An end of week recap
I should like to wish all those taking part in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon this weekend an absorbing, rewarding, not too fatiguing event. And for those of you indulging in unearthly shenanigans on All Hallows’ Eve, may your horrors be Gothic and your chillers out of this world.
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 and other digital recordings I’ve come across during the week. Hopefully you too will enjoy them.
This week I am going to point you in the direction of an episode of Chiltern Radio’s Booktime Brunch, in which our fellow blogger, Eleanor Franzen of Elle Thinks, chats with Antonia Honeywell on her Monday morning radio show about “the surprise Booker Prize result, bookselling as a vocation, the power of narrative to sway lives [and her] own book”. Eleanor describes the programme as like “Desert Island Discs but with more books.” >> Booktime Brunch with Eleanor Franzen >>
* Prepare for AusReadingMonth 2019 *
Over at Brona’s Books, the host of AusReadingMonth, is wondering “how many Australian books [you] can read before the end of November”? She’s made taking part “as easy as possible” by providing plenty of suggested titles, so, if you fancy joining in with this Aussie reading jolly, be sure to share your “thoughts, suggestions or effusions of pure enthusiasm” with Brona and let her know which Australian books you’re planning to read. While there, you may also like to check out her posts, Two Birds; One Stone and AusReadingMonth Bingo.
* MCMXX is Next *
After a highly successful 1930 Club readathon earlier in the month, Karen and Simon have announced their next big reading event: the 1920 Club. From 13th-19th April 2020, participants are once again invited to read and post their thoughts on titles first published in that year. “It’s right at the beginning of the period we do club years in, and it’ll be the centenary next year – which feels very appropriate”, says Simon. Karen also points out, “this will be our tenth Club Week, so it’s a bit of a milestone as well!” Please see The next club is announced! for further details.
* 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 Tender Birds by Carole Giangrande – James Fisher of The Miramichi Reader finds Canadian author Giangrande is “proficient at creating memorable word images” and conveys “many delicate thoughts and emotions” in her latest novel. He declares it: “Amazing.”
Peterloo: The English Uprising by Robert Poole – The 1819 ‘Peterloo massacre’ is under the microscope in Poole’s new history of Manchester’s pro-reform rally turned bloodbath. Discover why “these events” mirror “the ongoing Hong Kong protests, with a chilling sense of foreboding”, at FictionFan’s Book Reviews.
Book of the month: Dina Salústio – The Madwoman of Serrano “does not conform to many of the conventions of its form”, finds Ann Morgan from A year of reading the world. It’s “a challenging read for those used to the mainstream output” but, she says, her response may be down to her Anglophone Western expectations. It does, however, tug at “the preconceptions we all carry about how books work and what stories do.” She believes this Cape Verde novel may have much to teach us.
Russian plays – A Month in the Country by Turgenev – Elisabeth Vandermeer discusses Ivan Turgenev’s play “about feelings” at A Russian Affair. Feelings of the sort that “no-one wants to talk or be honest about” and which only “become real once they have been spoken out loud.”
Recent release: You Beneath Your Skin, by Damyanti Biswas. – The voices in this novel provide “fresh perspectives on a variety of issues around the crime and the society of Delhi”, writes Cath Humphris. It was an “interesting trip”, which raised “lots of questions”. Furthermore, all proceeds from this book “go to project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks.”
Sisters Festival of Books – Sisters in Oregon is a “quirky little town” where Valorie Grace Hallinan of Books Can Save a Life “indulged in bookish revelry” at its “first ever book festival”. She had a fabulous time chatting with authors and perusing “stacks of brand new books”.
* 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: For Some Horror Writers Nothing is Scarier Than a Changing Planet – Naomi Booth examines the ways in which climate change is affecting the burgeoning genre of eco-horror.
The Irish Times: The beauty of a good bookshop – bookworms have their say – “Rick O’Shea, Emer McLysaght and others on their favourite bookshops as children and adults”.
Literary Hub: H.G. Parry: When We Read Books, We Bring Their Worlds Into Life – “The author of The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep speaks with Rob Wolf on the New Books Network”.
Moomin: The award-winning series “Moominvalley” to be shown in over 20 new countries – Moominvalley, the brand-new adaptation of the Moomin stories of Tove Jansson, has been acquired by over 25 different countries.
Electric Literature: Shirley Jackson’s Unfinished Novel Revealed the Truth About Her Marriage – “In her early and late works, the master of horror reflected her feelings about her long, troubled relationship”, says Kristopher Jansma.
ABC News: Deltora Quest’s Emily Rodda one of six Australian authors recognised in Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – Celebrated children’s writer and novelist Gail Jones takes away two of six Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, worth a total of $480,000.
The Guardian: Sanditon: why are Austen fans so enraged by Andrew Davies’ ending? – “ITV’s dramatisation of the unfinished novel has offended the sensibilities of many Janeites. Alison Flood wonders if this makes sense”.
The First News: Nobel winner Tokarczuk to open new foundation for literature – “Nobel prize-winner Olga Tokarczuk is planning to open a foundation to aid authors and translators of literature” says Maciej Bankowski.
Sydney Review of Books: Autism Aesthetics – Michael Bérubé describes three “brilliant books” as being about “understanding autism and speech, autism and rhetoric, [and] autism and literature”.
Book Riot: Carolyn Keene and the Mystery of the Real Nancy Drew Author – Who wrote the Nancy Drew books? Annika Barranti Klein investigates.
Humanities: When Bram Met Walt – “Before conjuring Dracula, Bram Stoker poured his soul out to America’s poet”, finds Meredith Hindley.
The Nation: For Yiyun Li, All Writing Is Autobiographical – Rosemarie Ho has “a wide-ranging conversation with Li about her feelings on autofiction, bad readers, and why her work has yet to be translated into Chinese.”
BBC News: Dame Judi Dench backs bid for £650,000 Bronte ‘little book’ – “Dame Judi Dench is backing the Bronte Parsonage Museum’s bid to buy a rare early book written by one of the famed literary sisters.”
Lit Reactor: Ursula K. Le Guin: A Primer – Emmanuel Nataf with an “overview of [a] literary great”.
Los Angeles Times: Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison live on here: A stroll through Père-Lachaise Cemetery – Liesl Bradner discovers a new book by writer Carolyn Campbell and photographer Joe Cornish is a tour through Paris’ final resting place for Rodenbach, Stein, Proust and many others.
The Moscow Times: Maxim D. Shrayer’s ‘A Russian Immigrant: Three Novellas’ – “A quietly powerful addition to the cannon of émigré literature.”
The Hindu: Sorrow in a bookshop: ‘The Stationery Shop’ by Marjan Kamali – “This novel about bookish teenage lovers is literary Bollywood at its best”, says Revathi Suresh.
Penguin: The books that inspired the Extinction Rebellion protesters – Donna Mackay asked activists at the historic event what they’ve been reading. From Margaret Atwood to Silent Spring, these were their answers.
The London Magazine – Essay | On Angela Carter by Sharlene Teo – Sharlene Teo was thirteen when she “first encountered The Bloody Chamber”, its “bent orange spine [visible] on the second shelf.”
Literary Tourist: A Little Nostalgia about Strip Clubs & Libraries in Montreal – Nigel Beale explores the literary nooks and crannies of Montreal.
Tor: Read Editor Carmen Maria Machado’s Intro to The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 – Carmen Maria Machado explores the distinctions between “literary” and “genre” fiction.
The Paris Review: The State Of Satire – “Satire, as a genre of literature, has had periods of decline and periods of flourishing. But what is the state of satire when the State is satire?” asks Matthew Baker.
The Calvert Journal: ‘My father understood the human soul’: remembering the Jewish-Romanian author whose Holocaust stories continue to inspire compassion – “Surviving the Holocaust and escaping communist Romania, Ludovic Bruckstein continued to rebuild his life by writing short stories inspired by the people he met. After three decades, his novellas have finally been published in English. Here, his son reflects on his father’s courage and compassion.”
CBC: Margaret Atwood donating Booker Prize winnings to Indspire to support education of Indigenous students – After Margaret Atwood jointly won the 2019 Booker Prize with Bernardine Evaristo, the author announced she will donate her half of the winnings to a charity which supports the education of Indigenous people in Canada.
The Conversation: ‘I’m in another world’: writing without rules lets kids find their voice, just like professional authors – What children say about free writing is like professional authors describing the creative process. Brett Healey believes teachers should give kids freedom to explore, providing guidance when it’s due.
The Curious Reader: My Problem With Indian Diasporic Writing – Ranjani Rao discusses the stereotypes in Indian diasporic writing and how, by not writing stereotypical stories, she denied herself a seat at the table.
Harvard Magazine: “The Luckiest Books” – A visit to the Harvard Depository.
The Guardian: The hunt for Shakespeare’s library: ‘I couldn’t stop looking if I wanted to’ – Stuart Kells speaks to Alison Flood about spending the last 20 years “on the trail of the Bard’s books and manuscripts, which he believes have been scattered all over the world”.
SFGate: The Untold Story Behind the Infamous ‘In Cold Blood’ Murder House—and Why It’s for Sale – “Will the Kansas farmhouse where the Clutter family was murdered, as detailed in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, ever be able to shed its bloody past?” asks Clare Trapasso.
Mental Floss: Jane Austen’s Handwritten Letter About a Nightmarish Visit to the Dentist Is Up for Auction – Ellen Gutoskey finds “Austen was so appalled at the dental practices of the time that she described them to her sister Cassandra in a letter”.
Columbia News: H.G. Wells Sparked Modernism and the Literary Imagination – “In a wide-ranging discussion with [Eve Glasberg], Humanities Dean and Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature Sarah Cole touches on her new book, Inventing Tomorrow: H.G. Wells and the Twentieth Century”.
Books + Publishing: Amazon Australia makes Farrow book available for sale – Max Mason reports in The Australian Financial Review that Amazon has made Dylan Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill available for sale.
BuzzFeed: Here Are 36 Of The Creepiest Books — How Many Have You Read? – “And, no, watching the movie doesn’t count”, warns Shyla Watson.
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