An end of week recap
Today I deliver a mini wind-up accompanied by a sheepish beg-pardon. All my saintly intentions of re-establishing good writing habits and following a carefully planned reading schedule in 2020 have, I’m afraid, gone to the dogs.
For a variety of reasons, my partner and I have decided to move to our lodge in Mid Wales for the foreseeable future, leaving our home of the past 20 years, which is currently on the market. After several days of frenzied packing, we stuffed our car to capacity – squeezing in two large Labradors and an overly-hairy Cypriot rescue dog – and, like the Clampetts of yore, lumbered over to the coast. All that was missing was grandma in her rocking chair on the roof.
Consequently, I’ve had little opportunity to write my usual book-related summation of the past week. I have, nevertheless, cobbled together a few bits and bobs to show willing. Hopefully, my stress levels will have returned to normal by next Saturday and I will wind up the week in a less wound-up fashion. I therefore share a paltry smattering of literary titbits and book-related happenings.
* Lit Crit Blogflash *
I’m going to share with you three 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:
Book review – Abi Daré – “The Girl with the Louding Voice” – “This is an exceptional and important novel”, says Liz Dexter from Adventures in reading, running and working from home. It may only be January, but she already believes it is “likely to be one of [her] books of the year.”
The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman – While the second book in Pullman’s Book of Dust series may not be as “immediately thrilling as La Belle Sauvage”, Clare of A Little Blog of Books found it “thoroughly engaging” and is “intrigued to see how the trilogy will conclude.”
No 500 Swann by Carol Shields – Cathy Brown of 746 Books found Shields’ 1987 literary mystery a “delight of a book”, which is “beautifully structured” and features “a host of fantastically realised characters.”
* 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:
Guardian Australia: Be honest. You’re not going to read all those books on your holiday, are you? – “When it comes to my summer downtime, the last thing I want to do is read very serious and important things”, says Stephanie Convery.
The Millions: Annotate This: On Marginalia – Ed Simon on his favourite marginalia: “When Shylock gives his celebrated soliloquy, in which he intones, ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’, the book’s previous owner approvingly added in the margins ‘Bring your own BOOYEA!’”
TLS: Cursed with hearts and brains – Ann Kennedy Smith on female intellectuals, muses of the twentieth century and Francesca Wade’s group biography, Square Haunting: Five women, freedom and London between the wars.
BBC News: When sexual abuse was called seduction: France confronts its past – “An 83-year-old French writer once feted by the Paris intellectual set now finds himself ostracised because of his writings about sex with teenage boys and girls”, finds Hugh Schofield.
Jane Friedman: What Your Choice of Dialogue Tags Says About You – Christopher Hoffmann on dialogue tags and the way writers use them.
AAWW: Creating Your Own Mythology: A Conversation with Meng Jin – Jen Lue talks to Chinese American author Meng Jin about her debut novel, Little Gods.
The Nation: The Debauched, Sometimes Sublime Essays of D.H. Lawrence – “His nonfiction writing, filled with terrible politics and startling prose, inspires awe and loathing”, says Zachary Fine.
Tor: Long Live Short Fiction: The New Golden Age of the SFF Novella – The novella is “experiencing a renaissance in the publishing world”, says Rebecca Diem.
BBC News: Shrewsbury book collector gifts LGBT ‘legacy’ – “An LGBT book collector ‘passionate about justice’ has left his 30,000-piece collection to a university.”
Independent: 28 powerful literary quotes to inspire you in 2020 – “Whether it’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s observations on race in Americanah or Jules Verne on solitude in The Mysterious Island – the best works of fiction contain important and perpetually relevant truths”, writes Roisin O’Connor.
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
Hope you are all settling in nicely. As always, such an interesting collection of literary links. And now I want to watch some Beverly Hillbillies.
We are settling in nicely, thank you, Chris. I haven’t seen that show for yonks but I watched it as a child and found it very funny.
Goodness, I hope the disruption wasn’t too bad! And thanks for taking time to give us the links! 😀
Many thanks, Kaggsy. We’ve still got mounds of junk at home to pack away (including books) or discard, so we’ll be back and forth for a while, but at least we’ve made the initial move. The dogs are delighted to be at the seaside! 😃
Exciting news about your move, Paula. I hope all goes smoothly and that this change is exactly right for both of you! How amazing you still had time for these links, besides all of that work. I’m happy to learn about Carol Shields and her book “Swann.” Sounds so intriguing! Thanks!
Thank you so much, Becky. Yes, I agree, the CS book does sound intriguing. It has already been added to my TBR list. 😊
Ohhh, Swann is just so wonderful. It’s a bit fragmenty – moving between characters and assembling pieces – which is just as it’s intended to be and one of the reasons that I’ve revisited it a few times over the years – four that I can recall, but maybe more when I wasn’t tracking my reading so diligently.
Good luck with all the transitioning and new arrangements. I hope the positive side of all the change makes it rewarding along the way too. 🙂
Many thanks, Marcie. I’m definitely going to read it now! 😊
Thanks for linking to my review Paula – hope all does well with the move and you are getting settled!
It’s a pleasure, Cathy. Thank you so much. 😊
I’d like to echo all the above good wishes to you both and hope that the move will prove to be all you wanted for yourselves. No apologies needed!
Thank you, Chris. 😃
I hope that your move goes well and that it leads to a fantastic era in your lives!
Thank you, Joyce. 🤗
It is interesting that you’re moving (good luck!) and also referring to the archetypal writer on the move, D.H. Lawrence. Clearly, opinions will always be divided about Lawrence. In 1920, Woolf, always a sensitive reader, wrote:
“It was plain that sex had for him a meaning which it was disquieting to think that we, too, might have to explore.”
I will follow in the path of prudishness and not enter into the confusion of his outmoded gender politics, but I would say that he had a tough time, teaching pupils who did not want to learn, writing poems for tiny amounts of money, penning novels which were largely underappreciated in his day, and being swept away by dangerous ideologies when the political centre would not hold. Between the wars, the number of democracies was in steep decline. If one compares his controversial and anachronistic views with some of those expressed by the more fashionable Orwell, there is a real overlap. Perhaps the latter writer was simply much more patriotic?
Well, that is quite a major change – wishing you all the best in the new environment! I’ve heard mixed reviews of the second Pullman novel, and I haven’t read either of the two books in the new trilogy, so I need to get a move on.
Like you, Maria, I haven’t so far read the first title from the Book of Dust series, but several readers have told me they’re not overly impressed with book two.
You gave quite the image with your car, doggies, and stuff! I was hoping when you said you were moving it was to your coastal home. I hope you settle in nicely, Paula. Take your time with the writing! ♥️
Thank you so much, Jennifer. It’s snowing today but the view is gorgeous. The change of scenery and slower pace of life are doing us both good. Hope all well with you and the kits. 🤗
Best wishes and hope you’ll settle well into your old-new place 🙂
Great links all around – I’m very intrigued by the marginalia!
Thank you, Ola! 😃
I loved your description of your move, and all those dogs!!! All the best and I will look up a couple of the references you mentioned. 🤠🐧
Thank you so much, Traveln’ Penguin. The dogs are having a blast! 😃
A+ Beverly Hillbillies reference.
Thank you for finding the time to put together all these fascinating links for us when you have had such a busy week. Hope that you will setttle in quickly and enjoy life in Wales.
Thank you so much, Anne. 😃
Oh wow, busy times indeed for you and your partner. So you’re now over in your mid-Wales lodge, and just waiting for your house to sell? You’ve upped and moved very quickly, I think it will take us a year just to put all our junk into boxes! I’m amazed you’ve managed to put this WUTW post together with everything you’ve had on. It’s okay to take a break, we’ll all still be here, and you can get focused on writing more when you want when you’re more able to. I don’t want to pry but I hope everything’s okay, what with moving pretty quickly.. Sending love, hope you manage some rest this weekend!
Thank you for your kind words, Caz. 🤗
We thought it sensible to downsize after everything that’s happened over the past 12 months. It will probably take a while to sell the house, so we made a snap decision to move to the coast immediately and went for it before we could change our minds! 😂🐬🐶
Oh, good for you for doing a scaled down version Paula, though you didn’t have to. I hope that your new (old?) mid-Wales abode will be generally more stress-free once you’ve settled in?
Good luck with the house sale.
Thank you so much, Sue. We’re already feeling far more chilled! 😊
Hope you settle in well and quickly, and thank you so much for featuring my review of The Girl with the Louding Voice!
Many thanks, Liz. You’re very welcome. 😃
Apologies if I’m a tad slow responding to all your lovely messages. I promise I will reach you eventually! 😏
Big changes for 2020 Paula! I hope it all goes smoothly so you can both (and the dogs!) enjoy your new chapter as much as possible as soon as possible 🙂
And even a shortened version of WUTW still provides me with lots of lovely goodies to explore -thank you!
Thank you, Madame B. Now we’ve made the decision, we know it was the right thing to do. We once kept goats, pigs, ducks, hens and goodness knows what else (all pets, btw, nobody was served up for supper). We had great fun for many years, but it’s hard work keeping a small-holding. It’s time to slow down and let someone else enjoy the land. 🐷
I love it that you’ve gone somewhere for the foreseeable future, seems a lovely disregard for deadlines and house ownership – I hope you have as relaxing a time as it sounds!
It feels a little like that, too, Jane. 😂 Thank you so much.
A lodge by the sea sounds idyllic to me, Paula 🤗 I hope both you and D gain rest and respite and much joy from the move – once the initial stress of it has eased.
Thank you, Sandra. 🤗 We’ve moved to a lovely part of the world – I always missed the sea in landlocked north-east Wales, having been born and bred on the coast. We will remain here at least until the house sells, possibly longer. Sadly, my books must be packed away for now but the view is breathtaking.
Oh what a delicious literary banquet. Glad that we connected!
Thank you so much, Rebecca. 😊
“Guardian Australia: Be honest. You’re not going to read all those books on your holiday, are you?” Okay, I didn’t, but I wrote a lot of overdue reviews!
All the best with your transition, Paula. Sounds divine to me!
Thank you, Gretchen. 🤗
Thank you, Leslie. 😊