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ElizebethFriedman

America’s chief WWII codebreaker, language and dialect in Appalachia, new season for Serial; newsletter, September 14, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (x) on August 30, 2018 At this writing, a major hurricane is about to slam into the east coast of the U.S., and predictions are that it will cost lives and do great damage. In the middle of this past week, as we were traveling […]

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FrancesHBurnett

A 19th century writer-rock star, King James’ obsession, costly commas, and the Clinton impeachment revisited: newsletter, Sept. 7, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (x) on August 30, 2018 Too much good stuff to read, too little time. I am in the middle of an excellent novel by a well-known author at the moment, and I will tell you about it in a week or two. I’ve also started […]

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Lincoln-Douglas

Lincoln-Douglas debate, every word; the art of Beatrix Potter; future of English; newsletter, Aug. 30, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,136) on August 30, 2018 In the past few days, we’ve noted the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein‘s birth and the 20th anniversary of the first appearance of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter’s books (September 1, 1998). Rowling is the literary phenomenon of this generation, producing […]

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Three dulcimers

Dulcimer, Dorothy Parker, book buyers, and hot cities; newsletter, August 24, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,152) on August 24, 2018 August is speeding to a close, and in East Tennessee, we’re looking toward September for some relief from the heat. Speaking of hot, it’s getting hotter, and The Guardian is taking a deep look worldwide at the heat and what […]

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PaulRevere

Road warrior Paul Revere, the concept of zero, and the odd beginning of the book of world records: newsletter, August 17, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,166) on August 3, 2018 Still thinking about the American Road this week, I took a deep dive into history and found a perfect and obvious connection: Paul Revere. Of course. See below. People of a certain age will have memorized all or most of […]

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JohnPendletonKennedy

The timely deaths of Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot; Sargent, the combat artist; a forgotten American we should remember: newsletter, Aug. 10, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,200) on August 3, 2018 A wide variety of responses to items in last week’s newsletter poured over the email transit this past week, and they have kept me busy with information, ideas, and points of view. I’ve included many in this week’s newsletter, and […]

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BootsCourtMotel

The classic locked-door mystery in real life; more on Route 66; English as bully: newsletter, August 3, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,224) on August 3, 2018 The name William Tecumseh Sherman still evokes strong emotions for many Americans more than 150 years after he was instrumental in ending the Civil War and saving the Union and nearly 130 years after his death in 1891. I found […]

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VinceVawter-1

Route 66, Buried Truths, Copyboy; the saga of two failures continues, newsletter, July 27, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,251) on July 27, 2018   The summer is fully upon us here in East Tennessee — heat, humidity, and tomatoes. We always plant far more tomato plants than we need, and we are always surprised, with a bit of mock-horror thrown in, at how […]

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WilliamTSherman

History, truth, and cedar trees; and the two failures who saved the nation; newsletter, July 20, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,273) on July 20, 2018   We’re still recovering from the near-4,000 mile journey we took out West a couple of weeks ago. That recovering has included a lot of mowing and a good bit of weeding and cleaning out in the garden. We’re now […]

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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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IMG_1196

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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