Winding Up the Week #331

An end of week recap

A few sentences are enough to tell the truth.”
 Robert Sarah

A much-reduced wind up this week due to all sorts of things happening at once. Hopefully, I will return to something resembling normality next week.

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:


The Guardian: God Is an Octopus by Ben Goldsmith review – the consolations of nature – In God is an Octopus, Ben Goldsmith describes his search for meaning after his daughter’s sudden death.

BBC Nottingham: D.H. Lawrence fans restore family headstone – “Fans of author D.H. Lawrence have raised funds to restore his family headstone,” reports Jennifer Harby.

Frenchly: The Uncanny & Interesting Films of Belgian writer, Amélie Nothomb – Andrea Meyer looks at several film adaptions of novels by the prolific Belgian Francophone author, Amélie Nothomb.

ABC News: Bestselling author Pip Williams returns with The Bookbinder of Jericho, a companion novel to her hit The Dictionary of Lost Words – “Australian author Pip Williams was researching the history of the Oxford University Press in 2019 when she came across a photo that ignited her curiosity.”

Seren Books: National Walking Month – “To celebrate National Walking Month, [Seren] asked some of [its] authors to suggest walks featured in their books which anyone can enjoy. Read on to find out more.”

The Wall Street Journal: ‘The Gulag Archipelago’: An Epic of True Evil – “Published 50 years ago, [The Gulag Archipelago,] Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s account of the Soviet Union’s barbaric system of forced labor camps is arguably the 20th century’s greatest work of nonfiction.”

BBC Culture: Davina McCall and Sir Salman Rushdie win at British Book Awards – Emma Petrie reports: “A book about the menopause by TV presenter Davina McCall has scooped the top prize at the British Book Awards.”

Lapham’s Quarterly: Lower Your Expectations – “Lapham’s Quarterly is exploring advice through the ages and into modern times in a series of readings and essays.” This week, Yan Zhitui with “pragmatic writing advice from the sixth century.”

The Moscow Times: Forward Into the Past: Forbidden Books In Russia – “Officially, Russian authorities don’t pull books from bookstores, but there is self-censorship at every part of the book-to-bookstore chain.”

Arts Hub: Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist announced – Richard Watts lists the eleven novelists “longlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin Award, [which is] presented annually and named after the author of My Brilliant Career.

The Korea Herald: LTI Korea to host symposium on current, future landscape of AI literature translation – Hwang Dong-hee reports that the “Literature Translation Institute of Korea is set to host a symposium on AI translation that will explore the present and future state of this technology.”

The Brooklyn Rail: Tezer Özlü’s Cold Nights of Childhood – Bekah Waalkes discovers Cold Nights of Childhood “finds its most revolutionary moment in the narrator’s own articulation of desire.”

The Bookseller: Rushdie awarded Freedom to Publish award at Nibbies – Sian Bayley reveals Salman Rushdie has won an anti-censorship award.

The Atlantic: Writing in the Ruins – Gal Beckerman on the East German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, whom she says, “cuts through dogma, fractures time, and preserves rubble.”

Al Jazeera: Cafe Yafa: A Palestinian bookshop reviving literary culture – “Cafe Yafa continues a rich Palestinian literary culture, decades after the Nakba destroyed the libraries of Palestine,” writes Eliyahu Freedman.

Big Think: Those beautiful medieval manuscripts were made from sheep, goats, and unborn calves – Tim Brinkhof reveals that “500 sheep were slaughtered to produce the 2,060 pages of the “Codex Amiatinus,” a Latin translation of the Bible.”

Haaretz: A Pilgrimage to an Ottoman-era Military Barracks in Istanbul, Now a New, Modern Library – “There is no lack of libraries in Istanbul where one can read the classic compositions, but as of two months ago, the treasures of Turkish literature over the ages have a sumptuous new home,” writes Benny Ziffer.

Penarth Times: Griffin Books wins big at Independent Bookshop of Year 2023 – A small Welsh bookstore has won the UK’s prestigious Independent Bookshop of the Year Award.

Book Marks: 5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week – A selection of new books by Emma Cline, Haruki Murukami, Sara Baume and others.

Literary Hub: Why is Serious Nonfiction in the US Taken More Seriously Than in the UK? – Sam Leith finds there is a “flourishing culture in the US of what they call ‘longform journalism’ and [Brits] call ‘magazine pieces.’”

Boston Globe: Ode to bad mothers – “Motherhood is hard,” says Alicia Andrzejewski. “Immersing [herself] in the spectacular fails of fictional matriarchs helped [her] realize” she’s not alone and not “totally blowing it, after all.”

Zócalo Public Square: In the Green Room: Novelist and USC Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen – Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Viet Thanh Nguyen, chats about “visiting the set of The Sympathizer, pho, and the best memorial about war.”

Smithsonian Magazine: You Could Own Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Handwritten Notes on ‘The Scarlet Letter’ – “Enjoy an exclusive preview of an auction of the novelist’s papers, which feature rarely seen edits and atrocious penmanship.”

Penguin: 10 books to help with anxiety and stress – “Feeling overwhelmed? Whether your job is too much, or you’re living with anxiety, these books will help,” says Katie Russell.

Interview: Emma Cline Tells Louise Bonnet About Her Eerie Novel The Guest – “There is something monstrous about what we demand of women in terms of the outward performance of their gender,” Cline tells Bonnet.

The Spinoff: The greatest literary feuds and gossip of all time… ever – “Most literary gossip does nothing for Hera Lindsay Bird. These rare historical morsels are the exceptions.”



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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22 replies

  1. There are a couple of titles from that five reviews you need to read list that are going to end up on my TBR! The new library in Turkey and Cafe Yafa seem so wonderful as well. Lovely and interesting set of links as always, Paula🙂

    Lots of love to the 🐶🐶 and 😺😺

  2. I’ve noticed no fall-off from your usual groaning board of literary tidbits, Paula, despite your opening apology, so thank you! I’ve seen some glowing pieces about Pip Williams’s novels so your mention is a welcome reminder to do something about locating copies of said works! And I’m glad, after last year’s horrendous attack, that Rushdie has had due acknowledgement for his continuing to stand up to censorship.

  3. Thanks as always Paula – you put so much into these posts and it’s much appreciated from here!

  4. That article on literary gossip! :-O

  5. A neat selection, Paula. The Military Barracks in Istanbul now a new Modern Library is outstanding but I do wonder how they reach the books on the top shelves 🙂 G.

  6. Seems like a generous helping of links from what I see! Oh, if only all miliary barracks were so unneeded that they could be turned into libraries with books and access for all…🌷

  7. The Seren blog for National Walking Month is one I had already come across and I am glad you mention it here. It’s a wonder to me that there seems so little response to their blog posts – the Friday poem etc. This was a really good one, particularly if you are as interested as I am in walks in Wales and Dorset. As for the reduced content – still plenty to see here, Paula. I don’t know how you do it every week.

  8. Like Calmgrove this still seems a huge post to me Paula! I’m not proud to say I clicked the literary gossip link first – and enjoyed it a lot 😀

  9. I agree with the comments above from Maria and others and don’t know how you do it every week either but am very glad that you do. So thank you again Paula. Goodness me. 500 dead sheep for one codex! That’s a very sobering statistic.

  10. Indeed a sobering statistic! I guess compared to the millions of trees that are currently being cut down, it was a one off. Hopefully, as a consequence, the farmers and villagers ate well and had warm woollen clothing 🙂 G.

  11. Oh, I forgot that only the ‘elite’ could read – makes it even more horrid.

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