An end of week recap
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.
* A Welsh Book Warren *
I invite you to accompany me on a visit to a secret book snuggery by the sea. >> Barmouth Book Cellar >>
* Paul Auster Reading Week *
Annabel Gaskell has “been contemplating hosting a reading week for one of [her] favourite authors” at AnnaBookBel. She “narrowed it down to a shortlist” of Paul Auster, Iain Banks and J G Ballard, then ran a poll, which resulted in Paul Auster’s name coming out on top. The Paul Auster Reading Week will therefore take place from 17th – 23rd February 2020, and Annabel would love you to join her “in celebrating the work of this great American author.” Should this reading challenge appeal to you, please head over to A Reading Week for Feb 2020 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:
Powerful look at what our future may hold – Over at Marjorie’s World of Books, Marjorie Cunningham recommends the forthcoming cli-fi novel, The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde, declaring it “very well written”. She sincerely hopes the author’s words “will reach the hearts of its readers and […] make a difference”.
Jersey Festival of Words 2019: Year 5 – Louise Doughty always enjoys her visits to the Jersey Festival of Words, “but this year especially so.” She shares her experiences with The Writes of Woman.
Book Review: Adolf Hitler, my part in his downfall, by Spike Milligan, 1971 – The late Milligan’s “inspired” war memoir provides “the perfect book for these times,” says David at The Reading Bug. He was impressed by its “curious mix of seriousness and silliness” allowing the author’s “humanity [to shine] through.”
‘The Weekend’ by Charlotte Wood – “The push and pull of friendship between three older women forms the dark, beating heart of [this recently published Australian] novel,” says Kim Forrester from Reading Matters. She enjoyed the book’s “quiet observations about growing old” and loved its “authenticity”.
More Miss Marple! – Chris Harding is currently on a “Miss Marple marathon”. The first Agatha Christie murder mystery to feature as part of The Book Trunk’s reading challenge is the Queen of Crime’s 1965 novel At Bertram’s Hotel.
London Bookshops – Luana (aka Lucy) at INK-STAINED FOREST spent a “blissful week in London” and while there, “fully indulged [her] bookish fancies [by visiting] as many bookshops” as possible. She also took plenty of photographs and purchased “loads of books in the process”.
* 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 Bookseller: Jonty Claypole on the BBC’s year-long celebration of books – An “expert panel of leading British writers, curators and critics enlisted by the BBC are revealing 100 genre-busting reads as part of an ambitious Novels That Shaped Our World season.”
The New York Review of Books: ‘Closing Time’: My Lost Literary World – Daphne Merkin discusses “the end of a distinct period in American letters”.
The Irish Times: ‘She just showed up’: Elizabeth Strout on the return of Olive Kitteridge – The “Pulitzer Prize winning author’s latest novel features the much-loved but difficult character,” writes Catherine Conroy.
Autostraddle: Is the Resurgence of Feminist Bookstores in the South a Moment or a Movement? – Megan has spent “the last five years challenging [her] own assumptions” and now “[jumps] to defend Alabama”.
Atlas Obscura: America’s First Banned Book Really Ticked Off the Plymouth Puritans – “The author, known as the ‘Lord of Misrule,’ had the audacity to erect a maypole in Massachusetts”, writes Matthew Taub.
Vice: There’s a Bookstore in South Korea Dedicated to Feminist Stories – “The bookstore is a breath of fresh air in a patriarchal country like South Korea, where women continue to face gender stereotypes”, says Junhyup Kwon.
The New York Times: South American Literature’s Master of Malaise – Ratik Asokan on the Uruguayan writer who depicted his country as a “place marked by pettiness, idiocy and squalor.”
Authorlink Writers & Readers Magazine: Joan Didion’s Life Work Instilled in New LOA Series – The Library of America is set to honour Joan Didion by publishing a three-volume collected edition of her life’s work.
BBC News: The man who collected 18,000 books about Wales – “The life of a maverick Welsh collector who built the first major library of books about Wales is being celebrated 200 years after his birth”, finds Neil Prior.
LA Review of Books: Everything but Borscht: Exploring the Ambiguities of Russia with Sara Wheeler and Ethan Pollock – Randy Rosenthal on the giants of the golden age of Russian literature.
Commonweal: Unmagical Realism – Catherine Addington on the journalism of Gabriel García Márquez.
Women’s Prize for Fiction: Meet the 2020 Women’s Prize judges – The identities of the judges for the 25th year of the Women’s Prize for Fiction are revealed.
The Washington Post: Stephen Dixon, prolific writer of experimental, unsettling fiction, dies at 83 – The American novelist and short-story writer died on 6th November of “pneumonia and complications from Parkinson’s disease”.
BuzzFeed: Carmen Maria Machado’s New Memoir Fills In The Gray Areas Of Abuse – “I wrote this book because I was looking for something that didn’t exist,” Carmen Maria Machado says of her new memoir In the Dream House.
Euro Weekly: Bookstore closure in Palma – An Historical bookstore in Mallorca is to close after more than 40 years in business.
The Guardian: University of Western Australia’s decision to close publishing house sparks outrage – Stephanie Convery finds a decision to “shut UWA Publishing, which published works by multiple Miles Franklin winners, came ‘out of the blue’”.
The New York Times: Cult of the Literary Sad Woman – “From Jean Rhys to Joan Didion, fiction is awash in female suffering. Leslie Jamison considers affliction’s allure – and its more promising alternatives.”
ANSA: New blaze at Rome anti-fascist bookstore – For the second time this year, a fire has devastated a well-known anti-fascist bookstore and café in Rome.
Quill & Quire: Knife Fork Book, Canada’s only all-poetry bookstore, is doing record business in a new home – Ryan Porter finds that business is booming in the Knife Fork Book, a poetry-only bookstore in Toronto.
Vulture: The Crimes Never End: A Guide to Mystery’s Biggest and Longest-Lasting Book Franchises – Zach Schonfeld with a selection of the most popular crime series.
The Express Tribune: Karachi’s old bookstores: a haven for knowledge seekers – Fatima Sheikh on finding rare books in Pakistan.
France 24: Moving prisoner epic wins France’s top literary prize – “A moving and colourful epic about a prisoner looking back on his life” has won the Prix Goncourt.
Book Riot: Readers Are More Satisfied With Their Lives Than Nonreaders, New Study Suggests – “Studies have shown that readers are more empathetic and that it can improve cognitive function”, finds Kelly Jensen.
The New Yorker: The Slowness of Literature and the Shadow of Knowledge – “Science and literature alike are readers of the world. And, sooner or later, both lead us to the unreadable, the boundary at which the unintelligible begins,” writes Karl Ove Knausgaard.
The Irish Times: Wasafiri, a magazine celebrating writing as a form of ‘cultural travelling’ – “As walls go up and borders are hardened, an initiative begun 35 years ago is as timely as ever,” says Susheila Nasta.
Culture Trip: Must-Read Books About the United Arab Emirates – “From an anthology of Nabati poetry to a comprehensive history of Dubai, these books allow readers to look beyond the swanky exterior of the Emirates and discover their natural history, complex culture and ancient traditions”, says Grace Beard.
The Atlantic: The 19th-Century Feminist Novel Pushed Out of the Russian Canon – “Karolina Pavlova’s A Double Life examines internalized oppression—and insists on the independence of the unconscious mind”, finds Talya Zax.
Tor: All the New Fantasy Books Coming out in November! – A list of fantasy titles heading your way in November.
Merriam Webster: Time Traveler – Find out which words were first used in print the year you were born.
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