Winding Up the Week #320

An end of week recap

Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.”
 Toni Morrison (born 18th February 1931)

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.

* 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:

An explosion of strong female voices. Balkan Bombshells: Contemporary Women’s Writing from Serbia and Montenegro compiled and translated by Will Firth – From a “feminist folkloric horror tale” to “excerpts from an emotionally charged diary,” Balkan Bombshells led roughghosts’ Joseph Schreiber on “a journey through some of the rich fictional landscapes envisioned by contemporary Serbian and Montenegrin women writers.” Described as a “multi-generational anthology,” containing “seventeen powerful pieces from both established and newer authors,” this diverse collection runs only to 143 pages, which Joseph feels is “just enough” to give readers “an entertaining and intriguing introduction to a wide range” of writers while hopefully “reach[ing] a broader audience in translation.”

* 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:


Ploughshares: Courage and Craft in Wanting: Women Writing About Desire – Kaitlyn Teer discovers the contributors to Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters’s new anthology Wanting risk sharing their desires on the page in empowering personal essays that demonstrate astonishing courage. 

The Atlantic: Go Ahead and Ban My Book – “To those who seek to stop young people from reading The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood says: “Good luck with that. It’ll only make them want to read it more.”

Exberliner: Turkish literature in Germany: Books beyond the Bosphoros – “With decades of connection between Türkiye and Almanya, Berlin’s readers need to get on board with Turkish and Turkish-German literature.” 

The New Yorker: The Defiance of Salman Rushdie – “After a near-fatal stabbing—and decades of threats—the novelist speaks [to David Remnick] about writing as a death-defying act.”

The Irish Times: A writing life’s long afterglow: How EM Forster inspired Lucy Caldwell to finish her story – “Caldwell, the latest winner of a prize funded by the royalties of the novel Maurice, reflects on conquering shame.”

EL PAÍS: Nobel winner Mario Vargas Llosa inducted into Académie Française – “The Spanish-Peruvian writer is the first to access the hallowed institution without having ever written in French. The ceremony was attended by former Spanish monarch Juan Carlos,” reports Marc Bassets.

Prospect: Meet the archive moles – “There’s a growing band of people digging through library stacks and second-hand bookshops in search of lost classics.” Lucy Scholes declares herself “one of them.”

Tribune: Poetry on the Shop Floor – “With strong union backing, the legendary playwright Arnold Wesker fought to bring the arts into workplaces, canteens, and peoples’ daily lives out of a conviction that the labour movement must fight for both cultural and economic change,” says Bertie Coyle.

World Literature Today: New Ways of Being in Contemporary Eco-Lit – “Contemporary eco-lit seeks to bear witness to the gravest atrocities our civilization can imagine, link and intertwine their histories to the present, and, finally, offer up transformative bright spots—visions and whispers of new ways of being,” writes A. E. Copenhaver.

The Guardian: John Finnemore to write Cain’s Jawbone murder-mystery sequel – “The official follow-up to the 1934 puzzle book, which saw a resurgence thanks to TikTok, is being written by the comedy writer who was one of the few people to solve the original,” reveals Sarah Shaffi. ‘The Blue Women’: The women in Anukrti Upadhyay’s short stories are unusual and unforgettableThe Blue Women is “the novelist’s first book of short stories,” says Diya Sengupta.

Lapham’s Quarterly: A Wiser Sympathy – Mary Kuhn looks back at how “Emily Dickinson, scientists, and other writers theorized plant intelligence in the nineteenth century.”

The Citizen: Tanzania bans ‘Diary of Wimpy Kid’ for being ”immoral’ – Somewhat bizarrely, stores in the East African country of Tanzania have been ordered to remove Jeff Kinney’s books from their shelves.

The Guardian: Forensic study finds Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was poisoned – “The toxin clostridium botulinum was in his body when he died in 1973, days after Chile’s military coup.” Nation’s greatest ancient literary artifacts, manuscripts go on display – “Some of China’s greatest ancient literary artifacts and manuscripts have been put on display at Beijing’s National Museum of Classic Books, offering a rare insight into the development of the country’s writing system and culture.”

Public Books: Magnificent Wreck: Samuel Taylor Coleridge at 250 – Matthew Redmond explores ways in which to interpret Coleridge’s voluminous patchwork of triumphs, fragments, stolen snippets and unrealized plans. “Does any larger pattern emerge?” he wonders.

The Public Domain Review: The Emancipatory Visions of a Sex Magician Paschal Beverly Randolph’s Occult Politics – Lara Langer Cohen “considers the neglected politics of Randolph’s esoteric writings” – an “occult thinker who believed that his multiracial identity afforded him ‘peculiar mental power.’”

Quill & Quire: Clara at the Door with a Revolver: The Scandalous Black Suspect, the Exemplary White Son, and the Murder that Shocked Toronto – “In Clara at the Door with a Revolver, Carolyn Whitzman re-examines the historical record of a sensational crime and the life of the woman accused of murder.”

Metropolis: How Kyoto Breaks Your Heart – Eric Margolis on “Florentyna Leow’s gustatory sketch of love and heartbreak in Kyoto.”

Women’s Prize for Fiction: Vulnerability is a writer’s strength – “When aspiring writer Tara O’Sullivan was longlisted for the Discoveries Prize in 2022, she was convinced her name had been attached to the wrong entry. Here Tara tells us about facing imposter syndrome, finding strength in a community of women writers – and why vulnerability is a writer’s secret weapon.”

Gizmodo: A Dolphin Charts Her Own Destiny in Laline Paull’s New Immersive Novel, Pod – “British author Laline Paull “plunges into the ocean [with Pod] her latest natural-world tale.”

The Moscow Times: Choices Narrow in Russian Bookstores Amid Anti-LGBT Law, Wartime Restrictions – “Ordinary Russians are unable to access an increasingly broad range of literature as bookshops and libraries pull titles from their shelves amid a wartime crackdown on political dissent.” 

The Herald Scotland: Even for great writers, the pursuit of truth is perilous – Dani Garavelli on the cost, ethics and dilemmas of writing about one’s own life.

OUPblog: Is Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas an Irish novel? – “When Sheridan Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas appeared in 1864, its author was best known as the proprietor of the Dublin University Magazine and a writer of Irish historical novels. Yet, as advised by his publisher, [he] produced a work of fiction situated not in the Irish past but the English present,” writes Claire Connolly.

Chicago Sun Times: As libraries turn the page on bookmobiles, something is lost – “Many people fondly recall bookmobiles as rolling sanctuaries where they learned their love of books.”

The Sunday Times: Tavistock scandal ‘on a par with East German doping of athletes’ – New book [Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children by Hannah Barnes] on NHS child gender clinic reveals how staff ‘regret’ routinely referring under-16s for puberty blockers.

Penguin: How to read a book a day for a month – and survive – “Reckon you could read a new, full book every day and keep it up for a month? [Alice Vincent] did, and this is what [she] learned.”

The Japan News: Japan to Promote Its Literature by Boosting Translator Training – “The government is planning to promote Japanese novels, essays and other literature by cherry-picking translators and providing them with high-end skills.”

Wired: Audiobook Narrators Fear Apple Used Their Voices to Train AI – “After a backlash, Spotify paused an arrangement that allowed Apple to train machine learning models on some audiobook files.”

The Critic: The Enlightenment as reading project – “This book [Gary Kates’s The Books that Made the European Enlightenment: A History in 12 Case Studies] is not a history of ideas, nor book history, nor cultural history, but something much more,” says David Wootton.

Evening Standard: Millionaire at 26: how Jessica George’s new novel Maame became the hottest debut of 2023 – “The 28-year-old’s fictional tale sold for seven figures, is a New York Times bestseller and is already being turned into a TV series set in London, with comparison to Candice Carty-Williams’ novel Queenie. Katie Strick meets” the author of Maame.

The Continental Literary Magazine: Wanted! The Mysterious Absence of Eastern European Noir – Bestselling Hungarian crime novelist Vilmos Kondor investigates the illusive Eastern European noir and its apparent impossibility under socialist dictatorship.

Good Reading: Kate Forsyth’s Writing Room – “Kate Forsyth is one of Australia’s most beloved authors who weaves her tales around her passion for stories and history. [GR] asked Kate for a peek inside her writing place to discover what ignites her writing [and found] a treasure trove of history and inspiration.”

Deadline: ‘Great Expectations’ Teaser: Olivia Colman’s Miss Havisham Meets Young Pip in Steven Knight’s Dickens Adaptation – Nancy Tartaglione with a teaser trailer for the upcoming Great Expectations adaptation starring Olivia Colman.

BBC Newsbeat: Stormzy reveals ‘extremely talented’ #Merky Books 2023 winner – “The winner of Stormzy’s #Merky Books prize says it has shown the growing appetite for books written by queer, black authors,” reports Ellie Cleverley.

Los Angeles Times: How Octavia Butler inspired a pathbreaking Black-owned Pasadena bookstore – Nikki High’s family was nervous about her starting a new business, but she was determined to honour Octavia Butler’s legacy.

Literary Review: Poets Against Putin – Robert Chandler considers the place of a new anthology of verse written by Russian poets opposed to Putin’s war in the corpus of Russian war literature.

The Wall Street Journal: ‘A Mystery of Mysteries’ Review: Edgar Allan Poe, Through the Pale Door – “The author of The Purloined Letter left behind a final riddle: his unexplained, anguished end.”

The Korea Herald: LTI Korea to set new rules for translation award after AI translation sparks controversy – “A translator who is not fluent in Korean winning the webtoon category at the 2022 Korea Translation Award has sparked controversy about the use of artificial intelligence in translation,” reports Hwang Dong-hee.

The Age: Full of libidinous loins and now mouldy, I can’t throw away D.H Lawrence – Richard Glover finds it impossible to throw away his old novels, no matter how much dust and grit they bring to the shelves. 



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

Tags: , , ,

17 replies

  1. Thanks for linking my review of Balkan Bombshells. Such a great little collection!

  2. Another wide-ranging selection, Paula, thanks! The Coleridge piece in particular caught my eye and now I want to dig out my ancient Paladin copy of The Road To Xanadu: A Study In The Ways Of the Imagination by John Livingston Lowes which I read decades ago and got so much out of! I hope I hung on to it…

    • Thank you, Chris. 😊

      You can still buy Livingston’s book online but it’s rather expensive. Copies seem to range from £33 for a 2007 version to £292 for one published in 2016, which seems rather bizarre! Anyhow, I hope you find your original. If not, perhaps your local library will have a copy.

  3. Thank you for a lovely selection, Paula. My eye was caught by the piece in The Continential Literary Magazine on Eastern European noir, especially after recently reading a wonderful noir crime fiction from Ukraine. And bookmobiles! Brings back good childhood memories…

  4. I was particularly interested in “poets against Putin” this week. Thanks for sharing some of your wide range of reading!

  5. A wonderfully bumber collection of links this week Paula – thank you for your hard work! 😀

  6. I always like your post as soon as I’ve read the quotation. 😁 Today I am drawn to so many other things – I note the mention of Eco lit (perhaps that is going to help me tell someone where my current WIP will belong on a book shelf – although I can’t help resisting being put in my place!). I am encouraged by Poets against Putin because someone somehow has to get through to the great Russian public. If only in the future. And so much more! Thank you, Paula 💜

  7. I think Archive Mole might be my ideal job 😀 Thank you as always Paula!

  8. This seems like a particularly rich list! As always – thank you for doing this. I find it very helpful even when I don’t follow all the links.

  9. I know a lot of what we consider classic books and much-loved kids books too are being “cancelled” or rewritten to suit today’s narrative. I’ve never read Diary of a Wimpy Kid before but it certainly makes you curious to think something so seemingly innocuous would be banned. I read the article you linked to and 16 books in the series have been banned (never knew there were that many, I thought it was just one book!) and they’re encouraging parents to ensure kids don’t have any such books in their bags and to check they’re not reading them on the sly at home. That’s pretty outrageous, isn’t it? The reasoning isn’t over clear either but it states the “books promote negative foreign behavior, especially on issues such as transgender, gay, lesbianism, bisexuality, intersex, and asexuality.” There’s a difference between promoting something or trying to push a belief/religion/concept onto someone else, and simply writing about real life, raising awareness, making something pointlessly taboo a little more ‘normal’. All this has done is make me want to read it!

    Thanks for the fabulous bookish news as always. I hope you & the family are keeping as well as possible, Paula 💜

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: