverberg.
Publishers Weekly: Level the Playing Field for Books in Translation – “A Slovenian publisher says withholding a manuscript for translation is bad business”, finds Andrej Ilc.
Ms.: Feminist Books, Podcasts and Movies to Look Forward To This Fall – Pat Mitchell with “the books (and movies and podcasts) that [she’s] excited about reading, watching and listening to this fall.”
The Bookseller: Blessed be the booksellers – Philip Jones reflects on the success of indie booksellers in Britain.
BuzzFeed: 18 Books From Smaller Publishers That Deserve Your Attention – “Whether you pick up a gripping thriller or a moving memoir, there are plenty of ways to support small presses this autumn”, says Wendy J. Fox.
Vogue: 10 Great Novels About Complicated Female Friendships – Emma Specter with a list of novels that “unpack the frequently loaded concept of ‘female bonding.’”
Literary Hub: On the Reclamation of Australian Aboriginal and Native American Identity – Reading Women Discuss Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise and [Anita Heiss’s] Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia”.
Longreads: McDreamy, McSteamy, and McConnell – Jason Raish finds: “Congressional fan fiction is real, it’s glorious, and it might be reshaping our political world.”
The New York Times: A Rebel French Poet Draws New Followers to the Hometown He Hated – Norimitsu Onishi discovers Rimbaud tourism has become a cottage industry in the poet’s hometown of Charleville-Mézières.
Intelligencer: Among the Moderate Chic at Bari Weiss’s Book Party – “The embattled Establishment gathers to celebrate the Times op-ed columnist’s book on anti-Semitism”, says Boris Kachka.
English Heritage: CARTER, Angela (1940-1992) – Last week, Angela Carter was commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque at her South London home in Clapham, where she lived for 16 years. She is widely remembered for writing The Bloody Chamber, Nights at the Circus and Wise Children.
National Post: John Fraser: Graeme Gibson was more than the husband of a globally acclaimed author – “Graeme Gibson, who has died at age 84, relished his partner Margaret Atwood’s successes but never let it diminish his own integrity”.
The Observer: Jailed Turkish writer Ahmet Altan: My words cannot be imprisoned – “Newly nominated for a Baillie Gifford literary prize, [Mark Seacombe finds] the political prisoner has written a novel from behind bars”.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Molly the pig set for another adventure after Australian Reading Hour push – “Who could have guessed that a pet pig with a penchant for Weet-Bix would become a totem for children’s reading?”
Independent: Kamila Shamsie: Author stripped of book award over support for Israel boycott – Ellie Harrison reports that the writer described the withdrawal of the Nelly Sachs book prize as “a matter of outrage”.
The Washington Post: Where do you read books? I read at the mall. – Mark Athitakis finds the ideal place to read a book is “among the pretzel purveyors and sports-fan shops” of his local shopping mall.
Electric Literature: An Agent Explains the Ins and Outs of Book Deals – “How do advances work? When do you get royalties? How long until you can quit your job? [ Kate McKean] demystifies the money part of writing”.
IOL: Bibliophiles will delight in London’s assortment of bookstores – Michael Hingston focuses on a few of London’s unique and specialist stores for booklovers.
France 24: Rebonjour Sagan: ‘Lost’ novel causes literary stir in France – “A ‘lost’ novel by author Francoise Sagan was published Thursday in France’s biggest literary surprise so far this year.”
The Bookseller: Eloise Williams selected as inaugural Children’s Laureate Wales – Katy Docherty on the naming of Eloise Williams, author of Gaslight (Firefly), as the first-ever Children’s Laureate Wales.
The New Yorker: Publishing a Book, by the Numbers – Michelle Rial with an amusing feature on the publishing process – using pie charts to make her points.
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