An end of week recap
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
– L.M. Montgomery
As with last week’s wind up, this post arrives a day early (for obvious reasons). It is also a tad shorter than usual, but since this is my final bookish round-up of 2021, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your continued support and wish you a healthy, peaceful, contented and book-filled 2022.
Once again, 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.
If you are planning a reading event, challenge, competition or anything else likely to be of interest to the book blogging community, please let me know. I will happily share your news here with the fabulous array of bibliowonks who read this weekly wind up.
* Tove Jansson Travelogue *
As part of my ongoing Tove Trove project, I shared a few thoughts on ‘Tove and Tooti in Europe’ – a rarely shown documentary featuring Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä. Please read >> TOVE TROVE: A Rare Travel Documentary >>
* Lit Crit Blogflash *
I am going to share with you a couple of my favourite literary posts from around the blogosphere. There are so many talented writers posting high-quality book features and reviews, it is difficult to limit the list to only these two – both published over the last week or so:
17 Favorites from the Backlist – Over at What’s Nonfiction?, Rennie Sweeney is breathing a sigh of relief that the “Christmas stresses are over and it’s time [to post her] year-end favorites lists.” She thoroughly enjoys “dividing up” her choices “by new releases and backlist selections,” because, as she sagaciously concludes, it means she “can include more books.” From Edward Parnell’s “difficult-to-categorize” Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country to Will Storr’s investigation into modern science denial, The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, Rennie’s run-through of non-fiction titles makes fascinating reading in itself. An absolute must for those who plan to commence 2022 with fact over fiction.
Detransition, Baby – American author, Torrey Peters’ “story of three women on the (potential) cusp of motherhood” contains “some of the most intelligent, quick writing that [Paige Schildkamp of Just One More Pa(i)ge has] ever read.” Detransition, Baby cuts “deeply with its insight” and “there are myriad social and cultural references” to be found in this debut novel nominated for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Paige describes it as “a phenomenal literary representation of trans feminine culture,” which “deserves to be celebrated on so many levels, in so many places.” It is, she says, simply “spectacular!”
* 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 selection of interesting snippets:
The Hindu: Top 10 in fiction – “In a year overshadowed by loss, stories helped us cope by highlighting life’s silver linings.” Here is a list, “in no particular order,” of the “10 best fiction books of 2021.”
The Age: Freedom and stumbling across the secret to rekindling my lost desire to read books – For Australian writer Sean Kelly, 2021 has proved a poor reading year.
DW: Where Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes live – “Do you remember the addresses of Bilbo Baggins or Mary Poppins?” Dagmar Breitenbach takes us on a “tour of literary addresses, from Privet Drive to Baker Street.”
BBC News: Books 2022: A pick of what’s coming up – “Many of us have felt a more pressing need to find our own corner of heaven over the last two years, and some have found theirs between the covers of a book,” writes Rebecca Thomas.
RNZ: Booker prize-winning New Zealand novelist Keri Hulme dies – Keri Hulme, the New Zealander whose 1984 novel The Bone People won the Man Booker Prize, has died aged 74.
LARB: What If?: New Insight into the Friendship of Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot – A newly opened archive of Eliot’s letters sheds light on his friendship with Woolf.
Ploughshares: Literary Silence in the Time of Pandemic – “From the Black Death to the AIDS epidemic, the history of literature is suffused with gaps,” according to Jessica Hines. “Such a history is a record of mourning,” she finds. “It’s a record of all the things that cannot be spoken while living with upheaval and grief.”
The Washington Post: 12 books I should have reviewed this year: A critic’s lament – “There were too many worthy books, but I had too little time — and, alas, too many excuses,” writes Michael Dirda.
BBC Culture: The best books of the year 2021 – “From award-winning fiction to moving memoir, here are BBC Culture’s top reading picks of 2021.”
The Guardian: Fiction to look out for in 2022 – “With a host of phenomenal debuts on the way, plus some dazzling new work from the likes of Douglas Stuart and Hanya Yanagihara, 2022 is positively groaning with great novels,” says Alex Preston.
The Japan News: New Japanese translation of Peter Rabbit set to hit shelves in March – “A new Japanese version of the beloved Peter Rabbit series will be translated by Mieko Kawakami, […] an Akutagawa literary prize laureate.”
iNews: Autobibliography by Rob Doyle, review: An exuberant and slightly poseurish guide to classic literature – “The author trawls though the 52 books that made him” in Autobibliography.
The Africa Report: Africa: The top 20 must-read literary books of 2021 – “As we head into the end of 2021, we have put together the top 20 books from across the continent this year to make the most of your off-screen time,” says Dami Ajayi.
Teller Report: Obituary for Birgit Vanderbeke: Master of the short narrative form – German author Birgit Vanderbeke, widely known for writing The Mussel Feast, passed away on 24th December.
The Observer UG: Lawyers demand unconditional release of novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija – Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who won a prestigious prize in 2021 for courageous writing, has been detained, his lawyer has confirmed.
Air Mail: Alexandre Assouline – “He grew up watching his parents turn a fledgling publishing company into a coffee-table-book sensation. Now he’s helping to run it,” says Elena Clavarino.
Times of India: Sahitya Akademi Awards, Yuva Puraskar and Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 announced – “Sahitya Akademi announced its prestigious Sahitya Akademi Awards, Yuva Puraskar and Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021 in various languages on December 30, 2021.”
Fortune: 22 new books to consider reading in 2022 – Rachel King with a “sampling of nonfiction and fiction titles to consider reading as they will be published in the first half of 2022.”
Women’s Prize for Fiction: Announcing 10 future greats of fiction! – “To celebrate 100 years of Good Housekeeping, [WPfF has] teamed up to launch the Women’s Prize x Good Housekeeping Futures Award.”
The Calvert Journal: Miroslav Krleža: where to start with Croatia’s most famous writer – Jonathan Bousfield on the works of the late Yugoslav and Croatian writer, Miroslav Krleža.
German Crime Fiction Award: 38th German Crime Award 2021 – The winners of 2021’s Deutscher Krimipreis have been announced.
Letters From Suzanne: 4) Kathy Acker – Suzanne Moore discusses After Kathy Acker, “Chris Kraus’s extraordinary biography” of the American experimental novelist, playwright, essayist and postmodernist writer who died in 1997.
The Irish Times: How Irish lesbian writing has developed over centuries – Anna Charczun reveals that a “new study argues lesbian literature has expanded parallel to real-life lesbian identity.”
Medievalist.net: Ten Books about the Middle Ages you can read for free – “Over the last year or so more books in the field of medieval studies have been released as Open Access – meaning that you can freely download and read right now. Here are ten of those books – enjoy!”
The Voice: UK’s first black bookshop facing closure – New Beacon Books in north London announces it will close and move online only after more than 55 years.
The Observer: Bambi: cute, lovable, vulnerable … or a dark parable of antisemitic terror? – The Original Bambi: The Story of a Life in the Forest, a new translation of Felix Salten’s 1923 novel, “reasserts its original message that warns of Jewish persecution.”
Sunday Times ZA: Best reads of 2021 – ST asked some of its “favourite wordsmiths, authors and reviewers” to reveal their best reads of the year.
The New Yorker: Modernism’s Forgotten Mystic – “In her short, tumultuous life, Mary Butts produced work admired by Bryher, Marianne Moore, and John Ashbery. Why isn’t she better known?” asks Merve Emre.
BBC News: Return to Hogwarts: Critics bemoan Rowling’s absence in Harry Potter reunion – “A TV special reuniting members of the Harry Potter cast has received mixed reviews from critics, with many noting the absence of author JK Rowling.”
Open Book: Wrap Up 2021 with an Excerpt from Tim Bowling’s Meditative Book of Essays, The Call of the Red-Winged Blackbird – For Open Book’s final post of 2021, they share an excerpt from the Canadian novelist and poet, Tim Bowling’s, forthcoming essay collection, The Call of the Red-winged Blackbird: Essays on the Common and Extraordinary.
Commonweal: Putting Ourselves Together Again – Rebecca Bratten Weiss finds Kaya Oakes’s new novel, The Defiant Middle: How Women Claim Life’s In-Betweens to Remake the World, addresses the experiences of women on the margins or in “liminal spaces” – women who do not fit in.
Atlas Obscura: Drink Like Dickens With the Author’s Punch Recipe – “With flair and fire, he turned mixology into a performance.”
Worcester News: Lord of the Rings collection worth £1,495 returned to Worcester charity shop – Frankie Rudland reports that a set of first-edition copies of The Lord of The Rings books that were stolen from a charity shop have been returned.
Haaretz: U.S. Artist Claims Buzzy Israeli Trump Book’s Cover Was Copied From Him – “Edel Rodriguez claims the book jacket of Barak Ravid’s Trump’s Peace was copied from an illustration he created for TIME magazine, but the Israeli designer of the book says the resemblance is close, but not identical.”
Adweek: A Bookstore Trolls Amazon With Reworked Holiday Songs and ‘Dystopian’ Window Displays – Christmas carollers performed outside New York’s Amazon four-star store in the SoHo neighbourhood.
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.
Categories: Winding Up the Week