Winding Up the Week #151

An end of week recap

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning
From Little Gidding by T. S. Eliot

My final wind up of the year is a day late and somewhat light on content due to festive intemperance resulting in extreme lethargy. However, I didn’t want the trial that was 2020 to pass without wishing everyone a peaceful, healthy and much improved 2021. If I am still here when Storm Bella has passed and not bobbing about on the Irish Sea, I will see you next year!

As ever, this is a weekly post in which I summarise 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 2021 European Reading Challenge * 

If you have a hankering to embark on a Grand Tour of Europe in 2021, Gilion Dumas’s ninth Euopean Reading Challenge (#ERC2021) may be just the thing to revive your spirits of adventure. From 1st to 31st January, you are invited to sign up for this literary jolly – choosing your level of participation before reading “books by European authors or books set in European countries” from a “list of 50 sovereign states” (list provided). There is, apparently, “a prize for the person who visits the most countries between the covers.” For full details, please head over to The 2021 European Reading Challenge is ready to go – sign up now! at Rose City Reader. 

* 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: 


Penguin: Books that could change your life in 2021 – Francesca Pymm shares lessons he’s learnt from “some of the best non-fiction of 2020 – and how you can use them to be wiser and happier in the new year.” 

The Guardian: In a year of forced solitude, Barcelona rediscovers the companionship of books – Stephen Burgen finds independent book shops are “thriving in the Catalan city where people view them as havens”.

BBC News: The winners: The 2020 Russell Prize for best writing – Amol Rajan wheels out his “favourite prose of the year, under the auspices of an implicit endorsement from [his] long dead hero.” 

Skwigly: Interview with ‘Moominvalley’ Production Designer Sarah Hauldren – Martyn Warren interviews Sarah Hauldren, Production Designer of the multi award-winning TV series Moominvalley

Literary Hub: 40 Bookstores in 40 Weeks: Or, How to Get Through a Pandemic – “J. David Gonzalez on the habit-forming pastime of buying books”. 

The Guardian: Pioneering fairytale author Madame d’Aulnoy back in print after centuries The Island of Happiness, by the French writer who coined the term ‘fairytales’, [is] to include [the] first English translation of [a] 300-year-old story”, says Alison Flood. 

Ploughshares: Reading A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia– The hybrid literary and natural history anthology, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, “is grounded in the familiar pattern of the genre”, says Alicia Wright. 

Shondaland: 22 Authors on the Books That Gave Them Hope in 2020Shondaland “reached out” to some of its favourite writers “to find out which reads got them through this year.” 

JSTOR Daily: How to Revive a Dead Language – “Although it was the language of sacred texts and ritual, modern Hebrew wasn’t spoken in conversation till the late nineteenth century”, writes Livia Gershon. 

Chicago Review of Books: Memoir, Poetry, and Climate Change in Felicia Luna Lemus’ “Particulate Matter” – In her monthly column, Amy Brady interviews the author of Particulate Matter

Ransom Center Magazine: Inspiration and insight in the papers of author Julian Barnes – In 2006, Vanessa Guignery “spent a wonderful month in the reading room going through the first acquisition of Barnes’s papers.” 

Book Marks: Tantalizing Translation Recs for 2021 – Heather Clearly discovers what translators and booksellers are “loving and looking forward to” in 2021. 

The Japan Times: When reading was a refuge and had no end – Dwight Garner found solace in books during 2020, “although some stories were more of a consolation than others”. 

Vox: How a year of publishing protests rocked the industry – “Publishing began 2020 with an explosion and ended with a contraction”, says Constance Grady. 

Independent: ‘The Bodleian is where I shall most happily rest’: John Le Carré’s archive shows the literary craftsman at work – “When David Cornwell – John le Carré – delivered 85 boxes of his neatly organised papers, I realised the intensity of the late author’s attention to the texts he had written, writes archivist Richard Ovenden”. 



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 is an excellent description on Urban Dictionary.

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22 replies

  1. Thanks for all the links this year Paula, and a happy 2021 to you and yours!

  2. Hope you and yours survived the pared down Christmas holidays, as well as Bella’s worst. Crack out the wellies or, better still, just stay inside dry and safe.

    Wishing you all the best for the New Year.

    • We did thank you, Alexandra. I hope you and your partner had a pleasant Christmas, too. A very Happy New Year to you both 🥂

      • Thanks, Paula, we had possibly the quietest Christmas we’ve had in 20 years, just the two of us. And will be the same this New Year too. But all good as long as everyone is staying safe. Cheers, my dear, 🥳

  3. Another great week!! Thank you.

  4. Thank you, as always for these posts (and all of your generous Twitter work!) – I don’t underestimate the amount of time they must take and they always have me clicking on various links 🙂 (for example, this week I’ve been lured by translated picks for 2021, and flirting with the idea of the European reading challenge….).

    Have a safe and happy New Year. Kate xx

  5. “festive intemperance resulting in extreme lethargy” LOL
    Well that sounds like a fine holiday, well spent. So glad to hear it! 🙂

  6. Yes, here’s to 2021 being kinder to us all! Wishing you and yours the very best 🙂

  7. A tempting reading challenge and an especially interesting piece on le Carré – 30 drafts and much work by Jane – fascinating! Thank you for all the work you do putting these together and wishing you and your loved ones a healthy, happy New Year.

  8. “festive intemperance resulting in extreme lethargy.” 🙂

    Wishing you well in 2021 Paula.

  9. Happy New Year, dear Paula! Stay safe in the storm! ♥️

  10. Wishing you both a peaceful and healthy New Year, Paula 🤗

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