Winding Up the Week #308

An end of week recap

Earth is what we all have in common.”
Wendell Berry

As you will know, COP 27, the UN’s Global Climate Conference, is currently taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh. This is an issue about which I feel very strongly – and I know many of you do, too – therefore, to show my support, this week’s wind up has a distinctly green hue, if I may describe it so. The stakes are high and the situation urgent, so I hope for all our sakes that those participating will find a way to limit global warming and avoid catastrophic climate change.

As ever, this is a 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.

* Take a Scander-Gander *

Norse literature lovers will, I know, be delighted to learn that Nordic FINDS is returning in the new year. Host, Annabel Gaskell, will dedicate “the first five weeks of 2023” to each of the countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden) – at the rate of one per week – which, she says, includes “a ‘gateway’ read for each one.” She invites you to participate in this Nordic-themed reading (and blogging) event and, perhaps, if you are “up for it,” take part in the “group read,” which will be The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. For all the gen, please head over AnnaBookBel’s NORDIC FINDS is back for Jan 2023.

* 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:


Nature: Old trees have much to teach us – Josie Glausiusz describes Elderflora, Jared Farmer’s examination of the world’s oldest trees, as an “expansive global history [exploring] humanity’s vexed relationship with venerable plants.”

OUPblog: Gandhi weaves: lyrical beauty in Mahatma Gandhi’s writing – While Harmony Siganporia always found Gandhi’s writing “incredibly coherent and often inspired,” she hasn’t necessarily “thought of it as lyrical,” and now realises this is because she “had not known where to look.”

Guardian Australia: ‘Remarkable’, ‘gorgeous’, ‘entertaining’: the best Australian books out in November – “Each month, Guardian Australia editors and critics pick out the upcoming titles they’ve already devoured – or can’t wait to get their hands on.”

Berfrois: Taint What You Do. It’s the Way That You Do It. – Samuel Jay Keyser sets out to prove that Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky isn’t really a nonsense poem.

4Columns: A Line in the WorldA Line in the World is described by Jennifer Kabat as a “collection of meandering essays by the Danish author Dorthe Nors,” in which she “takes the road less traveled.”

The Millions: The Original Fire: On Mary Shelley and Creativity – Bryan VanDyke opened Mary Shelley’s journal and “discovered the voice that would haunt [him] for weeks, months, and years to come.”

Literary Hub: Four Ukrainian Writers on Literature, Solidarity, and the Future of Justice – ‘Words and Bullets’ is a series of interviews with Ukrainian authors and journalists who became soldiers or volunteers in the war.

BBC Culture: Nushu: The secret language men don’t know – “Nushu – a 400-year-old script invented to allow women to communicate with each other without men understanding – has taken on new significance today. In BBC Culture’s Secret Languages series, a filmmaker describes discovering Nushu, and what it means to modern women.” 24 Best Climate Change Books To Read in 2022 – “In Earth.Org’s best climate change books, we see a world that is ambitious about humanity’s prospects, but humble about our place in nature,” writes Deena Robinson.

Prospect: How Goethe and Schiller ushered in the romantic age – “A circle of friends in a provincial German town revolutionised language, literature and the world. But they could never escape the petty absurdities of everyday life,” says Freya Johnston in her review of Andrea Wulf’s Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self. 

The Times: The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg review — a crash course in saving the planet The Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions is an “anthology of essays by a mix of scientists, writers and campaigners,” which, says Rhys Blakely, “is a useful guide to global warming.”

NPR: 10 books to read to learn about women’s plight in Iran – The latest uprising in Iran is about much more than mandatory hijab. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has compiled a list of books that offers insight into the lives of Iranian women and what is happening in their country.

Sweater Weather: Against Character Vapor – Brandon Taylor would like to “put characters back in bodies.” He discusses ‘character vapour’ in this piece adapted from a talk he recently gave in Michigan.

Air Mail: Mystery Man – “Eight Questions with Anthony Horowitz, the man behind Foyle’s War and Agatha Christie’s Poirot, a series of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond novels, and his own mystery TV show.”

Slate: How Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front Deviates From the Book—and WWI History – Fred Kaplan discovers the “gripping new film surpasses previous adaptations of Erich Maria Remarque’s story but gives it a very different ending.”

Goldsmiths: Collaborative novel wins the Goldsmiths Prize 2022 – “Diego Garcia, by Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams, is the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2022.”

Bookforum: Human Misbehavior – “Deep time and the Anthropocene in Kurt Vonnegut’s Galápagos.” An excerpt from Christina Jarvis’s Lucky Mud And Other Foma: A Field Guide to Kurt Vonnegut’s Environmentalism and Planetary Citizenship. 

Next City: Bike Libraries Are Boosting Access To Bikes Across The U.S. – “Campuses and libraries across the country are increasingly adding bikes to their inventory, increasing access to cycling along the way,” reports Cinnamon Janzer.

New Scientist: Climate fiction has come of age – and these fabulous books show why – “As the climate crisis grows, ‘cli-fi’ books are driving action by showing dark, all-too-possible futures, says climate researcher Bill McGuire” in this feature from February, in which he shares some of his favourites.

Vulture: The Velveteen Rabbit Was Always More Than a Children’s Book – “Margery Williams Bianco’s story [The Velveteen Rabbit] is a memorial to what we lose in exchange for adulthood,” writes Andrea Long Chu.

Astra: A Box Built in the Abyss – Jared Marcel Pollen on “two new fictions by [the Hungarian novelist] László Krasznahorkai.”

High Country: What can conservation learn from science fiction? – “New works by Western authors explore the brighter futures of our swiftly tilting planet,” writes Michelle Nijhuis.

Parapraxis: How to Elude the Critic – Maggie Doherty on Emily Ogden’s On Not Knowing.

The New India Foundation: Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2022 – The New India Foundation prize – awarded for “the best non-fiction book on modern / contemporary India” – has announced the shortlist for this year’s Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize.

Yale Climate Connections: New handbook explains how to advocate for the environment – Michael Svoboda finds that Advocating for the Environment: How to Gather Your Power and Take Action by Susan Inches “offers concrete, step-by-step instructions for environmental activism.”

The Guardian: Anthony Burgess translation of Molière’s The Miser comes to light for first time – Dalya Alberge reveals that a translation by the author of A Clockwork Orange, “complete with recording,” is being “hailed as [a] significant literary discovery.”

Words Without Borders: “I Want Others to Be Able to Read This”: Burkinabe Author Monique Ilboudo and Translator Yarri Kamara on So Distant from My Life – “Author Monique Ilboudo and translator Yarri Kamara discuss Burkina Faso’s literary scene and their collaboration on So Distant from My Life, recently published by Tilted Axis Press.”

Psyche: There is an unseen smuggling operation between fiction and reality – “We suggest that fiction and reality interact through some sort of trade exchange with all its dark sides and complexities. Some transactions occur in the light of day, while others happen under the table – we unconsciously import beliefs, desires and biases into fiction.”

3:AM Magazine: Pavements – Lucy Holt feels there is “something like an implicit, magical relationship between pavements, cafes and writing on pavement cafes.”

Euronews: Iceland’s prime minister releases her first crime thriller novel – “Katrín Jakobsdóttir, crime fiction fan and Iceland’s Prime Minister, has published her first thriller novel.”

Literary Hub: Diary of a Pilgrimage: Marking the Gravesite of Assia and Shura Wevill – “Emily Van Duyne’s Tribute to a ‘Lover of Unreason and an Exile’”.

The Korea Times: INTERVIEW – International Booker Prize-winning ‘Tomb of Sand’ breaks down borders, celebrates plurality of life – “Indian novelist Geetanjali Shree discusses her genre-defying masterpiece at SIBF.”



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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20 replies

  1. Climate fiction, the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Prize list, the climate change nonfic; lots going to end up on the TBR this week. Glad you included Nordic finds this month. Will try and plan some reads in advance, and try and join in.

  2. I really enjoyed the article on Jabberwocky. Thanks!

  3. I really appreciate your emphasis on green links this week, Paula, so many intriguing stories to investigate. My recent reading of Elif Shafak’s striking ‘The Island of Missing Trees’ fits into the theme perfectly too.💚

    • Thank you, Julé.😊

      Having spent quite a bit of time in Northern Cyprus, I’m fascinated by the Greek Cypriot – Turkish Cypriot issue. It’s an incredibly sad situation. The Island of Missing Trees is definitely on my TBR.

  4. It’s interesting I just commented on another blogger’s post about the book, All Quiet on the Western Front. I read the book several years ago. I have the seen the trailer for the new film on Netflix. I’ve not watched it. I have mixed emotions about films that are based on books. I like them to remain the same storyline for both-including the endings.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Annette.😊 I know exactly what you mean about altering storylines. I always grumble when adaptions deviate too far from the original – hence, I tend not to watch films of my favourite novels. The TV adaption of The Handmaid’s Tale is a good example. It is one of my favourite books and I could never bring myself to watch the show, which now seems to be into its gazillionth series!

  5. Wonderful selection as always Paula, and thank you for your focus this week. Off to check out the very tantalising mention of Mary Shelley’s Journal…

  6. Timely post, Paula, thank you. Very interesting things to follow up – I didn’t know that book by Kurt Vonnegut and would like to read it. He was in my mind already as I read this week in Letters of Note one that he wrote home about his time and treatment as a prisoner of war. It was so clear sighted and it set me wondering how these experiences affected what he wanted to write about. Also, while looking at the old trees in the Nature post I wondered if you had seen that the Woodland Trust have an inventory of ancient trees in the UK and anyone can join in by identifying them, visiting them to check on them and so on. Hope that’s not too much information! But here’s the link

  7. Thanks for the link to the Gitanjali Shree interview – I’m currently halfway through Tomb of Sand, and loving it.

  8. So Distant from my Life looks very interesting, though we might struggle to get it here, let’s hope that changes. And I’m excited about Nordic FINDS, as so often, I’m doing a challenge but going my own way with it: I’m going to use the time to finish a massive book of Icelandic sagas I’ve had forever!

  9. Fabulous again Paula. Thank you. If I were Iceland I would be worried if the Prime Minister had time to write thriller novels. Isn’t she supposed to be running the country?:)

  10. Amazing! Thanks, Paula. Well done indeed.

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