An end of week recap
“Let us not forget that violence does not and cannot exist by itself; it is invariably intertwined with the lie. They are linked in the most intimate, most organic and profound fashion: violence cannot conceal itself behind anything except lies, and lies have nothing to maintain them save violence. Anyone who has once proclaimed violence as his method must inexorably choose the lie as his principle.”
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I had every good intention of collating a jumbo wind up this week to atone for the missing round-up earlier in the month, however, I became frustratingly mired in domestic drudgery in the new house – books, I’m sorry to say, playing no part whatsoever in breaking up the tedium of the three dreaded Ds: dusting, digging and decorating – so we are unfortunately a little lighter on links than I had originally planned. Nonetheless, I did at least this time ferret out a couple of first-rate blog posts, which return along with the usual literary goss.
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.
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.
* New Welsh Writing Awards Winner 2022 *
As promised in WUTW #220, I posted a short piece about the winner of the 2022 New Welsh Writing Awards: Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting. The successful manuscript was Tim Cooke’s River: >> NEW WELSH WRITING AWARDS 2022: Winner Announced >>
* 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:
Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy – An Epic Novella – Over at Annabookbel, Annabel Gaskell has been sharing her thoughts on “a super novella from one of [her] favourite indie publishers” (Gallic Books). Beginning in 1878, Heritage by French writer Miguel Bonnefoy concerns a winegrower who, when ruined by the Great French Wine Blight, sails for California, taking with him “his last surviving vine.” Inspired to write the story by his father’s Chilean family history, this tale of “four generations spanning a century of key events in history, is epic, but also close up and personal,” says Annabel, and while it “may be brief,” it “includes just the right amount of detail” to enable the reader to “imagine the scene.” Indeed, she declares it a “very French” work, “full of South American colour,” and one which she “heartily” recommends.
The Rebecca Notebook: And Other Memories by Daphne Du Maurier – Helen of She Reads Novels chose The Rebecca Notebook: And Other Memories for this year’s Daphne du Maurier Reading Week – a book of occasional non-fiction pieces she describes as “interesting and insightful.” The first part of the collection “consists of […] notes and drafts relating to the writing of Rebecca,” while the remainder collates some of the celebrated English writer’s essays and poetry, “including [a] piece about her grandfather, George du Maurier” – author of the 1894 gothic horror novel Trilby. None of these pieces are particularly long, even the Rebecca section, which is “relatively short,” however, Helen feels sure those with an interest “in du Maurier as a person as well as a writer” will find this slim volume “a good place to start.”
* 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:
Publishers Weekly: ‘The Netanyahus,’ ‘frank: sonnets’ Among 2022 Pulitzer Prize Winners – “Novelist Joshua Cohen, artist Winfred Rembert, and poet Diane Seuss were among the winners of the 2022 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, announced on May 9,” reports John Maher.
The New York Times: Meet the New Old Book Collectors – “A growing cohort of young enthusiasts is helping to shape the future of an antique trade.”
BBC Leicester: Crime author Val McDermid to give Leicester writing lecture – Best-selling crime writer Val McDermid is to speak at an annual writing event.
The Globe and Mail: ‘It’s like somebody’s whispering in your ear’: Inside the expansive, intimate world of audiobooks – “Audiobooks are one of the fastest-growing segments of not just the publishing industry,” says Marsha Lederman, “but the entire media and entertainment market.”
The Marginalian: 200 Years of Great Writers and Artists on the Creative and Spiritual Rewards of Gardening – Maria Popova with a “florilegium” [what a wonderful word!] of favourite “exultations in the rewards and nourishments of gardens” from “great writers’ and artists’ letters and diaries, essays and novels.”
New Welsh Review: Books for Alien Girls: Fiction and Neurodivergence – JL George, author of The Word (which won the Dystopian Novella category of the 2019 New Welsh Writing Awards) shares her “personal and practical reflections on the role neurodivergence can and should play when writing fiction.”
Prospect: Listening to, and reading, the voices of Ukraine – “Until recently, the history and literature of Ukraine was ignored in the west.” But, argues David Herman, “it’s vital we expand our geography of empathy.”
BBC Culture: How to survive the ‘post-book blues’ – “Empathy and imagination help us to engage when we enjoy a book or an audiobook – but why do we feel so sad when we come to the end? Howard Timberlake survives the post-book blues.”
Books + Publishing: ‘Happy Stories, Mostly’ wins Republic of Consciousness Prize – “The Indonesian writer Norman Erikson Pasaribu and his publisher Tilted Axis Press have won this year’s Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, for Pasaribu’s short story collection Happy Stories, Mostly.”
The Atlantic: As the Climate Changes, So Does Fiction – “Planetary warming is no longer the sole province of ‘climate fiction.’ It’s creeping into all kinds of writing,” finds Heather Hansman.
iNews: Men who dismiss books by women as chick lit miss out – here are five every male should read – “Most men read books written by men – but it’s their loss.”
The Hindu: Why don’t you write something I might read? review: Free hit – Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta finds Suresh Menon’s Why don’t you write something I might read? Reading, Writing & Arrhythmia an enjoyable collection of: “Crisp, engaging, unhurried essays on reading and writing.”
Literary Hub: The first major biography of Volodymyr Zelensky in English will be published in July. – Corinne Segal reports: “Polity Books has announced that it will publish Serhii Rudenko’s biography of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the first major biography of the leader to appear in English, this summer.”
Culture Study: The Librarians Are Not Okay – Anne Helen Petersen shares the transcript of a talk she gave recently at CALM (Conference on Academic Library Management).
EL PAÍS: France discovers Céline’s lost manuscripts and his forgotten novel, ‘War’ – “The papers disappeared when the anti-semitic writer escaped to Nazi Germany in 1944. They reappeared in 2020. Now Gallimard is publishing the first text.”
The Conversation: Judith Wright, an activist poet who was ahead of her time – A new non-fiction collection by one of Australia’s greatest poets enriches our understanding of her legacy. Here Tony Hughes-d’Aeth reviews Judith Wright: Selected Writings, edited by Georgina Arnott.
Nippon.com: Higuchi Ichiyō: A Pioneer of Modern Japanese Literature – “Despite poverty and illness, Higuchi Ichiyō was one of the pioneers of modern Japanese fiction, writing stories that established her place in the nation’s literary canon before she died at the age of 24. The year 2022 marks 150 years since her birth.”
Open Book: “Maybe Writing is Outside of Time” Lisa Moore on What She Learns from Every Book She Writes – Canadian author and editor, Lisa Moore, discusses in detail writing her latest novel, This is How We Love.
Wales Arts Review: 2022 Dylan Thomas Prize | Winner Patricia Lockwood – American novelist, poet and essayist Patricia Lockwood has won the £20,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas prize for No One Is Talking About This.
Fine Books & Collections: Software and Apps for Cataloguing Your Book Collection – A few useful suggestions on the best way to catalogue a personal book collection.
The Baffler: The Irrevocable Step – Willis McCumber on “John Brown and the historical novel.”
Hungarian Literature Online: Szilárd Borbély: “Silence is the most dangerous” – “Overwhelming; gut-wrenching; the most significant Hungarian novel of the year, of the decade―Szilárd Borbély’s The Dispossessed, a powerful novel about soul-wracking poverty in a Hungarian village in the 1960s and 70s, has earned such and similar praise. The writer answers Anna Kertész’s questions.”
History Today: All That Is Not Good – “Writing in troubled times, Julian of Norwich realised that consolation only has meaning if it takes pain seriously,” says Eleanor Parker.
Gizmodo: 52 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books for Your May Reading List – If you are seeking “fresh reading material as spring begins to turn into summer,” Cheryl Eddy has umpteen suggestions.
Oprah Daily: Why Are Authors Like Colleen Hoover and Taylor Jenkins Reid Seeing Their Book Sales Spike? Credit BookTok – “The internet has mobilized fandoms in ways that have rewired the music and film industry, and now it’s reshaping the book world,” finds Yashwina Canter.
The New Statesman: The rise and fall of the literary bloke – Circus of Dreams: Adventures in the 1980s Literary World, “John Walsh’s excitable account of carousing with Martin Amis and other ‘big beasts’ of the Eighties,” is, says Erica Wagner “a paean to a bygone era” – and she declares: “Not all of us are sad to see the back of it.”
New Zealand Herald: Ockham Book Awards winners: Whiti Hereaka with Kurangaituku, as well as Vincent O’Malley, Claire Regnault, Joanna Preston – Wellington novelist and playwright Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi, Pākehā) has won the $60,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Kurangaituku.
The Irish Times: Iceland: an island on the edge of my dreams – “Michelle Walshe on the writing retreat of a lifetime in a land both familiar and strange.”
Literary Review: She Went Down Well with Vicars – Claudia Fitzherbert on Miranda Seymour’s new biography, I Used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys.
LARB: Reality Is Something to Be Read: A Conversation with Hernan Diaz – Hernan Diaz discusses writing stories set in the past.
Inside Hook: Sylvia Plath’s Food Diary Is… the Happiest Place on Twitter? – “A Twitter account documenting Sylvia Plath’s every mention of food reveals a side of the poet we rarely see.”
Slack Tide: On Writing – Matt Labash with a “cavalcade of writing stars: Tom Wolfe, Peter De Vries, John Updike, Anne Lamott, Stephen King, Mary Karr […], Steve and Justin Townes Earle, plus bluebird porn.”
The Spectator: Is Mark Twain’s old age best forgotten? – “Gary Scharnhorst’s three-volume biography [The Life of Mark Twain: The Final Years 1891-1910] ends with the irrepressible author descending into anger, melancholy and an embarrassing obsession with prepubescent girls,” says Scott Bradfield.
Europe-cities: French novelist Linda Lê dies at 58 – The French novelist of Vietnamese origin has passed away following a long illness.
BBC Norfolk: National Centre for Writing and Norfolk library service get arts funds – “The National Centre for Writing has been given £131,545 to improve access both in its building and online.”
The Paris Review: Notes on Nevada: Trans Literature and the Early Internet – Almost ten years ago, [Imogen Binnie] published a novel called Nevada with a small press called Topside that doesn’t exist anymore.” It became, she says, “a subcultural Thing.”
Time: 14 Book-to-Screen Adaptations to Catch in 2022 – “Book-to-screen adaptations are big this year,” says Angela Haupt, and she is sure “readers [will be] eager to lay eyes on the characters they’ve only visualized in their heads…”
Ars Technica: Amazon Kindle book purchases are the next Google Play billing casualty – “After Audible purchases were turned off in April, Kindle purchases are gone now, too.”
Daily Beast: Sex Toy Review Site Snaps Up Celebrated Literary Mag ‘The Believer’ – Literary magazine, The Believer, has “found itself in strange territory,” having been “sold to the owner of a sex toy collective.”
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