Winding Up the Week #319

An end of week recap

Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”

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.

* Prepare Yourselves for Reading Wales ‘23 *

Ahead of Dewithon 2023, which commences on 1st March (Saint David’s Day), we make reading plans, discuss our national flower and invite members of the international book blogging community to immerse themselves in the literature of Wales. >> Are You Looking Forward to Reading Wales 2023? >> 

* Reading Ireland Month 2023 *

If Dewithon is on the horizon, then “The Begorrathon as it is affectionately known” can’t be far away. Cathy Brown of 746 Books is preparing to host the seventh Reading Ireland event between 1st and 31st March 2023 and she would “love for you to join [her]”. Last year she shared “over 100 [of your] posts on all things relating to Irish culture,” and is once again organizing themed weeks. Please head over to Reading Ireland Month is coming… for all you need to know about taking part.

* Lit Crit Blogflash *

I am going to share with you one of my favourite literary posts from around the blogosphere. There are so many talented writers posting high-quality book features and reviews, it is difficult to pick only this one – which was published over the last week or so:

“…the simple gift of our physical attention…” – In “a change from the kind of thing you usually see on the Ramblings,” Karen Langley shares her thoughts on Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time by Sheila Liming – “a fascinating work which explores the frantic state in which we find ourselves in the modern world.” It would seem we have “lost the simple art of […] being together with other people in unstructured social situations where we can simply chat,” and Liming makes a case for “log[ging] out of work mode when our working day ends” and “resetting our systems.” Karen describes the author as “an erudite commentator” and declares this “radical text” a “brilliant reminder of the value of hanging out” that truly “resonated” with her.

* 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:


Literary Hub: Endpapers – An excerpt from Jennifer Savran Kelly’s debut LGBT novel Endpapers – the story of a bookbinder who works in conservation at the Met.

Hazlitt: A Brief History of the Clinch – Victoria Lessard on “the most iconic image in romance novel history.” 

Guardian Australia: Melbourne author Jessica Au wins $125,000 for ‘quietly powerful’ novella – “Five of the eight winners at this year’s Victorian premier’s literary awards are debuts, with Au winning two categories for her second book, Cold Enough for Snow.”

Ms.: The Renaissance of Feminist Bookstores – “In the face of book bans and attacks on women’s and LGBTQ rights, vibrant activist communities are coalescing around feminist bookstores,” writes Kathleen B. Casey.

Ars Technica: The physics of James Joyce’s Ulysses – Jennifer Ouellette finds the “101-year-old novel shows that ‘physics and literature are not mutually exclusive’.”

Antigone: Tempora Mutantur: Two Decades as a Classics Librarian – Charlotte Goodall discusses change and continuity in Classics collections.

Mint Lounge: English publishing in India is finally discovering the world of Hindi literature – “English-language publishers have been engaging with Hindi literature at an unprecedented pace and translations between the languages is only poised to grow.”

Air Mail: A “Russian Proust”? – Deceit, the first novel by Yuri Felsen, a forgotten Russian writer murdered in Auschwitz, is back in print after a century, in a new translation by Bryan Karetnyk.

The York Press: Lucius Books plans big bookstore in home of Ken Spelman BooksLucius Books plans big bookstore in home of Ken Spelman Books – “A historic building in York which housed a bookstore for more than 100 years is to return to selling books in 2024,” says Darren Greenwood.

Africa is a Country: Dreams of freedom – “A historical novel by Sudanese writer Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin narrates an unusual love story between a slave and a princess,” finds Ari Gautier.

Hippocampus Magazine: Review: Let Me Count the Ways: A Memoir by Tomás Q. Morín – Emily Webber discovers Morín’s memoir, Let Me Count the Ways, “offers a beautifully written account of family love and survival amid the challenges of addiction.”

Literary Hub: Inside the Picture Perfect—and Highly Lucrative—Business of Book Styling – “Chiara Dello Joio digs into the contradictions of books as décor.”

The Spectator: A treasury of wisdom about the writing life – “In an extraordinary daily record of life’s minutiae, Toby Litt oscillates between the trivial and the transcendent, often on the same page,” says Jude Cook of A Writer’s Diary.

The Baffler: A Good Death – “Instruction manuals for living written by the dying” – Kristen Martin discusses Adina Talve-Goodman essay collection, Your Hearts, Your Scars.

iNews: Female non-fiction authors paid less and told to avoid big subjects, say backers of new prize – “Female non-fiction writers get paid less and are told only men write about the ‘important subjects.’ Now a new Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction aims to correct a sexist imbalance,” learns Adam Sherwin.

The Markaz Review: Reading Iraq: Our Top 10 List of Iraqi Fiction – Rana Asfour with a list of “must-read” Iraqi fiction.

The Booker Prizes: ‘You do this or you die’: how Ben Okri wrote The Famished Road – “In [the Booker’s] new film, Ben Okri, the first Black winner of the Booker Prize, explains how he had to create fresh techniques to tell a story rooted in his African childhood.”

Telegram & Gazette: ‘A lifelong dream’: Douglas couple’s love of tomes leads to opening of bookstore – Canada’s newest bookstore has just opened in Douglas, outside Vancouver.

The New York Times Magazine: ‘Breasts and Eggs’ Made Her a Feminist Icon. She Has Other Ambitions. – “Will the Japanese novelist Mieko Kawakami’s stark explorations of class translate to American readers?”

The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Mistress of Slang – “Madeline Kripke assembled what may be the largest personal dictionary collection in the world. It is certainly the bawdiest,” reveals Heidi Landecker.

Arts Hub: Book review: Creative Differences and Other Stories, Graeme Simsion – Creative Differences is a “novella and collection of stories from the creator of the ‘Rosie’ series.”

Aeon: We’ve always been distracted – “Worried that technology is ‘breaking your brain’? Fears about attention spans and focus are as old as writing itself,” says Joe Stadolniki.

Lapham’s Quarterly: Dictating the Desert – “Plants and settlers take root in a new mythology of Arizona” by Natalie Koch.

BBC Culture: Colette: The most beloved French writer of all time – “An icon in her native France, Colette’s scandalous life and works still captivate readers 150 years on from her birth, writes John Self.”

High Country News: Books to see us through – Hazel Whitham firmly believes “the written word can provide shelter for whatever is coming.”

Daily Maverick: Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa rails against social media disinformation in ‘How to Stand Up to a Dictator’ – “From the recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, How to Stand Up to a Dictator is an impassioned and inspiring memoir of a career spent holding power to account.”

Le Monde diplomatique: Walking tall again – “Great social movements are never satisfied with just making demands. They seize hold of their participants and transform them. This was Annie Ernaux’s experience during the November-December 1995 general strikes in France.”

The Atlantic: What ChatGPT Can’t Teach My Writing Students – “Learning to write trains your imagination to construct the person who will read your words,” says Jonathan Malesic.

The Guardian: In praise of dog-eared pages: the joy, memories and gentle ghosts to be found in beloved books – “Some find folding down the corners akin to literary vandalism. For Jane Howard, to revisit those paper scars is to be haunted by – and reminded of – a past self.”

Compact: Anatomy of a Book Cancellation – “What motivates the anti-colonialist cancellers? On the surface, of course, they believe that I’m wrong. But only on the surface. They could react, as thoughtful people do react to things they object to, with sceptical, critical curiosity,” writes Nigel Biggar.

The Skinny: Bad Cree by Jessica Johns – “Jessica Johns’ debut [Bad Cree] is an atmospheric folk horror that examines the impossibility of escaping cultural and familial trauma through the story of a young Cree woman,” writes Venezia Castro.

LARB: Plagues and Painting with Words: Glimpses of Orhan Pamuk’s Writing Process – Erdağ Göknar discusses Orhan Pamuk’s writing notebooks and how they illuminate his new novel Nights of Plague.

Medievalist: New Medieval Books: A History of Chinese Literature – Review of A History of Chinese Literature by Zhang Longxi.

The Nation: Bullying Librarians Is for Know-Nothings – Katrina vanden Heuvel on “why the GOP’s war on books is ripe for cancellation.”

Asian Review of Books: “The Thorn Puller” by Hiromi Ito – Hiromi Ito’s The Thorn Puller “is a masterpiece. A poet’s lyricism shines in the novel,” writes Alison Fincher.

Books Ireland: Little Island Books acquires Alan Titley’s retelling of The Táin – “Little Island acquires retelling of The Táin by Alan Titley—a chaotic, anarchic story of heroism, love, loyalty and more.”

Reuters: Ukraine withdraws 19 million Russian, Soviet-era books from libraries – Ukraine has withdrawn approximately 19 million copies of books from its libraries that came from the Soviet era or were written in Russian.

The Bookseller: Fitzcarraldo snaps up ‘enthralling’ book of diaries from Heti – Katie Fraser reveals that Fitzcarraldo will publish Alphabetical Diaries, a composition of diaries from Canadian author Sheila Heti.

Jewish Review of Books: A Perfect Spy? – “Was the original James Bond a Jew from Odessa?” wonders A.E. Smith.

Ars Technica: Lost and found: Codebreakers decipher 50+ letters of Mary, Queen of Scots – Jennifer Ouellette finds a “cache of letters sheds new light on Mary Stuart’s years of captivity in England.” 



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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14 replies

  1. Another great selection, Paula, and thanks for sharing my post! 😀

  2. Loads of literary activity going on all around the globe makes my heart sing, Paula, even though I know I’ll never be able to do more than scratch the surface – so thanks for this regular reminder. 🙂 And for Dewithon too!

  3. Lots of intriguing treats here to explore over the coming days, thank you Paula!🌻

  4. Oooh, I missed the Colette article – thank you! For Dewithon, would it be OK to read a novel set in Wales but not by a Welsh writer (Detour by Gerbrand Bakker)? It’s been in the TBR forever so I thought this could be a good incentive 🙂

  5. Thanks for that link to the recommended books from Iraqi authors. Several there to tempt me – unfortunately none are available in the library….

  6. Back in top form, Paula! And thank you for the Dewithon23 Reading Wales hint 🙂

  7. I’m able to do Dewithon and Reading Ireland this year for the first time in a while, it’s usually either/or. In fact I have two books for each. Let’s hope a virus doesn’t derail me as much as one has derailed my reviewing and ReadIndies reading this month!

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