Winding Up the Week #310

An end of week recap

The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.”
Terry Pratchett

I will be setting off from home at worm-catching o‘clock tomorrow morning to take a train to Liverpool, meet friends for lunch and see a play at the Epstein Theatre (Masquerade, should you be curious), which is why this week’s wind up has appeared a day early.

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.

* Watch Those TBR Stacks Tumble in ‘23 *

Adam Burgess (aka the Roof Beam Reader), has announced his “official TBR Pile Challenge is back” for the tenth year – an event in which he asks participants to pick twelve titles from their bookshelf backlogs, sign up with Mr. Linky (highlighting their chosen “master list”) and spend the entirety of 2023 reading and reviewing each one. If you are desperate to diminish those precariously balanced book piles, please head over to Sign-Ups: The TBR Pile Challenge Turns Ten! #TBRYEAR10 to see Adam’s personal selection and peruse all the relevant information. Here you can “[l]eave comments on the monthly posts as you go along” and hopefully confirm you have conquered those precipitous stacks – making you eligible to be entered into a competition to win “up to $100 of books from The Book Depository!”

* Irresistible Items *

Umpteen fascinating articles appeared on my bookdar last week. I generally make a point of tweeting (soon, perhaps, Mastodonning) 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 Rumpus: I’m a Firm Believer in Timing: An Interview with Ruben Degollado – Daniel A. Olivas chats to the author of The Family Izquierdo about “his writing process, literary inspirations, and entering the writing life without an MFA.” 

BBC Wales: Agatha Christie: How donations from The Mousetrap shaped the arts – “Seventy years ago this month, a theatrical phenomenon and a nine-year-old boy changed the face of Welsh arts,” reports Neil Prior.

Harper’s: Apocalypse Nowish – “The sense of an ending.” In this essay, the author Michael Robbins examines the end of the world in literature.

The Millions: What Kind of Angel: On Percy Shelley – “Two hundred years ago this summer, the maddeningly reckless poet Percy Bysshe Shelley rode a double masted sailboat straight into the maw of a storm off the coast of Italy. He drowned…” Bryan VanDyke looks back at the life of this rash Romantic.

The New York Review: Resurrecting the Poets of Tbilisi – “A new museum tells the story of the Soviet taming of Georgia’s intelligentsia. The echoes today are growing louder,” finds Maya Jaggi.

The Asian Age: The soul of a river, poured into saga of fatherhood and crime – “Roy’s success,” Sucheta Dasgupta feels, “lies in the fact that it is actually comforting to read her work not just for the clarity but also the beauty it generates.” Here she reviews Black River, the Indian author’s new murder mystery set in and around Delhi.

Los Angeles Times: Want to see more Latinos in books? Start by reading these – In an era when Latino representation in books is still sorely lacking, Gustavo Arellano suggests four books released in 2022 that show what happens when authors take it upon themselves to tell their community’s tales.

Ploughshares: A Fierce Feminist Take on the Troubles in Factory Girls – Ellen Duffer finds that Michelle Gallen’s novel, Factory Girls, enriches the Troubles narrative with a fierce cast of young women determined to reject the violence of their youth.

Arts Hub: Book review: Safar, Sarah Malik – Mia Ferreira reviews Safar, an “illustrated book exploring travel through a series of interviews with Muslim women from diverse backgrounds” by the award-winning Australian journalist Sarah Malik.

Book Riot: Helena Bonham Carter Named London Library’s First Female President – The British actress, Helena Bonham Carter is to become the first female president of a 181-year-old library that counts Charles Dickens as a founding member.

Bookforum: No Man’s Land – Trevor Quirk rereads Baron Bagge, Alexander Lernet-Holenia’s newly reissued novel of World War I – translated from German by Richard and Clara Winston, and with a foreword by Patti Smith.

Astra: Derek Jarman in Paradise – Across his artistic mediums, Derek Jarman was often fixated on the concept of paradise. His recently recovered novella, Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping, is no exception, finds Cal Revely-Calder.

Bad Form: Ancestral Stories – Emmy Yoneda hadn’t dealt with grief “with such physical distance between [her] and the person [she had] lost before [her] grandma” – and she wasn’t prepared “to answer the questions that had somehow [been] kept quiet until she passed.” She came across Iman Mersal’s How to Mend: Motherhood and Its Ghosts and Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother in her quest to build a bridge between herself and her grandmother, “who was now on the other side of life.”

The Conversation: The best fiction of 2022: Zoe Gilbert’s Mischief Acts and reclaiming the myths of the natural world – “Our tales of the natural world are disappearing, and we shouldn’t let them.” Jo Bedford reviews Mischief Acts, Zoe Gilbert’s recently published fantasy novel set in Sydenham and Dulwich Woods in South London. Geetanjali Shree’s ‘Tomb of Sand’ shares 2022 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation with ‘Osebol’ – For the first time in the award’s history, the “£1,000 prize will be divided equally between the writers and their translators.”

Radio Prague International: The Egg and I: Why is 1945 US bestseller topping Czech readers’ lists? – A new book by the literary theorist, Jiří Trávníček attempts to answer the question, why The Egg and I – a 1945 memoir by American writer Betty MacDonald – is “one of the most popular books among Czech readers”?

Asian Review of Books: “On Java Road” by Lawrence Osborne – Lawrence Osborne’s latest novel, On Java Road, which is set in Hong Kong, is “a story of friendship, betrayal and, perhaps, redemption,” says Susan Blumberg-Kason.

The Nation: Michelle de Kretser’s Unsettled Australia – Michelle de Kretser’s novels examine how migration and globalization have changed Australia’s identity and relation to the rest of the world.

Iran International: Iranian Translators Express Solidarity With Protest Movement – “More than three hundred Iranian translators have joined other professional groups expressing their support for the protest movement against the Islamic Republic.”

The Atlantic: Why Maus was Banned – “What makes the book controversial is exactly what makes it valuable,” says Hillary Chute.

Literary Hub: The Antidote to Everything: Kenneth C. Davis on the Balm of Short Novels – Kenneth C. Davis has decided that a “short novel is like a great first date.”

BBC Nottingham: Julie Bindel: Row over author’s trans views cost council £10,000 – “A council spent more than £10,000 on legal fees and handed out £570 in compensation after “unlawfully” banning an event hosted by an author.”

Lapham’s Quarterly: Choice Reading – “Nineteenth-century New York City was filled with books, bibliophilia, and marginalia,” finds Denise Gigante.

Air Mail: “Why Can’t You Write Normal?” – Jason McBride’s Eat Your Mind recounts “Kathy Acker’s journey from daughter of Sutton Place to genre- and gender-bending cult novelist.”

BBC Culture: The Well of Loneliness: The book that could corrupt a nation – “While its literary value has been questioned, and many of its values now appear outdated, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness still holds a place as a beacon for sexual self-discovery, writes Hephzibah Anderson in BBC Culture’s Banned Books series.”

The Asahi Shimbun: Literary giant Mori Ogai’s favorite dishes recreated, served – The Tsuwano Inn Association in the hometown of Japanese “literary giant”, Mori Ōgai “is trying to capitalize on [the writer’s] fame” by serving some of his favourite dishes “recreated on the basis of recollections of his daughters and others” close to him.

The Fence: Do I Dare to Eat a Peach? – Some months ago, TF was shown the letters of T. S. Eliot, which were, in their opinion, “some of the most boring things [they had] ever read.” They “asked Dr Michelle Alexis Taylor, an Eliot expert, what she thought on the matter.”

Salon: Secrets of the Dick Francis mysteries: One family kept the “greatest fiction factory” under wraps – “The horse-racing themed thrillers have lasted 60 years, thanks to the efforts of a talented lineage,” reveals Zac Bissonnette.

Pitchfork: The 15 Best Music Books of 2022 – From “a fond remembrance of a lost friend through the lens of ’90s pop culture [to] an impassioned testimonial to the power of Black women in pop […and] Nick Cave’s frank conversations on grief and loss,” Pitchfork presents its favourite music books of the year.

Middle-aged and Out of Touch: Dispatches from the frontlines of ennui – The American novelist Fiona Maazel has started a new Substack newsletter.

The Verge: Feds arrest Russians allegedly behind ‘world’s largest’ pirated ebook library – “The US government arrested two Russian individuals accused of running Z-Library, a site that housed over 11 million pirated ebooks,” reports Emma Roth.

Vulture: Big on BookTok: What Happens When an Unexpected Audience Embraces Your Work – Chelsea Summers never expected her novel about a menopausal food critic who kills and eats her ex-lovers to find a wellspring of Gen-Z enthusiasm.



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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10 replies

  1. Yet another bumper crop – thanks Paula! And glad to see you have the mastodon backup plan in place – I have followed you! 😀

  2. Thank you for enlightening me re Mastodon social network for Wales!

  3. Thank you for gifting us with these lovely links, I was especially struck by the NYRB piece on the museum that tells the stories of Georgian writers. Hope you had a wonderful time!

  4. Very much enjoyed the piece on Dick Francis whose books have always been part of our home library. My parents always read him. And I see two of my TBR books, Tomb of Sand which I finally acquired this week and The Egg and I in your links this week. I’ve read a cat-ty book by Nilanjana Roy but didn’t know she wrote mysteries too. Must look them up.

  5. Thanks for a wonderfully varied smorgasbord of lit treats. Stay warm, ’tis the season to be jolly, etc.

  6. Hello. Ever read anything by Isaac Asimov? He was incredibly prolific as a writer. I just read his Puzzles Of The Black Widowers. It’s entertaining. Neil S.

  7. I loved that article about short novels at Lit Hub!
    I hope you had a great day trip to Liverpool yesterday! 🙂

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