It’s good to have friends, even after you have died. In 1939, the year H.P. Lovecraft died, he considered himself a failure. His life had been a series of mental and emotional battles. His relationship with his mother had been strange and destructive. His marriage had ended in divorce. His view of non-Nordic, non-white people […]
Patricia Highsmith achieved international fame in the mid to late 20th century for her deeply psychological and suspenseful novels and short stories that often took the reader into a world of violence. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train (1950), cemented her reputation when Alfred Hitchcock made it into an award-winning movie. Her Repliad series, […]
The library of Ashurbanipal, Obama’s audacity of hope, and Highsmith’s first job: newsletter, January 10, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,632) on Friday, January 10, 2020. One of the post-Christmas-New-Year’s gifts I gave myself was Tom Richmond’s book, The Mad Art of Caricature, and it is both delightful and informative. If you remember Mad Magazine (or still read it), you would know that Richmond is one […]
In 1887 when she was 13, Rose O’Neill entered a drawing contest sponsored by the Omaha World-Herald. Her entry was by far the best submission, and she was declared the winner. But there was a problem. Some of the editors did not believe that the drawing was original. It was too good, and they thought […]
Candice Millard finds her real story, the demise of the death penalty, and Vietnam in fiction: newsletter, December 27, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,646) on Friday, December 27, 2019. We are in the midst of the holiday season with plenty of song, food, beverage, and fellowship. I hope that we all (especially me) can take a few moments for those who aren’t so blessed. Actions on behalf […]
Martha Gelhorn and the wars of the 20th century, parkour considered, and plenty of reader reaction: newsletter, December 20, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,661) on Friday, December 20, 2019. Readers of this newsletter know that I am partial to good stories, especially when they are true; they involve writers and journalists; and they are women. We hit the trifecta this week with some good stuff about Martha Gelhorn, who is often […]
Advice to Robert Caro, America’s fourth man at Los Alamos, M-W’s word of the year, and more: newsletter, December 13, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,661) on Friday, December 13, 2019. This newsletter, I say with some pride, is read by folks in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and other places of which I may not be aware. As the year ends, I thank […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,661) on Friday, December 6, 2019. The week after Thanksgiving is a time filled with shopping both in stores and online. Many retail establishments depend on this time to make up for loses incurred by staying open during the rest of the year. In addition, […]
A look back at the year of book production and the decade of true-crime books, and the deaths of famous females: newsletter, Nov. 29, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,661) on Friday, November 29, 2019. The gardens are, for the most part, sub-soiled and will be tilled in the next few days before the truly cold weather sets in. The bees are still alive in their three hives, although I do not […]
We all know what the essential element of a murder mystery is. It’s the murder. The essential element of an espionage thriller is more elusive, but I have a candidate in mind. It’s betrayal. And thereby lies the tale. What drives a person to betray friends, family, colleagues, and/or country? How deeply will the element […]
The essential in espionage thriller, Gulf of Tonkin revisited, a remarkable mathematician, and more reader reaction: newsletter, Nov. 15, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,662) on Friday, November 15, 2019. The Veterans Day event we had at the Blount County Public Library that launched the first volume of Vietnam Voices could not have been better. About 150 people showed up, the choral group from Maryville’s Broadway Baptist Church […]
Edmund Morris and Richard Ben Cramer and unworthy subjects, a police procedural podcast, and reactions to the World Series: newsletter, Nov. 8, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,666) on Friday, November 8, 2019. Baseball is a game you can share with others. That was the message I got from a large number of emails sent after the special report on my trip to the World Series in the last newsletter. Those emails […]
How do you write a mystery novel? Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lenox, says that plots don’t come naturally to him, so he has a trick: I start by writing a brief, extremely dull short story. No one will ever see one of these if I can conceivably prevent it; it’s usually only about […]
Long before the term “visual learning” came into being, Emma Hart Willard knew what it meant and how important it was. So important, she believed, that constructing the tools to put it into effect was well worth time and effort. In 1846, she drew a chart titled The Temple of Time (below) in which she attempted […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,653) on Friday, October 25, 2019. We got rain again this weekend, and we got more on Monday night. After a two- to three-month stretch with almost no rain at all, the world is beginning to feel good again in East Tennessee. In the […]
The paragraph below comes from J.K. Rowling‘s website, so if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll want to check out the site and especially this page. This is especially for younger writers. You can’t be a good writer without being a devoted reader. Reading is the best way of analysing what makes a good book. […]
If you were a young reader, you know that Carolyn Keene wrote the Nancy Drew mysteries. And if you remained aware of that into adulthood, chances are that you found out that Carolyn Keene didn’t exist. So who was Carolyn Keene? The creator of Nancy Drew was Edward Stratemeyer, about whom we have written before […]
Just how revolutionary was the American Revolutionary War? Pretty revolutionary, according to historian T. H. Breen, who has written a recently-published book examining the thinking that went on behind the American colonies’ break with the mother country. What we call the American Revolution cannot be linked to a single moment such as the signing of […]
The woman who created Nancy Drew, the Ratline podcast, and reader reactions; newsletter, October 18, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,665) on Friday, October 18, 2019. Rain finally arrived in East Tennessee this week after an absence of about 45 days. It was greatly welcomed. There wasn’t a lot of rain but enough to begin turning the ground from brown to green. The hope […]
There’s something about a book that doesn’t die — even in a regime as authoritarian as Nazi Germany. In the 1920s, one of the most popular authors in the Weimar Republic of Germany was Else Ury, who wrote a series of children’s books known as the Nesthäkchen series. These ten books featured a fiesty, blond-headed girl Annemarie […]
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Since 2004 JPROF.com has been providing journalism instructors and students with material and ideas for teaching and learning journalism. Jim Stovall is the site's creator and operator.
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