An end of week recap
Thank you so much for all your thoughtful words and good wishes following last Saturday’s WUTW. I apologise for not replying to everybody individually – as you know I have just returned from a refreshing break in Northern Cyprus and thereafter hit the ground running, so to speak (not, thankfully, in the manner of The Flintstones), on my return to the UK. I can report that D is doing well with her radiotherapy and is extremely grateful for your kind concern.
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.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
I shared a few thoughts on The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which begins fifteen years after Offred makes her final appearance in the original novel. >> THOUGHTS ON: The Testaments >>
PAUSE FOR A POD >>
* Lie Back and Listen *
Here I recommend engaging podcasts and other digital recordings I’ve come across during the week. Hopefully you too will enjoy them.
Since I’ve written about The Testaments this week, I would like to point you in the direction of BBC Radio 4’s serialized adaption of Margaret Atwood’s new novel. Although I haven’t so far had an opportunity to tune in myself, I am reliably informed (by my mum and several others) that it’s “very good”. >> The Testaments – BBC Radio 4 >>
* The 1930 Club *
My memory was jogged this morning by a post from Karen Langley at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings (just in the nick of time to make it into WUTW #88, as it happens), alerting the book blogging community to her regular six-monthly reading Club (in this instance, the 1930 Club), which she co-hosts with Simon Thomas from Stuck in a Book. All are invited to read, discuss and write about books published in 1930 – then share the experience with others taking part. The event will run from 14th-20th October 2019 and is expected to be as much fun as usual. For further details please see Looking ahead – to the past? ;D #1930Club.
* Nonfiction November 2019 *
I was delighted to see Rennie Sweeney’s recent post: Nonfiction November is Coming! Once again, she will co-host the event along with “Katie (Doing Dewey), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Leann (Shelf Aware), and Julie (JulzReads)” from 28th October to 30th November. Every Monday, she says, “a link-up for the week’s topic will be posted at the host’s blog for you to link your posts throughout the week.” I enjoyed taking part last year and hope to do so again in a limited way – perhaps by reading and reviewing a non-fiction title. If you would like to know more, please mosey on over to What’s Nonfiction? for the latest information.
* 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:
Meet The Translator: Gwen Davies – Over at Lizzy’s Literary Life, Lizzy Siddal speaks to “Gwen Davies, the translator of Caryl Lewis’s Welsh novel, The Jeweller”, about her work as a translator.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – fantasy in an historical context – Joules Barham of Northern Reader recommends Harrow’s debut novel, which she describes as “an immensely readable book”, for “those who enjoy fantasy based in a world like ours”.
Extract from Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines by Henrietta Heald – Nicola Smith from Short Book and Scribes is taking part in the Random Things Tours’ blog tour to promote Henrietta Heald’s newly published history of the trailblazing Women’s Engineering Society. She posts an excerpt from a book she describes as “fascinating”.
The Book Lucy Ellmann wrote before Ducks, Newburyport – Mimi “is one of the quirkiest novels [Annabel Gaskell of AnnaBookBel has] read for ages.” She says this 2013 “love story” is “witty, argumentative, lyrical” and made her “very keen to read” Ellmann’s Booker shortlisted “doorstop”.
Blitz Writing by Inez Holden – Jacqui of JacquiWine’s Journal describes Blitz Writing: Night Shift & It Was Different At The Time by the “British author and bohemian socialite”, Inez Holden as “insightful, vivid, humorous and poignant”.
Desperation Drives Ageing Woman To Seek Refuge [book review] – Nagasaki by Eric Faye is, according to Karen at BookerTalk, “a reflective narrative about loneliness and the way in which people can just drop unnoticed through chinks in society.” She concludes “overall” it was an “excellent story which makes you think about your own future in old age”.
* 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 Guardian: The 100 best books of the 21st century – “Dazzling debut novels, searing polemics, the history of humanity and trailblazing memoirs … Read [The Guardian’s] pick of the best books since 2000”.
The Atlantic: Nature Writing That Sees Possibility in Climate Change – “A pair of authors tries to maintain optimism about the world’s changing landscapes—but at what cost?” wonders Jake Cline.
CBC: Atwood at 80 – Margaret Atwood turns 80 on 18th November. To celebrate, CBC Books is taking “a look back at all things Atwood.”
BBC Culture: The cult books that lost their cool – “From the self-indulgent to the tiresomely macho, Hephzibah Anderson chooses her picks of previously hip books that have not aged well.”
The Irish Times: A literary festival in a shopping centre – Fiona Gartland finds the Donaghmede Literary Festival “grew out of a campaign to save the local library.”
The Curious Reader: 12 Non-Fiction Books By Indian Authors Releasing In October 2019 – A variety of subjects to explore in non-fiction books by Indian authors which are due for publication next month.
Publishers Weekly: Canadian Publishers Showcase the Nation’s Diversity – Ed Nawotka examines in detail the Canadian publishing industry.
The Bookseller: The power of the printed word – According to Stuart Rising, new research has revealed “three quarters of UK consumers favour printed books over digital content for recreational reading.”
The Observer: The Cockroach – An extract from Ian McEwan’s Brexit-inspired novella – “In the novelist’s satirical reworking of Kafka’s classic story, an insect wakes up to discover to its horror that it has turned into the prime minister…”
Melville House: The National Book Awards announced their longlists of nominees – Stephanie DeLuca shares the full 2019 National Book Foundation award longlist.
London Evening Standard: It’s Handmania — find your Atwood Instagram brag tribe – “From the spammer to the smuggerati, here’s how Margaret Atwood’s new novel ‘The Testaments’ is dividing Instagram”, says Phoebe Luckhurst.
ABC News: Children’s books are tackling dark and taboo topics. Morris Gleitzman says that’s nothing to be afraid of – Anna Kelsey-Sugg reveals that Australian author, Morris Gleitzman believes adults shouldn’t censor controversial kids’ books.
ArabLit: 12 Reads: Looking for the Great Arabic Cat Story – Mlynxqualey shares the first selection from her ongoing hunt for “Arabic cat stories, cat tales, cat anecdotes, cat poetry, The Great Cairo Cat Novel and other feline literary productions”.
Public Books: Public Thinker: Leah Price on Books, Book Tech, and Book Tattoos – “Thinking in public demands knowledge, eloquence, and courage. In this interview [Merve Emre hears] from [Leah Price about how she] found [her] path and how [she communicates] to a wide audience.”
Smithsonian: Exploring Roald Dahl’s Wondrous Wales – Jennifer Nalewicki encourages Dahl readers to “follow in the footsteps of the beloved children’s book author by visiting these four locales in the United Kingdom”.
Book Riot: What Algorithms Can (and Can’t) Tell Us About Gender and Literature – M. Lynx Qualey looks at recent studies examining gender bias in literature.
The Guardian: Thea Astley’s writing was convoluted and obtuse – and it made me fall in love with words – “I grew up in a household more interested in betting than books, but the woman who won four Miles Franklin awards captured my heart”, writes Toni Jordan.
Longreads: Grandiose and Claustrophobic: ‘Prozac Nation’ Turns 25 – “Elizabeth Wurtzel’s bestseller is deeply rooted in a specific, Gen-X cultural moment. Can it still speak to us in 2019?” asks Anne Thériault.
Open Culture: A New Kurt Vonnegut Museum Opens in Indianapolis … Right in Time for Banned Books Week – A newly permanent Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library has opened in Kurt Vonnegut’s hometown.
Penguin: 50 great short stories everyone should read – Indira Birnie and Sam Parker recommend fifty ground-breaking short stories (both classic and modern) they believe “deserve to be liked and shared by all.”
American Libraries Magazine: Tiny but Mighty – Macey Snelson discovers a “320-square-foot library [in Meridian, Idaho] is having a big impact on early literacy”.
Book Riot: How To Save A Wet Book – Anna Gooding-Call shares some handy tips on saving a soggy book.
People: The London Home that Inspired Peter Pan is Up for Sale for $10.5 Million — See Inside! – “The historic house includes a small balcony where Barrie envisioned the Darling children taking flight”, says Phil Boucher.
Los Angeles Review of Books: What’s Love Got to Do with It? On “Pride and Prejudice” and “Fanny Hill” – Emily Janakiram rethinks our romantic attachments to the “love stories” of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
NZ Herald: Top award for Kidman’s crime novel – “Writer Dame Fiona Kidman has won the best novel prize at this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards for New Zealand crime writing.”
The Oprah Magazine: The Complete List of All 80 Books in Oprah’s Book Club – Jonathan Borge and Brandi Long Frank share “22 years of celebrated titles.”
Radio Free Europe: Belarusian Nobel Laureate Says HBO Series Has ‘Completely Changed Perception’ Of Chernobyl – “Svetlana Alexievich rolled her eyes when the creators of Chernobyl approached her for permission to use material from her book Voices From Chernobyl for the hit HBO miniseries” – but she was impressed with the finished result.
BookTrust: Sophie Anderson: The power of telling stories from memory or imagination (or a bit of both) – “Author Sophie Anderson talks about the magic of oral storytelling and how we are all natural born storytellers.”
Slate: Why Aren’t Female Celebrities Writing More Novels? – “If Sean Penn and James Franco can do it, why not Reese Witherspoon or Constance Wu?” asks Katy Hershberger.
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