Winding Up the Week #305

An end of week recap

Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
Mark Twain

A tad on the short side this week but, as ever, a post in which I share a variety of literary titbits, 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.

* 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: Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Named 2022 Booker Prize Winner – “Her Majesty the Queen Consort presented the prize to Karunatilaka in a ceremony on October 17,” writes Emell Derra Adolphus.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Carmen Callil, founder of renowned feminist publisher Virago, dies. She was 84 – The Australian writer and publisher, Carmen Callil, died of leukaemia at home in London on the night of 17th October. 

The New York Times Magazine: Can Black Literature Escape the Representation Trap? – “A crop of recent novels strains against the expectations of a publishing industry attempting to embrace diversity.”

Esquire: 130 Years Later, The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes Is Still the Detective’s Best Outing – Ryan Britt is firmly convinced that of all the Sherlock Holmes books, “the first short story collection is the best, most romantic, and most intelligent of them.”

TNR: The Growing Religious Alliance to Ban LGBTQ Books – “Conservative Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan, have joined forces with right-wing Christians in a bigoted crusade against gay and trans literature in public schools,” reports David Masciotra.

Asymptote: An Interview with Emma Ramadan – Claire Mullen talks to Emma Ramadan – a literary translator of poetry and prose from France, the Middle East and North Africa – about the way in which the role of the translator has become more valued, more respected and more visible.

Smithsonian: The Forgotten Sisters Who Pioneered the Historical Novel – “Jane and Anna Maria Porter ruled Britain’s literary scene—until male imitators wrote them out of the story,” writes Devoney Looser, author of Sister Novelists: The Trailblazing Porter Sisters, Who Paved the Way for Austen and the Brontës.

LARB: The First Climate Fiction Masterpiece: On John Wyndham’s 1953 Novel “The Kraken Wakes” – Matthew James Seidel explores the eerie parallels between the climate crisis and John Wyndham’s prescient novel The Kraken Wakes.

Astra: Department Store as Dreamscape – In The Price of Salt, Therese describes the department store as a “prison,” but it also serves as a locus for imagination and liberation, finds Adrienne Raphel.

The New Yorker: Italy’s Great Historical Novel – “Henry James decried the nineteenth century’s “loose baggy monsters,” but a new translation of Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed demonstrates the genre’s power,” says Joan Acocella.

Psyche: Are successful authors creative geniuses or literary labourers? – Oleg Sobchuk suggests that by knowing the topics of just a few books by an author, reasonably accurate predictions can be made about the rest of their books.

Slate: She’s 80 Years Old, She’s Furious, and She Just Published Her First Book – The author of Cat Brushing, Jane Campbell, “on why more angry, sexy old ladies is exactly what the publishing industry needs.”

Metropolis: A Guide to Zines in Tokyo – Zinemaker Narumi Imayuki takes a “deep dive into the world of self-published print.”

Astra: You’d Like This – In this regular column, author-translators exchange book recommendations – in this instance, Melissa Febos and Denise Kripper.

The Rumpus: What Does it Mean to Believe in Something: A Conversation with Nancy Marie Brown – Lily Raff McCaulou talks to the author of Looking for the Hidden Folk: How Iceland’s Elves Can Save the Earth, which “examines how landscapes shape the stories we tell and, conversely, how our stories shape our relationships with the land.”

The Paris Review: Yodeling into a Canyon: A Conversation with Nancy Lemann – Sophie Haigney “first read Nancy Lemann’s novel Lives of the Saints in one sitting, on an airplane.” She was “spellbound, moved, and deeply charmed.” Here you can read the “chat the two of [them] had on the phone in September.”

Bomb: Casting Memory Upstream: Chris Dombrowski Interviewed by Yvonne ConzaThe River You Touch: “A memoir about living by water, fatherhood, and building community to survive.”

Poetry Foundation: A Bird Translates Silence – “Wong May updates the Tang Dynasty poets for the 21st century.”

Washington Square News: Q&A: Kazuo Ishiguro on Joni Mitchell, ‘War and Peace’ and the future of storytelling – The novelist and short-story writer, Kazuo Ishiguro, spoke to Abby Wilson about “family, storytelling and the ever-changing world.”

The Scotsman: Book review: Ocean – Exploring the Marine World, ed. Anne-Marie Melster – “An ambitious new book sets out to chart the history of ocean-inspired image-making, from Hokusai’s ‘Great Wave’ to movie posters for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” Roger Cox reviews Ocean, Exploring the Marine World.

Faber & Faber: The Faber Interview: Orhan Pamuk – Boyd Tonkin meets with the Turkish novelist and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

BBC Culture: The 39 best books of the year so far 2022 – “From the terrifying new Stephen King horror to a millennial anti-romcom set in New York, here are BBC Culture’s books to read.”

World Literature Today: “What It’s Like Here and Now”: A Conversation with Egyptian Writer Basma Abdel Aziz – Linyao Ma talks to an Egyptian author and psychiatrist whose novels are “considered representative of Arabic dystopian fiction.”

Literary Hub: Dear Vladimir Putin: If You’ve Read Dostoevsky, You’ve Tragically Misunderstood Him – “Austin Ratner on Russian imperialism and misreading The Brothers Karamazov.” Is Boston experiencing a boom of bookstores? Yes, it is. – “It doesn’t take a brilliant amount of perception to see that Boston needed more bookstores.”

The Irish Times: ‘Girl problems’: Against treating complex women in literature as a ‘trope’ – “Don’t classify complex, diverse female characters as a Hot Mess Millennial, Unhinged, Sad Girl,” says Bea Setton.

NPR: Book by mom of six puts onus on men to stop unwanted pregnancies – Gabrielle Blair has had enough of men “grandstanding about abortion.” In her new book, Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion, she directs the focus on men’s lack of accountability in preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Forbes: A Trump Political Committee Bought $158,000 Worth Of Books Shortly After Jared Kushner Published His Best-Selling Memoir – “One of Donald Trump’s political committees spent $158,000 on books just weeks after Jared Kushner released his memoir,” reports Zach Everson.



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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23 replies

  1. The title of the Slate article (She’s 80, She’s Furious….) is this week’s winner 😀

  2. Nailed it with that opening quote!

  3. I couldn’t help laughing at your quote – sadly it feels rather appropriate at the moment. Great list from BBC Culture.

  4. Thank you for bringing these links to my attention! I especially loved the one about the woman who is 80 and wrote her first book, the one about Putin and Dostoyevsky, and most of all the one about Iceland and elves, which sent me to a book ordering site to order two copies to give to friends this Christmas!

  5. Thanks for the lovely links, Paula – such sad news about Carmen Callil.

  6. Great collection as always, I’m realistic about my ability to get through articles, so I’m prioritizing the one about Putin and The Brothers Karamazov, since I just finished the book! And had heard it was Putin’s fav. And Stalin’s.

  7. Lots of wonderful links, thank you! I’m glad you picked up the Putin/Dostoyevsky piece, reading that a few days ago was fascinating. Looking forward to reading ‘Cat Brushing’ which is sitting on my TBR along with another novel about older women, so glad to see these books getting published.

  8. Love the article about the 80-year-old who just published her first book! So there is hope…

  9. The TNR article on Michigan schools was so depressing I couldn’t read on. It really seems like the US is determined to sink itself as quickly as possible.

    • It’s an incredibly worrying time for school libraries in the US. Hard to believe in this day and age but the west in general seems to be completely losing the plot at present. I hardly dare think where it will all end.

  10. Your opening quote is so apt! I have missed seeing these posts. Were you having a break or did something go wrong at my end I wonder?

  11. “Ejaculate Responsibly” – A book all men should read, but how many actually will??

    I love that opening quote! I’ve never seen that one before.

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