Witchery of the Week #306

An end of week recap

While some monsters are born, others are created. But, the worst monsters are those who believe themselves to be heroes.”
E. H. Night

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.

* SciFiMonth 2022 *

If “wall to wall geekery, exploring other worlds, parallel dimensions, alternate timelines and weird science” float your spaceship, I suggest you head over to There’s Always Room For One More, where Imyril is preparing to “blast off” on 1st November. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, SciFiMonth is going all-out with your Top Ten SF topics this year, i.e., books, films, shows, games, feature tales about time travel, the #SmallPressBigStories initiative, favourite blogs, short stories, novellas and so much more. There will also be a read-along of The Galaxy And The Ground Within by Becky Chambers and a SciFiMonth Challenge. For further information you should boldly go to Countdown to SciFiMonth where you can join the crew and enter the sign-up giveaway.

* 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:


Vintage: Nine Vintage books to read this Halloween – “From a book on night-time ecology that sheds light on darkness to a collection of ghost stories, here are nine books to add to your reading list as the nights draw in.” 

Nation Cymru: Review: Adar Mud by Siân Rees – This book is one for my Welsh speaking readers (though, the review is written in English), which I hope will soon be translated. In her piece on Adar Mud (Mud Birds), Rebecca Roberts “strongly” recommends this “unremittingly bleak” but “skilfully-written, emotionally engaging, immensely powerful and important book.” 

BBC News: Sir Salman Rushdie has lost sight in one eye, agent Andrew Wylie says – “Author Sir Salman Rushdie has lost vision in one eye and the use of one hand following his stabbing in New York in August, his agent says.”

Publishers Weekly: Should a Duck Have Rights?: PW Talks with Martha Nussbaum – “In Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility (Simon & Schuster, Jan.), philosopher Nussbaum makes a case for animal rights.” 

Counter Craft: Data Won’t Save Art – “More thoughts [from Lincoln Michel] on book sales, publishing data, and algorithmic culture.”

Scroll.in: ‘Bibi’s Room’ is a crucial step towards acknowledging Urdu women writers of 20th century Hyderabad – “The focus of Nazia Akhtar’s book [Bibi’s Room] is on writers Zeenath Sajida, Najma Nikhat, and Jeelani Bano, and the socio-political conditions in which they wrote,” says Saloni Sharma.

CrimeReads: Horror Movie Criticism Perfect for Halloween – “What’s better than watching a horror movie?” asks Molly Odintz. “Reading a book about watching horror movies!” comes the reply.

Literary Hub: Read These 10 Books That Actually Scared Us… If You Dare – Emily Temple presents: “Spooky Season Recommendations from the Lit Hub Staff.”

The Millions: Coffee, the Great Literary Stimulant – Ed Simon with a literary ode to coffee.

The MIT Press Reader: The New Art of Making Books – Amaranth Borsuk shares an excerpt from her work, The Book, on “bookworks”.

The New Yorker: H.D.’s Art of Failure – “The modernist poet’s autobiographical novel HERmione, written in 1927 but not published until 1981, recounts a bisexual love triangle from her [Hilda Doolittle’s] youth,” finds Charlie Tyson.

The National: How Isobel Abulhoul wrote the book on literature from the UAE – Founder of the Emirates Literary Festival, “speaks about the evolution of the country’s literary scene in the five decades she’s lived there.”

Air Mail: Along Came Marilyn – “A newly discovered letter by Arthur Miller about his young bride, Marilyn Monroe, reveals the playwright’s rookie mistake: marrying a bombshell blonde he barely knew,” says John Lahr.

Vogue: Annie Proulx on Why “Fighting” Climate Change Is No Longer the Answer – The American novelist, short story writer and journalist Annie Proulx speaks to Liam Freeman about the climate crisis.

Ursula K. Le Guin: The 2022 Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction – Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s The House of Rust is the winner of the inaugural Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction. The two finalists were How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu and The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente.

Words Without Borders: Sharing Stories: A Brief Introduction to Sámi Literary History – “Mathilde Magga discusses the many languages, nationalities, and genres that make up the Sámi literary tradition.”

The Drift: Against Queer Presentism​ | How the Book World Neglects the Archive – Colton Valentine finds assumptions are often (incorrectly) made about queer writing being found only in the present.

EL PAÍS: Andrew Wylie, ‘The Jackal’ of books: ‘Amazon is like ISIS; it takes no prisoners’ – “The world’s leading literary agent speaks about Salman Rushdie, Stephen King, Donald Trump and the e-commerce giant.”

Nikkei: Foreign women writers give alternative view of Japan – Stephen Mansfield finds that works by women writers on Japanese culture and history, “reflect distinct sensibility through the ages.”

The Irish Times: Marcel Proust and Ireland: In search of connections – The Irish Proust event in Dublin explores “the impact of the author’s masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, on Irish writers.”

Poets & Writers: 5 Over 50: 2022 – Five debut authors over the age of 50 share their stories.

CuLTureFLY: 10 books that are perfect for spooky season – “There’s no better time to indulge in stories of supernatural beasties and psychological scares than spooky season,” writes Natalie Xenos in the introduction to her list of recommended Halloween page-turners.

BBC Culture: Enheduanna: The world’s first named author – “A little-known Mesopotamian poet and priestess, Enheduanna, is the subject of a new exhibition in New York. Diane Cole explores her influence – and looks at how she helped create a common system of beliefs throughout the ancient empire.”

3 Quarks Daily: Scent Of A Bookworm – Joan Harvey is perplexed. Why is it, she wonders, that “a substantial number of people […] wish to smell like old books”?

Berfrois: Lost in Flames? The Missing Great Australian Bushfire Novel – “Fire, a defining feature of Australian history, might have been expected to produce a great storyteller.” Not so, says John Schauble. Bushfires, it would seem, remain “largely absent from the nation’s fictional narrative.”

The Japan Times: Bookstores vanish from Japan as population falls – With the number of shops dwindling operators are finding that in order to survive, they need to exercise ingenuity.

Vulture: Relentless Angst and Uniformly Excellent Sex: How Colleen Hoover Became the Queen of BookTok – “It’s hard to overstate the staggering popularity of Hoover, known as CoHo to her fans,” says Kayleigh Donaldson of this “immensely prolific writer.”

Slate: My Eight Deranged Days on the Gone Girl Cruise – “By the time [she] found Gillian Flynn, [Imogen West-Knights] had lost [her] mind.”



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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8 replies

  1. Thanks Paula – Sci Fi Month sounds interesting (as if November didn’t have enough events…!)

  2. Another crop of wonderful stories to search out this week Paula, thank you. I’m already intrigued by the title ‘Data Won’t Save Art’!

  3. What a powerful opening quote, I’d not heard that before. And the Gone Girl cruise article looks hilarious – that’s my first stop from all your tempting links!

  4. Thank you for the heads up on Catherynne M Valente’s book, Paula, I will seek that one out. As we head towards summer, I hope the weather hasn’t become too cold too soon in your part of the world. Speaking of which, I read this article and thought of you. (Apologies if you have already mentioned it in an earlier post). Crime book lover that I am, I will delve into the books mentioned, possibly for Reading Wales next year:

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