Archives: books

The disappearance of an MP, keys to college success, how we got the First Amendment, and more:newsletter, January 27, 2023

January 27, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,753) on Friday, January 27, 2023. My tour of news sites that attempt to avoid the “bad news bias” continues with a site that is not exactly “good news” but is filled with good information—and probably the kind of information that you can apply directly • Read More »

Setting a standard for the police procedural, how we got the Smithsonian, and the love of American football: newsletter, January 20, 2023

January 20, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, journalism, newsletter, sports, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,829) on Friday, January 20, 2023. As promised in last week’s newsletter, I continue to present websites that attempt to avoid, as best they can, the “bad news bias” of many of the mainstream media. This week’s entry is YES! magazine. YES! emphasizes what it • Read More »

The first female-authored detective series, the gun-slinger who became a sports reporter, and the Tylenol murders: newsletter, January 13, 2023

January 13, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,753) on Friday, January 13, 2023. The “bad news bias” of the news outlet that I regularly visit has been all too obvious lately. I know enough about journalism not to blame the messenger. There’s plenty of bad stuff out there that we need to • Read More »

Jonathan Swift, Andrew Greeley, and things about good and bad book reviews: newsletter, December 30, 2022

December 30, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, December 30, 2022. As with most authors, I am of two minds when it comes to reviews of anything I have written. Reviewers who are kind are obvious geniuses able to perceive the many profundities—written with the appropriate amount of self-effacing • Read More »

George Smalley, JFK on open government, sports writing, and Safire on words: newsletter, December 23, 2022

December 23, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, December 23, 2022. In order to give myself a couple of weeks off, the newsletter this week and next week will be populated mostly by material from the JPROF.com archives. Much of this was originally posted a decade or more ago, • Read More »

The translator’s dilemma, advance copy readers, and General Grant as public writer: newsletter, December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, December 16, 2022.   This month brings to a close my four-and-a-half-year tenure as the writer-in-residence for the Blount County Public Library. This association with what has to be one of the best local libraries in the nation has been one • Read More »

Dominick Dunne, holiday traditions, advance copy readers, and the woman who was too small to be a spy: newsletter, December 9, 2022

December 9, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, December 9, 2022. ’Tis the season for “traditions.” These are the things that we do in certain ways, and at certain times, at this end-of-year holiday season. These days are usually full of traditions. A friend of mine once told me • Read More »

The ever-controversial game of soccer, writing like a shotgun, and the “branding” of an author’s name: newsletter, December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, December 2, 2022. In a conversation I had recently with a friend, she and I were discussing certain authors, whose books we enjoyed reading. The name of one author, one who is quite well-known, came up, and we both agreed that • Read More »

Thanksgiving, the father of newspaper advertising, new dinnertable rules, and campus fiction: newsletter, November 25, 2022

November 25, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, newspapers, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, November 25, 2022. We are in the midst of my favorite holiday, and I’ve found I am far from unique in feeling that way. Thanksgiving means cooler weather, lots of leaves, lots of sports on television (if you are into that), • Read More »

The return of John Rebus, divisions and unity, bloated college administrations, and a slice of the Navy: newsletter, November 18, 2022

November 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, November 18, 2022. Our nation once again demonstrated its normal tendency to social and political schizophrenia, something the Republic has been experiencing for more than 200 years. On Tuesday, we showed that we are still sharply divided politically between Republicans and • Read More »

Annie Oakley, Veterans Day, the real ‘fugitive,’ sort of, and reader reactions: newsletter, November 11, 2022

November 11, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, November 11, 2022. This newsletter is being sent out initially on Veterans Day, November 11th. This day tends to get lost among the plethora of holidays between Halloween and New Year’s Day. Most veterans I know (and I am one of • Read More »

The Hippocratic Oath, Cooper’s ‘The Spy,’ and a new All Quiet on the Western Front adaptation: newsletter, November 4, 2022

November 4, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, November 4, 2022. Growing up in the pre-Ice Age (that is, the 1950s and the 1960s), we looked upon Halloween as a small blip on the fall calendar that presaged the coming of Thanksgiving (a few days off from school) and • Read More »

Ignatius Sancho, jettisoning bad behaviors, local authors follow-up: newsletter, October 28, 2022

October 28, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, journalists, newsletter, watercolor, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, October 28, 2022. My various readings and searches during the last few weeks have included a number of items about the concept of the “Sabbath.” The idea of the Sabbath, whether you consider yourself religious, spiritual, or “none of the above” • Read More »

Celebrating Local Voices, Mary Seacole, and readers respond to the the watercolor collection: newsletter, October 21, 2022

October 21, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, journalism, newsletter, watercolor, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, October 21, 2022. My local library, the Blount County Public Library, is having a special event honoring local authors on Saturday, October 22 (the day after this newsletter originally appears), and I have been privileged to be part of the planning • Read More »

Martin Cruz Smith, suffering fools lightly, and an art contest of sorts: newsletter, October 14, 2022

October 14, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, writers.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, October 14, 2022. My frustration at not being able to enter the recent Quick Draw Festival held by the Friends of the Smokies became an item for last week’s newsletter, and I included four of the watercolor-and-pen sketches that I had • Read More »

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, speeding up the watercolors, and the pursuit of happiness: newsletter, October 7, 2022

October 7, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter, watercolor, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, October 7, 2022. My hopes to participate in the Friends of the Smokies Quick Draw Festival in Maryville last Saturday crashed and burned when I woke up Friday morning feeling generally terrible. I did the COVID test, and it came up • Read More »

Honus Wagner: the player and the card; an encounter with Ramsey Lewis; the Smokies’ Quick Draw festival: newsletter, September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, September 30, 2022. The western part of the county where I live contains one of the great natural wonders of America: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is the most-visited of all the national parks, drawing 9 to 10 • Read More »

Wading in the water with Ramsey Lewis, revisiting Saul Bellow, and the non-scariness of artificial intelligence: newsletter, September 23, 2022

September 23, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, September 23, 2022. For many decades now, we have heard the term “artificial intelligence.” As I understand it, artificial intelligence means that somewhere someone (or is it a group of people?) is hard at work creating a device that will think • Read More »

Mergenthaler and the history of printing, William Kent Krueger, and end-of-season baseball thrills: newsletter, September 16, 2022

September 16, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, September 16, 2022. It’s the month of September, and while much of sports fandom turns its attention to football, both collegiate and professional, this baseball fan and many others have plenty to pay attention to ourselves. The end of the full • Read More »

MLB’s second Black player, Peter Gunn, and rare books studied and explored: newsletter, September 9, 2022

September 9, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, September 9, 2022. What is it that makes a book a bestseller? Take a book that has an excellent and engaging plot and that is well and perceptibly written. Combine that with an author who is well-known. Give the book a • Read More »