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Book of Judith sets forth the story of a strong female character of Biblical times

The Book of Judith presents a rollicking good tale of danger, intrigue, suspense and high-stakes consequences. Its strong female protagonist takes on a challenge that her contemporary male counterparts shrink from. It’s too bad that the elders of Protestantism decided that the Book of Judith should be excluded from the canon. Girls and boys alike […]

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Lillian Ross, reporter and precursor of the 1960s New Journalism movement

Was she the mother of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s — the movement that showcased the deep reporting of people like Truman Capote and Gay Talese? Many people thought so. Lillian Ross, who died Sept. 20, 2017, at the age of 99, was doing that kind of reporting and writing for the New […]

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Best book of the summer? Readers respond

The subscribers to my newsletter were asked to let me know what their “best book of the summer” was, and here are the responses: Karen: My favorite book this summer was Chasing Someday by Lindzee Armstrong.  It is a story about 4 couples and issues they faced involving fertility issues.  This book is different from the books […]

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Margaret Fuller, watercolor by Jim Stovall © 2017

Margaret Fuller packed more than a lifetime into her 40 short years

What I mean by the Muse is that unimpeded clearness of the intuitive powers, which a perfectly truthful adherence to every admonition of the higher instincts would bring to a finely organized human being. It may appear as prophecy or as poesy. … and should these faculties have free play, I believe they will open new, […]

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September 8 is International Literacy Day

    September 8 is International Literacy Day, designated so by the United Nations. There are still too many people in the world who cannot read, and two-thirds of them are women. This year’s theme is Literacy in a Digital World. “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who […]

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J. K. Rowling on freedom of expression

J.K. Rowling has a point of view: Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable. Only last year, we saw an online petition to ban Donald Trump from entry to the U.K. It garnered half a million signatures. Just a moment.   I find almost […]

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Forwarding contest winners for August; more free books and giveaways

This newsletter was sent to Jim’s email list (3,422) on Sept. 1, 2017.   I hope you’re looking forward to a great weekend. In the U.S., it’s Labor Day weekend, which marks the semi-official end of summer.   Forwarding contest winners The August newsletter forwarding contest produced four winners, as promised. A beautiful, hand-turned wooden […]

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Smithsonian Institution’s name and unusual founding

The Smithsonian Institution did not start out as the “nation’s attic.” It began as the storage house for the relics and collections of a British scientist whose connection with the United States is unclear. James Smithson was born in Paris in 1765, the illegitimate son of an English duke. He obtained British citizenship but traveled […]

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The Newspaperman: A poem from the 1880s

In doing some research in 19th century newspapers recently, I found this clever little poem: THE NEWSPAPER MAN Little they know. or even think, Of the work there is in shedding Ink By the busy wielders of pencil and pen, Generally known as newspaper men. “Jottings,” “In General,” “Spice of Life,” “Variations,” and rumors rife, […]

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Digital Reader blogger tries to get at the real facts about ebook sales

A lot of buzzing and scoffing these days in the world of independent publishing about the “fact” that ebook sales are down. Blogger Nate Hoffelder tries to set the facts — the real facts — about ebook sales straight. Source: Damn the Facts: The “Ebook Sales Are Down” Narrative Must be Maintained at All Costs […]

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