An end of week recap
“I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep … Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass.”
– May Sarton
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.
* Fall For a Novella *
For the fourth time on the bounce, Cathy Brown from 746 Books and Rebecca Foster of Bookish Beck’s are back with Novellas in November. Once again, they will celebrate “the art of the short book by co-hosting [this] month-long challenge,” which this year offers “five prompts, adapted from ones commonly used for Nonfiction November.” As a rule of thumb, “200 pages [is] the upper limit for a novella,” says Cathy. She invites you nip over to Novellas in November Returns for 2023! for a nosey at the schedule and to find out how to participate in the planned Buddy Reads. The event commences on the 1st November.
* Lesen Sie Ein Deutsches Buch in November *
Over at Lizzy’s Literary Life, preparations are in full swing for German Literature Month – an annual event in which you are encouraged to “read anything you want in any language you want as long as it was originally written in German.” Lizzy Siddal, the wunderbare gastgeberin, is keen to point out that the main objective of this literary challenge is to “have fun,” so, if this sounds like your Maßkrug of bier, I suggest you check out the complete reading schedule at Announcing German Literature Month XIII and, while you are there, let Lizzy know you will be taking part in GLM XIII.
* Irresistible Items *
Umpteen fascinating articles appeared on my bookdar last week. I generally make a point of tweeting/x-ing (soon, perhaps, Mastodonning) my favourite finds (or adding them to my Facebook group page), but in case you missed anything, there follows a selection of interesting snippets:
The Guardian: ‘A true original’: Katherine Rundell on the genius of Diana Wynne Jones – “Long before Harry Potter went to Hogwarts, Diana Wynne Jones wrote about a school for witches. Fifty years after the author of Howl’s Moving Castle published her first novel for children, Rundell celebrates the writer who inspired her own fantasy debut,” Impossible Creatures.
Hungarian Literature Online: Forthcoming: Pál Závada’s Market Day – “A novel exploring the descent of superficially decent people into vindictive killers, Hungarian author Pál Závada’s Market Day is forthcoming from Seagull Books in Owen Good’s translation.”
Literary Hub: The Marvelous Real: Leonardo Padura on Alejo Carpentier’s The Lost Steps – In this, Leonardo Padura’s “ninth or tenth reading” of Alejo Carpentier’s 1953 magical realism novel, The Lost Steps, he ponders “the values and qualities that transform great works of art into permanent revelations.”
Africa is a Country: The rise and fall of an African novelist – “By questioning black masculinity in post-apartheid South Africa, Thando Mgqolozana became one of the most impactful writers of his time. But then he got accused of the same thing he opposed,” reveals Gopolang Botlhokwane.
Jewish Review of Books: “I am an Object Loved by God”: Rereading Clarice Lispector – “The great Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector rarely acknowledged her own Jewishness but when the Jornal do Brasil fired her a few days after the Yom Kippur War broke out, something changed,” says author Julia Kornberg.
The Millions: Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize 2023 Winners – The winners of the annual prize honouring American women book collectors aged 30 years and younger have been revealed.
Arts Hub: Book review: New Australian Fiction 2023, edited by Suzy Garcia – “The latest Kill Your Darlings short story collection captures the shifting shades of Australian identity,” writes Monique Choy.
The Japan Times: Hiromi Kawakami’s ‘Dragon Palace’: Delightfully raunchy and funny – Thu-Huong Ha reveals that in Dragon Place, Kawakami’s latest short story collection, the author “returns to a world of fluid transfiguration with dry matter-of-factness and knowing humour.”
JSTOR Daily: “The Poet Is a Man Who Feigns” – “Portuguese modernist Fernando Pessoa channeled a grand, glorious chorus of writers—heteronyms, he called them—robust inventions of his unique imagination.”
The Booker Prizes: ‘Vibrant and electric’ shortlist for the Booker Prize 2023 revealed – The shortlist for the Booker Prize 2023 has been “announced by the Chair of judges, Esi Edugyan, at an event held at the newly reopened National Portrait Gallery in London.”
Five Books: The Best Ukrainian Literature – Five works of Ukrainian literature recommended by academic and activist, Sasha Dovzhyk.
Toronto Star: How to curate a democratic school library – “Citizens of Peel need to consider guiding principles for the curation of school libraries and that means reflecting on what those libraries are for,” suggests Nomi Claire Lazar.
The Nation: In Wonder City – A new volume containing the works of pioneering French comic artist, Chantal Montellier, depicts her vision of the future.
City Journal: How Did He Get Away With It? – John Tierney on Radical Wolfe, a new documentary that “delves into the secrets of Tom Wolfe’s elite-skewering career.”
Publishers Weekly: New Literature in Translation – David Varno speaks with some of the MVPs (most valuable publishers) of translated literature about how they find and keep their readers.
Elle: Who Needs Plot When You Have Vibes? – “‘No plot, just vibes’ novels give authors space to play—and readers the opportunity to truly be seen,” says Caelan McMichael. “Novelists Marlowe Granados, Coco Mellors [and others] break down the genre.”
Aeon: Quantum poetics – William Egginton examines “how Borges and Heisenberg converged on the notion that language both enables and interferes with our grasp of reality.”
3 Quarks Daily: Against The Internet Novel – “The internet, or more precisely, the smartphone, poses a problem for [the contemporary novel],” says Derek Neal, since it “must incorporate [them] in some way” if it is to seem realistic.
The Kathmandu Post: There are stories all around – “Writer Prava Baral discusses [with Manushree Mahat] how her travels have exposed her to diverse experiences and cultures, inspiring her to tell stories.”
The American Scholar: Connect or Die – “The high cost of going it alone” – Scott Stossel reviews This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us About Creativity by Richard Deming.
The Washington Post: All the books nominated for the National Book Awards this year – The National Book Awards has announced the titles for its 2023 prizes.
Post 45: “Of course, the world continues to end”: Weather and the Climate Crisis Ordinary – Dana Luciano on Jenny Offill’s 2020 novel Weather and the climate change crisis in general.
The New York Times: Michael Cunningham Couldn’t Help but Write a Pandemic Novel – “His new book, Day, is his first in nearly a decade. ‘How does anybody,’ he said, ‘write a contemporary novel that’s about human beings that’s not about the pandemic?’”
The New European: Arthur Rimbaud, the poet of sacred disorder – “As Rimbaud’s masterpiece A Season In Hell turns 150, [Charlie Connelly reappraises] the short life and wild times of a talented, toxic, ‘damned soul’.”
The New Yorker: The Bloomsbury Group Is Back in Vogue – “The bohemian English circle that included Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell revolted against Victorian formality—and their casually ornamental style is inspiring designers today,” says Rebecca Mead.
CATO Institute: Introducing Centers of Progress: 40 Cities That Changed the World – Examining a “diverse group of cities, ranging from ancient Athens to Song-era Hangzhou,” Centers of Progress: 40 Cities That Changed the World by Chelsea Follett tells the story of forty of history’s most remarkable centres of progress.
The Globe and Mail: Turmoil in Indigo’s C-suite leaves Canadian publishers reading between the lines – “A stalwart of Canadian book retailing for more than two decades, Indigo Books & Music Inc. is in a state of upheaval unlike anything the company has seen before,” reports Susan Krashinsky Robertson.
Faber: Six Stories that Informed Thomas Morris’s Open Up – “Thomas Morris, a Granta Best Young Novelist 2023, shares six short stories that informed Open Up – his new collection of achingly tender, innovative and dazzling stories of (dis)connection.”
RÚV: Big emotions stalled – Jórunn Sigurðardóttir writes: “Denmark has nominated four books for the 2023 Nordic Council Literature Prize. The topics are sister loss, a writer’s identity crisis, adolescence in the shadow of a mother’s illness, and the complications of a new family member.”
Literary Hub: WATCH: Ursula K. Le Guin on Writing Fantasy as a Young Girl – “The Journey That Matters is a series of six short videos from Arwen Curry, the director and producer of Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, a Hugo Award-nominated 2018 feature documentary about the life and works of the iconic author.”
The Guardian: ‘Provocative’ new book to showcase four decades of Hilary Mantel’s work – Ella Creamer finds the “wide-ranging collection A Memoir of My Former Self: A Life in Writing features subjects from her health struggles to Robocop and has been announced a year after the author’s death.”
The Point: Reciprocal Otherness – Toril Moi acquaints us with “Simone de Beauvoir on freedom and difference.”
Hindustan Times: HT Picks; New Reads – “This week’s pick of interesting reads includes a book on the Indian village and its many shifts over the course of the nation’s history, another on Indian women wildlife biologists, and the memoir of an academic and activist.”
The Walrus: Mariko and Jillian Tamaki on the Cost of Roaming – The Canadian “duo’s previous book was banned extensively. But their latest graphic novel [Roaming] is their freest tale yet,” according to Gabrielle Drolet.
Esquire: Inside Richard Osman’s Mystery Empire – Sarah Weinman meets “the game show host turned bestselling novelist behind the Thursday Murder Club phenomenon, making waves with 21-year-olds and 99-year-olds alike.”
Cinemablend: Stephen King Revealed His Approach To Writing A Mystery Novel, And It’s Way More Alfred Hitchcock Than It Is Agatha Christie – “He’s not interested in the ‘whodunit?’ of it all,” finds Ryan LaBee.
The Deep Dive: The Bestseller List is Broken – “Despite their popularity,” Danika Ellis finds “bestseller lists […] painfully boring.”
The Paris Review: The Paris Review Wins 2023 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize – The Paris Review, a quarterly English-language literary magazine established in Paris in 1953 by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton, last week posted a bulletin announcing it had won a 2023 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize.
The Wrap: Judy Blume, Mark Ruffalo, Ariana Grande Among Celebs Who Denounce Book Bans in Open Letter – In response to book bans across the USA, a range of celebrities have signed an open letter denouncing this form of censorship.
The Spinoff: How to make friends and influence the literary community – “A new literary journal [in New Zealand] has pissed off the entire community by insinuating that book launches are dry and elite,” says Claire Mabey. She analyses “the primary and secondary sources.”
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