Winding Up the Week #318

An end of week recap

To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know.”
 Barbara Kingsolver

An unpleasant combination of dodgy technology and rampant gastrobugs conspired last week to keep my wind up from you. What is more, this malign duo is also responsible for the paucity of litrolinks in the latest post. Thankfully, all nasties have now been shooed away and the winding resumed.

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:


Penguin: The essential books to read about neurodiversity – “Neurodiversity has existed in books for centuries – it just hasn’t always been diagnosed. Here, [Kat Brown presents] the best representations of neurodiverse characters and stories.” 

The New York Review: Living Outside of Time – “In Eugene Vodolazkin’s polyphonic novels, the past addresses historians to come, time seems to repeat itself, and the future brings a fundamental change in temporality,” writes Gary Saul Morson in this piece about the Russian scholar and author. 

On the Books by Margot Atwell: What to Watch in Book Publishing in 2023 – The executive director and publisher of Feminist Press highlights five publishing trends to watch this year.

Counter Craft: Fairy Tale as MFA Antidote – Lincoln Michel with “some writing advice from the stories that eschew all the writing advice.”

Elle: Can Poetry Heal a Broken World? – Carmen Maria Machado discovers “Ada Limón, [America’s] first Latina poet laureate, believes that the power of words can help us navigate this time of crisis.

Book Marks: 9 Fantastic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books For February – Natalie Zutter with a selection of fantasy and sci-fi books to read this month.

LARB: Let the Knife Speak: On José Rizal – Gina Apostol explores the works and cultural meanings of the great Filipino rebel-poet José Rizal.

Vanity Fair: The Power Imagines a World Where Women Hold a Dangerous Spark: First Look – “Toni Collette stars in the TV adaptation of the 2016 bestseller.”

LIBER: It Can’t Be Helped – Noelle McManus reviews Pathetic Literature, a collection of pieces from lesser-known classics by writers such as Franz Kafka, Samuel R. Delany and Gwendolyn Brooks, collated by the poet Eileen Myles.

The Millions: A Hundred Years of Norman Mailer – Mailer biographer and archivist J. Michael Lennon considers the author’s legacy on what would have been his 100th birthday.

Literary Hub: Ayşegül Savaş on the Work and Career of Turkish Writer Tezer Özlü – “Her voice was uniquely her own: consciousness distilled into narrative form,” writes Aysegül Savas.

Air Mail: Growing Up Gilman – In her memoir The Critic’s Daughter, Priscilla Gilman, whose parents were the critic Richard Gilman and the literary agent Lynn Nesbit, recalls a childhood spent with Toni Morrison and Susan Sontag.

France 24: Murakami to publish first new novel in six years – “Celebrated Japanese author Haruki Murakami will release his first new novel in six years this April, publisher Shinchosha announced.”

The Sydney Morning Herald: A prolific author gets back on his fictional bike – Philip Salom continues his fruitful love affair with the novel in a book about the establishment of communal bonds: Sweeney and the Bicycles.

Jacobin: The Hopeful Romanticism of John Keats – “John Keats’s verse — described by his contemporaries as ‘mental masturbation’ and poetry for bed-wetters — is often dismissed as embarrassingly sentimental. A new book by literary critic Anahid Nersessian finds subversive irony in the English Romantic’s poems,” says Helen Charman. 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize longlist: 12 authors, aged 39 and younger, compete for £20,000 cash prize – “Of the 12 longlisted authors, six are debutants and eight are women. The shortlist of six will be announced on March 23 and the winner, on May 11.”

National Book Foundation: National Book Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Announce the 2023 Science + Literature Selected Titles – “The National Book Foundation (NBF) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation [have] announced selected titles for the second year of the Science + Literature program.”

The Seattle Times: What if you gave a book signing and nobody came? Authors and bookstores share experiences – In-person author appearances are back, and for every standing-room-only reading, there might be a quiet event, with more empty chairs than occupied ones.

Newsroom: Bookstores hanging in – Steve Braunias with a progress report on New Zealand bookstores.

Christian Lorentzen’s Diary: The Cutesy and the Cruel – Christian Lorentzen revisits the much-discussed 2020 novel, American Dirt.

Forbes: How Will The Metaverse Change The Publishing Market? – Anna Belova looks at how the metaverse could reshape publishing as we know it.

The MIT Press Reader: On Karel Čapek’s Prophetic Science Fiction Novel ‘War With the Newts’ – “The Czech writer’s darkly humorous novel, published in 1936, anticipated our current reality with eerie accuracy.”

Prospect: Home invasion—by the book – “Laurent Mauvignier’s novel [The Birthday Party] turns a simple horror-film scenario into a thorough examination of fear in the modern age.”

Toronto Star: Great expectations?: Meet the Toronto group that’s been celebrating Charles Dickens’ birthday each year since 1905 – “The Toronto branch of the Dickens Fellowship celebrates the Immortal Boz and fundraises for the Holland Bloorview children’s hospital,” finds Edward Brown.

Publishers Weekly: Abraham Verghese’s Epic New Family History – Louisa Ermelino on The Covenant of Water, a decade-spanning new novel which traces the story of India, medicine and three generations of a strangely afflicted family.

The New Yorker: Rereading Russian Classics in the Shadow of the Ukraine War – Elif Batuman on “how to reckon with the ideology of Anna Karenina, Eugene Onegin, and other beloved books.”

BBC Middle East: Egyptians offered loans to buy books as inflation soars – “Egyptians are used to paying for costly items such as cars or washing machines in instalments, but rocketing inflation means they can now buy books this way.”

Electric Literature: 7 Stories About Goblins and Tricksters – Nzinga Temu wonders what may be lurking “in the shadows of the forest?”

Kirkus: Author Paul La Farge Dies at 52 – The American novelist, essayist and academic, Paul La Farge, died on 18th January.

Esquire: Inside Book Twitter’s Final(?) Days – ‘“It feels like the castle we made is being swept off the table by a billionaire’s tantrum,’ one writer says. Here, insiders tell [Sophie Vershbow] how book publishing will change if Twitter goes under.”

Eater: ‘The I Hate to Cook Book’ Fought Domestic Despair With Laughter – Aimee Levitt finds “Peg Bracken’s 1960 cookbook embraced the joys of convenience, mediocrity, and a well-timed shot of whiskey.”

The Guardian: Bookshelf etiquette. How to arrange your books – “James Purnell has been using his time to rearrange his bookshelves alphabetically. Bad mistake. Here’s why.”



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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25 replies

  1. I’m glad you are feeling better. 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear you’ve been ill, Paula, and had tech woes. Thank you for sharing the links to so many resources. This week I chose the article about neurodiversity in literature, the piece about Tezer Özlü about whom I knew nothing, and the exciting news that there’s another Murakami novel on the way. I enjoyed them all!

    • Thank you, Jan. It was one of those highly contagious things I picked up at a gathering – along with half the other people who attended. I feel tons better now anyhow.

      I’m so glad you found plenty of links to follow. Happy reading! 😊

  3. Good to see you back! I missed you last week. Begone dread lurgy!

  4. Hope both lurgies are now over. What a horrible start to the year. Enjoyed the piece about the book events where no-one showed up

  5. Hope you’re feeling better now Paula! Enjoyed the goblin list. How sad that the Egyptian publishing world is facing such a hard time (as are the people generally).

  6. Sorry to hear about the double bugs and hope all has passed now! Thanks also for the lovely links – and as for that guinea pig – ❤❤❤❤❤

    • Thank you for your kind words, Karen. I love guinea pigs – especially the funny little squeaks they make when conversing with each others. I was guinea pig grey last week but thankfully far more piglet pink today! 🐷

  7. Glad you’re feeling better Paula! I had a week off work two weeks ago, got all excited and went to various theatre things, then of course caught a lurgy and spent last week feeling rotten! Thankfully also past it now. Let’s hope we’re done with germs for the year now 😀

    I really like the cover of Dyke – so striking.

    • Thank you, Madame B. There are some really unpleasant germs circulating at present and no doubt we’re all far more susceptible to them after being in lockdown for so long. Anyhow, I’m glad to hear you are now lurgy-free. 🤒

      Dyke (geology) looks absolutely fascinating – but yes, it was initially the cover that caught my eye. 😀

  8. I found a book that seems like it will have necromancy in the article about new SF novels!

  9. Oh la! That’s a miserable combination to have to deal with, glad to hear the nasties have been chased away. It’s lovely to have you back this week. My eye was especially caught by the idea of fairy tales as a antidote to MFA cookie-cutter advice. Yes!💚

  10. Glad you’re feeling better and loved your links as ever!

  11. So sorry that you have been challenged. Hope you will continue to feel better.

  12. Nice article you shared on J. Michael Lennon and Mailer. I am going to attend the yearly Mailer conference, which is being held in Austin, Texas this year. Should be interesting as many family members will be there . . . plus Lennon.

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