This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,379) on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Hi, Winter has settled in in a big way in my part of the world. Plenty of time for indoor activities, the most important of which is reading. But that’s not the only one. Some writing and some painting […]
Just when the reading world thought that the hard-boiled detective novel had reached its zenith with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, along comes Ross Macdonald. The similarities among the lives of Hammett, Chandler, and Macdonald (whose real name was Kenneth Millar) are striking and significant: All had difficult and disruptive childhoods. Each, for a time, […]
Author Philip Roth, now nearly 85 and retired from writing, has given an interview to New York Times journalist Charles McGrath, and it is fascinating. Roth talks about what it was like to be a writer: Exhilaration and groaning. Frustration and freedom. Inspiration and uncertainty. Abundance and emptiness. Blazing forth and muddling through. The day-by-day […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,500) on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Special note: If you have unsubscribed to this list previously, I apologize for this email. I had some problems with the list over the past couple of weeks — due mainly to my incompetence — and some unsubscribers may have […]
Scientists and scholars are taking a closer look at that question these days and are coming up with some interesting, and occasionally surprising, answers.
Raymond Chandler brought a level of emotional complexity to his characters that had never been seen before in hard-boiled detective fiction.
For the past few weeks, I have been listening to true-crime podcasts and making recommendations to my newsletter readers. There are lots of such podcasts out there, and you have to admire the effort, dedication, and skill that it takes to put these together. The reporting on some of them is excellent. Here are the best […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (3,662) on Friday, January 5, 2017. Special note: If you have unsubscribed to this list previously, I apologize for this email. I had some problems with the list this week — due mainly to my incompetence — and some unsubscribers may have been added back in. […]
More than 50 years ago, the Alabama-Georgia matchup resulted, not in a national championship, but in a legal ruling that expanded the First Amendment protections we now enjoy.
Even this grouchy ex-prof (football coaches are paid too much) who is not even a football fan (baseball is the only REAL game) has a touch of championship fever. Congratulations to Alabama and Georgia, and best of luck to my many friends on both sides of the stadium. For those who are interested: This watercolor […]
Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage is still one of the best references for those interested in how the language is used.
Poe lays down the rules of a mystery novel.
Robert McCrum, the co-author of The Story of English (1986), has compiled a list of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time, and the list was recently published in The Guardian (The 100 best nonfiction books of all time: the full list | Books | The Guardian), a well-respected newspaper and news website in Great Britain. Such […]
Sue Grafton’s private eye, Kinsey Millhone, has taken her place beside Hammett’s Sam Spade, Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, and Macdonald’s Lew Archer.
Update on Tuesday, Jan. 2: Congratulations to all four teams (Oklahoma, Clemson, Georgia and Alabama) who participated in the College Football Playoff — and especially to the winners of last night’s games, Georgia and Alabama. The championship game next Monday should be a fun one for all fans, especially the Tiders and the Dawgs. Many […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,431) on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. Hi, A lot of you readers took the time to respond to various parts of the newsletter last week, and I have included some of those responses here. Thanks to you all. Your responses make great reading, and I […]
Dashiell Hammett knew what a private detective should be. He knew because he had been one, and he had been taught by the very best. Born in Maryland in 1894, Hammett had failed at most everything he tried in the first two decades of his life. Intelligent, tall, and handsome, he did not finish school, […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,466) on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year. Tis the season to celebrate, and there are lots of good greetings out there. I wish you good fellowship, good friends and family, good food, good music, and […]
The opening scene of Raymond Chandler’s story Trouble is My Business tells you a lot in a very few words about Chandler’s “private eye,” Phillip Marlowe. Marlow is talking to a woman who runs a detective agency, a big one with several agents. But none of her people is suitable for the job she has. […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,204) on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. The state of Alabama plays a prominent role in this week’s newsletter. So does Edgar Allan Poe (again), James Whistler, and the Washington Post. The newsletters this week and next week are a bit shorter than usual because of the Christmas season. Next week I […]
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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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