Winding Up the Week #335

An end of week recap

As centuries of dictators have known, an illiterate crowd is the easiest to rule; since the craft of reading cannot be untaught once it has been acquired, the second-best recourse is to limit its scope.”
 Alberto Manguel

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.

* Save Paris in July *

Bronwyn of This Reading Life has drawn my attention to a recent post at Thyme for Tea in which Tamara, the creator of Paris in July, has issued a call for fresh hosts to step in and either take over or assist with her popular annual “blogging experience.” Sadly, she feels unable to “maintain the level of support [the] event has required in the past” and is “seeking expressions of interest” from anyone willing to take on the task of either running or co-hosting it with her. Tamara fears she cannot “honour participants with the right diligence” this year and would appreciate “your thoughts” on the matter. If this sounds like your cup of thé, or you have any useful suggestions, please head over to Paris in July 2023 and post a comment. (NB I’m delighted to report that the event has been taken on by Emma of Words and Peace. Many thanks to both Lory and Kaggsy for the heads 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:

Troseddau drygionus a dirgelion cofiadwy! – Having spent many happy holidays in Wales, Karen Langley of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings says she has a real “fondness” for this small nation and was therefore “keen to read” Crimes of Cymru from the British Library Crime Classics series. “Ably curated” by Martin Edwards, the collection offers “a good selection of authors” and “a lovely balance of traditional, Holmesian tales and more modern psychological stories.” She describes the anthology overall as “stellar”, with an enjoyable mixture of styles, and highly recommends it to those who relish a wide variety of murder mystery narratives.

* 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:

**************************** All the Way Down: Five of the Greatest Turtles and Tortoises in Fantasy – “Turtles and their tortoise brethren have long been fabled creatures,” says Cole Rush. Here he shares five of his favourite testudine tales.

Smithsonian Magazine: Explore the World of Willa Cather in Her Nebraska Hometown – “Maybe the author of “O Pioneers!” is no longer the height of literary chic,” says Jeff MacGregor. “But a century later she’s still a superstar in her small prairie community.”

The Guardian: Ukrainian author Victoria Amelina critically injured in Kramatorsk strike – Emma Graham-Harrison reports: “Novelist confirmed to be among at least 60 injured in Russian attack on restaurant that killed 12.”

The Audacity: It’s Dangerous to Go Alone – Amber Sparks explains what The Legend of Zelda – Nintendo’s action-adventure video game series – “can teach us about writing.”

Boston Review: Octavia But­ler’s Blasphemous Solidarities – “The novel Kindred reminds us—emphatically, gruesomely—that white supremacy is us too,” writes Junot Díaz.

BBC Africa: Zimbabwe’s obsession with Animal Farm as novel gets Shona translation – The Zimbabwean lawyer and writer, Petina Gappah, “has translated Animal Farm into the local Shona language,” reports Lucy Fleming.

Air Mail: A New Kind of Lost Generation – Ian Garner’s new book, Z Generation, examines how Vladimir Putin has galvanized young Russians to back his war in Ukraine and embrace Fascism.

The Irish Times: In the 1980s I loved many men. I’d completely overlooked the women – Paula McGrath continues The Irish Times’ series celebrating 50 years of women’s fiction, poetry and nonfiction – this time examining the early 1980s.

Quillette: The Sorrow and the Self-Pity – “Michel Houellebecq’s new memoir reveals a man quick to find fault with others but slow to accept responsibility for his woes,” says RJ Smith.

The Jakarta Post: ‘Mountains More Ancient’ sheds light on Indonesian slavery in South Africa – Author Isna Marifa discusses her time with the Cape Malay people and how it influenced her novel Mountains More Ancient.

The Age: Ambitious and moving, this heartfelt novel is a true gift – Isabel Allende’s 21st novel, The Wind Knows My Name, “demands courage and conviction both from writer and reader,” says Vanessa Francesca.

The New York Times: 75 Years After ‘The Lottery’ Was Published, the Chills Linger – “Stephen King, David Sedaris, Carmen Maria Machado and others on how Shirley Jackson’s eerie classic [The Lottery] first got under their skin.”

The Critic: Young, gifted — and readerless – The Secret Author wonders why we have “never heard of most of the young writers on the latest “Best of …” list?”

The Nation: Nona Fernandez and the Black Hole of Collective Memory – The Chilean actress, author and screenwriter’s “book-length essay Voyager examines life after Pinochet—and the disjunctures in public remembering the era produced—through an exploration of the stars.”

Literary Hub: Between Fear and Resignation: How German Writers Reacted to Hitler’s Rise – “Uwe Wittstock on intellectual suppression in the early days of Nazi terror.”

The Paris Review: Fernando Pessoa’s Unselving – The Portuguese poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher and philosopher, Fernando Pessoa, “reconfigured literature, including the way we look at literature,” says Patricio Ferrari.

Toronto Star: New publisher Assembly Press signals belief in books industry: ‘People still want books. I think the demand is still there’ – “Leigh Nash starts new publishing house to ‘bring people who would not otherwise be together into community and conversation,’” finds Steven W. Beattie.

Spiked: Collecting old books is now a radical act – Philip Kiszely thinks “our literary past is being adulterated beyond recognition.”

The Asian Age: Book Review | Rural India gets ready for a feminist romp – “While [The Bandit Queens] starts off all sedate and serious, the author suddenly decides to let her hair down and turns it into a full blown romp.”

The New York Review: None-Too-Gay Divorcées – “Ursula Parrott’s 1929 novel Ex-Wife was a scandalous, best-selling portrayal of the era’s ‘new woman,’ but in her own life she remained trapped in conventional views of marriage and relationships,” writes Joyce Carol Oates.

Locus: 2023 Locus Awards Winners – The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners in each category of the 2023 Locus Awards.

Full Stop: Nora Seligman Favorov – Anna Berman talks to the award-winning translator about her recent translation of “Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya’s brilliant 1858 novella The Brother” and “the challenges of popularizing forgotten Russian women writers, particularly at this moment in history when Russia is in the middle of a war of aggression in Ukraine.” 

Faber: Cover Design: Demon Copperhead – “Art Director Pete Adlington gives us a behind-the-scenes insight into how he designed the cover for the hardback edition of Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead, the ‘big book look’ and his quest to design a massive golden book.”

ABC News: Memoir author Kris Kneen on how to write and edit your story into a compelling book that connects with readers – Kris Kneen, the award-winning Australian author of four memoirs, including recent release Fat Girl Dancing, shares advice from their own experience.

EL PAÍS: Writer Héctor Abad survives Ukraine bombing: ‘We were having a laugh and suddenly found ourselves in hell’ – “At least 11 people died in a Russian attack on a restaurant in Kramatorsk, where Colombians on a solidarity mission were having dinner,” writes Luis de Vega.

Library of Congress Blogs: Bloomsday! The Library’s One-of-a-Kind Copy of “Ulysses” – Neely Tucker on copy #361 of “James Joyce’s landmark modernist masterpiece.”

Words Without Borders: The Book of Conjuring: On Childhood Friendship in Postwar France and the late Soviet Union – “Anna Badkhen considers memory, loss, and the parallels between one of her own childhood friendships and Yiyun Li’s The Book of Goose.”

Counter Craft: Goodreads Has No Incentive to be Good – “Goodreads is full of trolls, spam, and harassment campaigns,” and Lincoln Michel is of the opinion “they probably like it that way.”

The Asahi Shimbun: Socially reclusive Japanese finds niche writing Romanian novels – “Tettyo Saito is an up-and-coming author in the Romanian literature world, writing and publishing novels in the Romanian language.”

Hungarian Literature Online: New Releases from the 2023 Festive Book Week – “HLO’s selection from the 645 new books launched for the Festive Book Week, recommended by Csaba Károlyi, deputy editor-in-chief of literary and cultural periodical Élet és irodalom.”

49th Shelf: Canadian Books for Canada Day – Bestselling author Annahid Dashtgard “has created list of Canada Day recommended reads by immigrant writers whose voices have become essential to [the country’s] national literature.”

The Guardian: Unfinished novel by Françoise Sagan published posthumously – “The Four Corners of the Heart was discovered by her son after the death of the French author, best known for Bonjour Tristesse, written when she was just 18.”

AP News: Rights to the works of Argentine literary giant Jorge Luis Borges granted to his widow’s nephews – “A court has granted the rights to the works of the late Jorge Luis Borges, considered Argentina’s most internationally significant author of the 20th century, to five nephews of the author’s widow who died in March.”

Electric Literature: Black Women Are Being Erased in Book Publishing – “The Other Black Girl tells a tried and true story of the challenges faced by Black publishing professionals,” says Jennifer Baker.

Far Out: The self-help book that changed John Lennon’s life – Tom Taylor looks back at The Primal Scream, Arthur Janov’s hugely popular 1970’s self-help book that influenced celebrities such as John Lennon and Mick Jagger.

Book Riot: Diving into the Sub-Genre of Oceanpunk – “Also called seapunk or, depending on the characters involved, pirate punk, the oceanpunk sub-genre is all about stories set on the water,” explains librarian Katie Moench.

Five Books: The Best Feminist Books: 50 Years of Virago Press – On the occasion of Virago’s 50th anniversary, Sarah Savitt “talks [Sophie Roell through the publisher’s] ‘Five Gold Reads’ and explains why they remain important feminist books.”

The Shortlisted: EXCLUSIVE interview with George Orwell’s son – Richard Blair, the son of George Orwell, agreed to speak to Silvia Pingitore about his father.

The Verge: The greatest tech books of all time – Writers at The Verge read, debated and finally selected “40 works of nonfiction that recognized and defined the shape of technology.”

Writer Unboxed: When The Copyright Trolls Came for Me – Victoria Strauss issues a warning about “copyright trolls” setting writers up for sham copyright claims.



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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20 replies

  1. Fortunately, Emma of Words and Peace has taken on Paris in July: French-themed reading joy in the summer will continue!

  2. Another bumper crop – I don’t know how you do it!! And thank you for kindly mentioning my post! As for Paris in July, I think Emma at Words and Peace may have picked up the baton, which is good!

  3. WOW! So many promising articles! I don’t know where to start! Maybe with Spiked’s Collecting old books is now a radical act. Thanks!!!!

  4. As you know, I’m a fan of Octavia Butler, and am glad to know that the tv show based on Kindred isn’t worth watching. (An invented mother reluctant to leave the plantation??? no)

  5. That quote sums up something I’ve been thinking about a great deal lately. Love the juxtaposition of the The Irish Times piece on women writers and Quillette’s on Houellebecq. As always, I appreciate the links, Paula!

  6. Loved your opening quotation, Paula & the article on old books was👌👌

    ‘Buying old books is now a political act. And your personal library (even if it only runs to a couple of shelves) is no longer meaningless beyond your front door. If publishers and institutions want to distort our past, by bending its stories to fit this morning’s trendy narrative, then we should be angry enough to set it straight again. And home is the best place to do so.’

  7. Great! I think ‘Crimes of Cymru’ could be right up my stryd.

  8. That Canada Day list is great, I have found an Australian bookseller that has a flat shipping fee for a certain amount of books but need to find an Canadian equivalent as they’re often so hard to get hold of.

  9. Gorgeous cover for the Allende! I adored her in my late teens/early 20s but I’ve lost track of her more recently. It sounds like it’s time to seek her out again 🙂

  10. Thank you for the excellent round-up! Greatly enjoyed reading the Octavia Butler piece and with all the book-banning occurring this season, your starting quote really gave me chills.

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