An end of week recap
WUTW is a little light on book blogging content this weekend but thankfully not late. D has completed her second week of radiotherapy – four more sessions left and it’s all over. I’ll see you on the other side!
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 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:
The Secret Life of Books – Tom Mole (2019) – Over at Heavenali, Ali Hope was delighted to discover the author “understands the physical relationship we have with our books” and found his recently published title contains a wealth of “fascinating little nuggets of information with lots of historical facts”.
Soviet Spotlight: Where the Jews Aren’t by Masha Gessen – Mark Curnell from Maphead’s Book Blog declares Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region, a “great book for people like [himself] who love reading about those quirky and forgotten parts of history.”
Éric Mathieu, The Little Fox of Mayerville – Simon Lavery from Tredynas Days found himself “engaged” by the protagonist in “this “magical realist bildungsroman”. He did, however, feel the narrative “[lost] its way a little towards the end”.
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper – Helen at She Reads Novels says this second book in Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ series, which was first published in 1973, is “genuinely creepy” but wishes she had “saved it until December as it would have been a perfect Christmas read.”
Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, A Study in Emerald (2018) – Ola G of Re-enchantment Of The World “really enjoyed this absolutely crazy tale” – describing it as a “cheeky and heartfelt tribute to both Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft”.
Shadow Giller: Michael Crummey’s The Innocents (2019) – “There is a lot to admire” in this “uncomfortably intimate” Newfoundland survival novel, says Marcie from Buried in Print. “It’s a hard story to swallow,” she concludes, because “rooted in hard truths.”
* 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:
Lambada Literary: ‘People in Trouble’ at Thirty: On Realism, Trump, and the AIDS Cataclysm – “Thirty years after its completion, [Sarah Schulman’s] novel People in Trouble has taken on resonance far beyond [her] original passions and intention.”
NPR: Nobel Prizes In Literature Go To Olga Tokarczuk And Peter Handke – Congratulations to both of this year’s Nobel Prize winners in Literature.
Georgia Today: UNESCO Names Tbilisi World Book Capital 2021 – The Director-General of UNESCO named Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia) World Book Capital for the year 2021, following a recommendation by the World Book Capital Advisory Committee.
Australian Book Review: Favourite Australian Novels of the twenty-first century – “Ten years after the first ABR FAN Poll, the second one was limited to Australian novels published since 2000”.
Book Riot: How To Search Books By Color – Librarian, Anna Gooding-Call, explains how to search for books by colour.
BBC News: Wigtown book festival ‘beats all expectations’ – “Organisers have hailed another “superb year” for the Wigtown Book Festival which ended [last] weekend.”
Crime Reads: Stephen King Is Quietly Enthralled By “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” – Brenna Ehrlich on the “poem that seems to hold a secret to the Stephen King multiverse”.
Brain Pickings: The Great Czech Playwright Turned Dissident Turned President Václav Havel on Hope – Havel composed “an anti-communist manifesto in response to the imprisonment of the Czech psychedelic rock band The Plastic People of the Universe” and was imprisoned “multiple times for upholding his ideals of justice and humanism”, writes Maria Popova.
Dangerous Minds: When William S. Burroughs met Francis Bacon: Uncut – “When William Burroughs met Francis Bacon a lot of tea was drunk, cigarettes smoked, a few secrets shared but very little was revealed about the two men.”
Haaretz: Destroying Books and Jailing Dissidents: Erdogan’s Cultural Purge Is in Full Swing – “Since 2016, more than 300,000 books have reportedly been confiscated in Turkey, including textbooks banned for mentioning Pennsylvania, where Erdogan rival Fethullah Gulen is exiled”.
The Conversation: Jane Eyre translated: 57 languages show how different cultures interpret Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel – Jane Eyre has been “translated into at least 57 languages, at least 593 times” and is “continually putting down roots in different cultures”, says Matthew Reynolds.
JSTOR Daily: Who Decides Which Books Are “Great?” – The concept of ‘Great Books,’ the historian Tim Lacy explains, developed in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to foster a ‘democratic culture.’”
Shondaland: Black British Authors Are Finally Getting Their Due – In honour of British Black History Month, Christabel Nsiah-Buadihere suggests five books “to add to your must-read list.”
The Washington Post: A favorite of J.K. Rowling, Edith Nesbit was a pioneer of children’s books and so much more – Michael Dirda finds, Nesbit led “a tumultuous, often soap-operatic life.”
Booknet Canada: 5 questions with Michelle Berry – Five questions are posed to the owner-operator of Hunter Street Books in Peterborough, Ontario.
The Moscow Times: ‘Godless Utopia: The Anti-Religious Campaign in Russia’ – “Author Roland Elliot Brown on the fight against the ‘opium of the people.’”
The Japan Times: ‘Japanese Ghost Stories’: The ghostly ascent of Lafcadio Hearn’s tales of the supernatural – “Hearn filtered Japanese ghostly originals through the prism of his own expansive imagination and traumatized experience to create works that were distinctly, and chillingly, his own”, writes Damian Flanagan.
The New York Times: Ciaran Carson, Versatile Belfast Poet, Is Dead at 70 – “In his poetry, as well as in his prose,” writes Neil Genzlinger, “he conveyed the complexities of his city and his country.”
Literary Hub: On Patrick White, Australia’s Great Unread Novelist – Madeleine Watts discovers Patrick White became a literary icon but he was aware people rarely read his work.
RFI: Literary renaissance grips Mosul in Iraq – “Literature and poetry are regaining ground in the Iraqi city of Mosul two years after its brutal occupation by the Islamic State armed group that branded artists as criminals”, writes Rosie Collyer.
The Irish Times: The world of literature and the world of literacy are very far removed from each other – “Cat Hogan on the challenge and the thrill of programming Waterford Writers Weekend”.
Publishers Weekly: 20 Years of NYRB Classics – Series’ editor, Edwin Frank, reflects on the origins and objectives of NYRB Classics.
DW: Siegfried Lenz’s classic novel ‘The German Lesson’ turned into film – “It was one of the great literary successes of German postwar literature: Deutschstunde was translated into 20 languages. Now adapted into a film, it remains as relevant as ever.”
Fine Books & Collections: Collecting Paperbacks from Hell – Rebecca Baumann looks at how horror authors bewitched collectors.
Granta: How to Take a Literary Selfie – Sylvie Weil explains what it means to write a literary selfie.
The Onion: U.N. Report On Magical Realism Warns Of Increased Incidences Of Women’s Tears Flooding The Entire World – “In addition to flooding caused by a grieving young widow, the U.N. warns the world’s air could forever smell of gardenias, the very flowers worn in her hair on her wedding day.”
Kyodo News: Missing part of oldest “Tale of Genji” manuscript discovered – According to experts, a missing part of the oldest copy of classic Japanese novel The Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu, has been discovered among the heirlooms of the family of a former feudal lord.
Nederlands Letterenfond: Launch of ‘New Dutch Writing’ campaign – Bas Pauw reports that under the title ‘New Dutch Writing’, “Dutch literature will be presented at more than seventy festivals and events in the United Kingdom and Ireland from October onwards.”
The Walrus: The Return of Political Fiction – André Forget looks at the new generation of Canadian writers turning politics into art
The Calvert Journal: Poland’s rising star of fiction conjures a consumerist dystopia that will make you laugh and cry – “Dorota Masłowska’s Honey, I Killed the Cats doesn’t read like a novel, but rather a sequence of tabs on an internet browser, each one a minor digression into a deeper chaos”, writes Matt Janney.
AP News: Controversy stalks Nobel Peace, Literature prizes – “Why?” asks Mark Lewis, does “[controversy stalk] the Nobel prizes for peace and literature in a way it rarely does for science?”
Gizmodo: Dive Into October’s Harvest of New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books – Cheryl Eddy has plenty of “fantastical, spooky, and spaced-out” reading suggestions for October.
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