An end of week recap
“Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born. But before prehistory there was the prehistory of prehistory and there was the never and there was the yes.”
– Clarice Lispector (born 10th December 1920)
Meagre offerings, I’m afraid. It is proving to be a frenzied festive season with little time for literary link truffling, however, I hope you are all able to find a little something of interest in this week’s wind up.
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.
* 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:
Asian Review of Books: 2022: Round-up of “Best Books” lists – How did Asia fare in the ‘Best Books’ lists of 2022? “Not particularly well,” it would seem, despite the compilers “taking a broad view of what constitutes an ‘Asian’ book.”
CrimeReads: The Best International Crime Fiction of November and December – Molly Odintz with “4 works in translation to close out the year.”
BBC Gloucestershire: Rare Jane Austen books could sell for £100,000 – “A set of five first-edition Jane Austen novels could sell for more than £100,000 at auction,” reports Rod Minchin.
The Guardian: Midwinter magic: Robert Macfarlane on the enduring power of The Dark Is Rising – “Susan Cooper’s 1973 novel, newly adapted for a BBC audio series, has enthralled generations of children and writers with its folkloric tale of an English boy caught in a battle between light and dark,” says Macfarlane.
Entertainment, Weakly: An Irrelevance of Talent – “Bigots don’t really care about literature,” says Patrick Nathan in this piece on fascism and free speech in literature.
Air Mail: It’s Complicated – “A new film re-examines Tolstoy’s marriage—a subject that has inspired more than a century of commentary, from duelling novellas to literary mock trials,” finds Errol Morris.
Internet Archive Blogs: What is the Democracy’s Library? – “Democracies require an educated citizenry to flourish,” declares Brewster Kahle in this introduction to the Internet Archive Democracy’s Library.
iNews: How to Stand Up to a Dictator by Maria Ressa review: Terrifying, but the least we can do is read it – “The memoir and manifesto is a stark warning to anyone who takes democracy for granted.”
Nature: The doubt behind knowing, and insights in sci-fi: Books in brief – “Andrew Robinson reviews five of the best science picks.”
Baffler: The Father of All Secrets – Sam Adler-Bell on “John le Carré’s daddy issues.”
NPR: A visual feast: 6 favorite coffee table and gift books of 2022 – This year, Heller McAlpin’s “selection of visual delights highlights the work of artists and designers who have made an enduring impact,” including Lucian Freud, Elsa Schiaparelli and Patti Smith.
Literary Hub: Paul Lafargue on the Spectacle of Victor Hugo’s Funeral – It was, according to the Cuban-French revolutionary Paul Lafargue, the “most magnificent funeral of the century.”
Chicago Sun Times: Silent censorship of books is an attack on knowledge and open discourse – “A book is on a library shelf one day, then it’s gone. Any librarian or educator who stands up against those efforts runs the risk of being threatened,” says Samuel G. Freedman.
BookRiot: Why Book Blogs Still Matter in an Age of BookTok – Danika Ellis passionately fights the book bloggers’ corner.
China.org: Author of many talents plots next chapter of life – “Feng Tang, a doctor-turned businessman and writer, currently on a long sojourn in London, is working on two new books.”
Exberliner: “My rebellion is humour”: Jan Faktor on his novel, Trottel – “Czech-German novelist Jan Faktor speaks about his acclaimed new novel, Trottel [KiWi], his rebellious streak and why a moron makes the best narrator.”
HAARETZ: The Real Mystery Behind an Excellent Detective Story Set in Gaza – “Atef Abu Seif’s Running in Place was the first ever Gazan novel to be translated into Hebrew. So why can’t you find it in any Israeli bookstore?” asks Sheren Falah Saab.
The Irish Times: Sally Hayden wins An Post Irish Book of the Year award for My Fourth Time, We Drowned – “Journalist wins third major award for her first book, which highlights how Europe is failing refugees.”
Russia Beyond: Alexander Belyaev: How the pioneer of Soviet sci-fi predicted the future – “Largely thanks to this great fantasist, a whole cult of science fiction was born in the USSR. He himself has many fans, while many of his novels have been adapted into movies, including the famous The Amphibian Man.
The Prospect: What Annie Ernaux owes to memory – David McAllister finds “the French Nobel laureate has dedicated her life to literature.”
Penguin: The best new novels of 2023 – Penguin presents some of the “best books coming in 2023, from literary heavyweights to thrilling debuts.”
The Conversation: How the pandemic affected our approach to reading and interpretation of books – Ben Davies discovers that classic books like Jane Eyre took on new meanings while the lengths of others made us aware of our mortality.
Esquire: Inside the Game-Changing Trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover – “As Netflix’s adaptation debuts, [expert Chris Hilliard] walks us through the watershed obscenity trial that forever changed British social norms,” writes Adrienne Westenfeld.
The Observer: ‘Our mission is crucial’: meet the warrior librarians of Ukraine – “When Russia invaded Ukraine, a key part of its strategy was to destroy historic libraries in order to eradicate the Ukrainians’ sense of identity,” finds Stephen Marche. But he rapidly discovers, “Putin hadn’t counted on the unbreakable spirit of the country’s librarians.”
EL PAÍS: ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’: a stop-motion musical lesson in the dangers of fascism – “The Oscar-winning director’s genre-hopping adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s story recaptures some of the darkness and perversity of the original text,” reveals Javier Ocaña.
Good Reading: Geraldine Brooks on Tim Winton – “In the ‘Writers on Writers’ series, leading authors reflect on an Australian writer who has inspired and fascinated them. In this latest book, On Tim Winton, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks muses on […] one of her all-time favourites, four-time winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Tim Winton.
The Hindu: Life on the edge: Review of ‘Sherpa: Stories of Life and Death from the Forgotten Guardians of Everest’ by Ankit Babu Adhikari and Pradeep Bashyal – “Why the role of sherpas, who help climbers with technical advice and everything else, must never be forgotten.”
World Literature Today: World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2022 – Michelle Johnson with WLT’s outstanding translations of the past twelve months.
The New York Review: Houses of Holes – “Hiroko Oyamada’s novels inhabit the borderlands between fantasy and reality, an uncanny landscape played for horror and comedy,” writes Nathaniel Rich.
Publishers Weekly: How Publishers Make Old Books New Again – “Editors discuss how to create a classic introduction.”
Literary Hub: Our 38 Favorite Books of 2022 – Emily Temple spotlights her colleagues’ favourite books of the year.
Montreal Gazette: Our favourite things: Drawn and Quarterly bookstore is so Montreal – “From prose to poetry, non-fiction, and a wide range of graphic novels and cartoons, it’s at once utterly hip and completely unpretentious,” says T’Cha Dunlevy.
Post45 Data Collective: Major Literary Prizes – A comprehensive index of every major literary prize in the U.S. awarded in the last century.
The Moscow Times: Stores Pull LGBT-Themed Books as Putin Signs Expanded ‘Gay Propaganda’ Ban – According to the Novaya Gazeta Europe news outlet, “Russian bookstores have started removing LGBT-themed works from their catalogues after President Vladimir Putin signed a wide-reaching ban on expressions of LGBT identity into law.”
Historia: Christmas reading 2022 – our pick of top historical books – Frances Owen “asked nine well-loved authors to each recommend two historical books for Christmas 2022.” The subsequent list includes “many of the most absorbing books, fiction and non-fiction, published recently.”
Lapham’s Quarterly: Viewer Discretion Advice – Rachel Vorona Cote on “Lytton Strachey’s biographical legacy.”
Metropolis: My Impressions of Sada Abe – Depicting the famous crime of Sada Abe, a novelist provides insight into [its effects on] Japanese sexuality and gender politics.
Popula: What Is On the Bookshelves at Puck? – After examining a photo of Puck’s newsroom, Maria Bustillos concludes that the “future of media looks strangely sparse.”
Dorothy Parker’s Ashes: Literary Rejections: The Ultimate Quiz – “If you write, you must be able to tolerate rejection. Even the greatest of writers are sometimes told ‘No.’ See if you can match the rejection with its subject.”
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