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JohnTrumbull

Top 10 books about gangsters, Trumbull’s portrait of Washington, and hurricane news: newsletter, July 13, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,197) on July 13, 2018 Hiding in plain sight in the American psyche is the concept of The Road. The Great American Highway is not just a tool to get from place to another. It’s an indelible symbol of the freedom to move, the sense […]

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WoodrowWilson

Great art and an even better story behind it: John Trumbull, the Revolutionary War painter; newsletter, July 6, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (x) on July 6, 2018 Note: We’re on a road trip from East Tennessee to the Western states, and that will take a couple of weeks. Consequently, this newsletter is shorter than usual. I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to a […]

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HarrietBeecherStowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Dixon, and a couple of examples of excellent journalism: newsletter, June 29, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,238) on June 8, 2018 First an apology: Many of you with Gmail addresses received last week’s newsletter with a big red warning label at the top and no way to click on the links. When I began to hear from you about it on […]

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CharlotteBronte

Rebecca West, Churchill, an artistic challenge, and harvesting honey: newsletter, June 22, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,263) on June 8, 2018 Our lives these days seem to go in lots of different directions at once. Some folks are bothered by that, saying it doesn’t allow them to focus and concentrate. In my life, however, I find it interesting and exciting. Last […]

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JRRTolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien, Seymour Hersh, courtroom sketch artists, a D-Day remembrance, and more: newsletter June 15, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (x) on June 8, 2018 This is the Week of the Bees in our household. After a slow-starting spring (I’ve complained about that previously), the blooms came in abundance, and the bees had plenty of reasons to forage outside the hives. That they did. I […]

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GenGrant

Ulysses S. Grant, D-Day, and the French telegraph system of the 1790s; plus Solon and a solon: newsletter, June 8, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,364) on June 8, 2018   The rains we had in East Tennessee last week worked their usual miracles on our garden. Everything we planted is growing, and I was able to get into the garden with a hoe and tiller early this week to […]

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WilsonasSherlock-2

Louisa May Alcott, The Times of London, Dostoyevsky, and a few presidents here and there: newsletter, June 1, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,086) on June 1, 2018   America’s Memorial Day weekend had us looking back for many good reasons this week. Those memories were mixed with some rain here in East Tennessee that has the garden growing like crazy. Beans, potatoes, okra, peas, and buckwheat. Thanks […]

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Farewell, Philip Roth; Mencken on the language; how we got Sherlock, and more: newsletter, May 25, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,081) on May 25, 2018   Thanks to all who wrote or commented on Facebook about the dulcimer that I made and showed off in last week’s newsletter. I am going to start on another one before long. Sadly, for the second week in a […]

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Hemingwayandcat

The man who wanted every book; the quintessential English detective; and the first American crime novel; and morenewsletter May 18, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,644) on May 18, 2018   A summer head cold attacked me this week, making life miserable for a few days, but I tried not to let it slow me down too much. The major woodworking project that I mentioned last week was completed and […]

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Lend Me Your Ears

The first feminist, the power of the story, Golden State Killer followup, Shakespeare, and more: newsletter, May 11, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,022) on May 11, 2018   This week found me doing more woodworking than anything else. The project I spent so much time with is nearly complete, and I plan to have pictures next week. We’ll see how that goes. But there was also time […]

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Washington’s image, a killer in California, and the joys of crimson clover and ancestry.com: newsletter, May 4, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,048) on May 6, 2018   A couple of you responded to my question last week about your favorite true crime book. I’d still like to hear from more of you about that. See the current responses below. Lots going on this week. In the garden, […]

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Library of Congress-2

Martin Luther, Isaac Asimov, and the value of libraries; 50-plus true-crime books; and more; newsletter, April 27, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,067) on Friday, April 20, 2018. Finally, the crimson clover has started to bloom (about a month late, due mostly to cold weather). Agriculturally, that’s the big event in our lives this week. The bees have started to work the clover, and now, maybe, the […]

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Abby1

What Churchill feared; the real ‘Bloody Mary’; revisiting Watergate; newsletter April 20, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,129) on Friday, April 20, 2018. The weather in East Tennessee has gone from sunny with a high near 80 degrees last Friday to a cold rain on Sunday and sleet — and even a bit of snow — on Monday. All that has prevented […]

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A frame of bees from one of the hives

Starting beehives; surviving March; sketching in the urban; more on Darwin: newsletter April 13, 2018

There is this thing in America known as March Madness. To the untutored among you, that refers to the three-week long national collegiate basketball tournament that has the country mesmerized until the Monday evening (usually the first Monday of April) when the national championship games takes place, and in a few days, you’ve forgotten completely […]

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The fears of Charles Darwin; Typhoid Mary; installing the bees: newsletter, April 6, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,171) on Friday, April 6, 2018. Planting the garden was the first order of business on the farm this week. After I had completed the tilling last week, we had some more rain, so the planting did not begin on Good Friday, as is our […]

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Disgraceland

Free audiobooks and more; Churchill the writer, part 3; the Stone Fleet; newsletter, March 30, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,198) on Friday, March 30, 2018. My poor math skills were on display in last week’s newsletter when I noted the birthday (March 31) of Johann Sebastian Bach. I was only off a hundred years. Saturday is actually the 333rd anniversary of his birth. (Thanks […]

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lovelang

New biography of Agatha Christie; loving alliteration; remembering the Sabbath; newsletter March 16, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,088) on Friday, March 16, 2018. Hi, [FIRST NAME GOES HERE] Lots of readers have reacted to lots of different things in previous newsletters, and I include many of those reactions in this week’s missive. I have said this many times: I love hearing from you on […]

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George Frederick Handel

Handel, down and out; ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ up and away; more Shakespeare and Vietnam: newsletter March 9, 2018

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,116), on Friday, March 9, 2018. Hi, You may think that I am obsessed with William Shakespeare, that I just can’t leave him alone. Actually, it’s the other way around. He won’t leave me alone. The last three newsletters have had items about The Bard, […]

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WilliamShakespeare-3

Shakespeare’s appearance, Eleanor’s mastery, and Cronkite’s broadcast – plus a new book giveaway: newsletter, March 2, 2018

One of the seminal events in America’s long involvement in Vietnam occurred 50 years ago this past week. CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite — often called “the most trusted man in America” — narrated a prime-time documentary that called into question the American government’s rosy predictions about the war’s progress. Cronkite did not come out against the war. […]

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typewriter-cup

A name for this newsletter; more on Shakespeare; the lost eloquence of the sports page: newsletter, Feb. 23, 2018

Vince’s first novel is titled Paperboy, and it’s the story of a boy growing up in Memphis who has a stutter. Vince himself is a stutterer, and the story rings true on every page. The novel was a Newberry Honor Award winner, and the Washington Post said: “[Vawter’s] characterization of Little Man feels deeply authentic, with . . . […]

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