Archives: books

PD James, Poe’s literary guardian angel, and Bill Russell’s dominate spirit: newsletter, August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, August 12, 2022. The idea of young adults doing some kind of national service has been around for decades. When I was growing up, it was the Selective Service, what we commonly termed “the draft.” It was military service, and it • Read More »

One of the ten digits of the engineer

August 7, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism.

Quick, Sherlock Holmes experts: what was the only case that Dr. Watson brought to the famous detective’s attention? Got it yet? The answer, of course, is “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb.“ If you like Holmesian trivia such as this, you will probably enjoy it Olivia Rutigliano’s series on Crimereads.com where she does it close • Read More »

Helen Kirkpatrick, Bookshop.org, Paul Revere’s long ride, and the short digit of the engineer: newsletter, August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, August 5, 2022. The item concerning independently-owned bookstores that appeared in last week’s newsletter needs a follow-up. If you enjoy ordering books online and receiving them without having to travel, and if you also want to support your local independent bookstore, • Read More »

Robert Louis Stevenson: igniting the imagination of young readers

August 1, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

One book that should be on the shelf of every pre-teen is a well-illustrated copy of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. For more than 140 years, Treasure Island has fired the imagination of young readers all over the world.  Its central character, Jim Hawkins, is a young boy who finds himself in the middle • Read More »

Independent bookstores: surviving, thriving, and growing in number

July 30, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism, news.

Despite Covid, despite Amazon, despite a general downturn in retailing over the last decade, independently-owned local bookstores seem to be making a comeback. When Covid hit in 2020, it looked as though the health crisis would push independent bookstores over the cliff. That did happen in some cases, and the numbers of such businesses declined. • Read More »

Independent bookstores, Monty’s double, and Margaret Fuller: newsletter, July 29, 2022

July 29, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, July 29, 2022. How do you feel about your public library? Writer and poet Michele Herman, who lives in New York City, thinks of the two branches of the New York Public Library close to where she lives like she thinks of • Read More »

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island map, the journalist and the novel, and another role for Martin Luther: newsletter, July 22, 2022

July 24, 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 (2,234) on Friday, July 22, 2022. When I joined the U.S. Navy in the fall of 1970, I had already completed a bachelor’s degree in journalism and had worked professionally as a reporter and editor. I signed up for four years in the Navy because • Read More »

Cicero, The Feminine Mystique, a memoir, and the death penalty: newsletter, July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, watercolor, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 480) on Friday, July 15, 2022. The United States is one of the few nations left on earth that allows capital punishment—the death penalty. And that punishment, according to Maurice Chammah, a staff writer at The Marshall Project and the author of Let the • Read More »

The face of Shakespeare, your brain on true crime, and railing against rankings: newsletter, July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, July 8, 2022. The headline in the New York Times read “Columbia won’t participate in the next U.S. News ranking.” My heart leapt up, as the poet has said. It’s time we did away with all of these bogus numbers that essentially • Read More »

Battle of Midway, the making of the dictionary, new giveaways for July: newsletter, July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,466) on Friday, July 1, 2022. A recent article in Psychology Today listed seven characteristics that researchers say are most likely to prevent either short-term or long-term romantic relationships. The usual suspects were there, such as “unattractiveness” and “abusive behavior.” What interested me about the • Read More »

The father of modern education, the thrill of the night sky, more on Shakespeare, and giveaways galore: newsletter, June 24, 2022

June 24, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,464) on Friday, June 24, 2022. Summer arrived officially this week, although in my neck of the woods, we have already had several spells of pretty hot weather. The same thing happens at the end of the year when winter officially begins after there has • Read More »

Making women legally visible, the Battle of Midway, the lethal nature of heat, and reader reactions: newsletter, June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,470) on Friday, June 17, 2022.   Now that America is in the midst of its first major heat wave of the season, it’s probably a good idea to consider heat itself and its effect on human beings. In terms of actual deaths of humans, • Read More »

The mean streets of Baltimore, the theology of work, June giveaways, and truckin’ bees: newsletter, June 10, 2022

June 10, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism, journalists, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,241) on Friday, June 10, 2022. What if Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare? Seriously, what if there was evidence that William Shakespeare was not the author of Hamlet or MacBeth or Richard III or Henry V or any of the other plays that we attribute to • Read More »

The Morgan’s extraordinary librarian, the origins of Annika, and the words of John F. Kennedy: newsletter, June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, First Amendment, freedom of the press, history, newsletter, writers.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, June 3, 2022. In recent days I have had the opportunity to take a look at lists of words commonly used as slang a century ago. The lists have been both interesting and instructive. Many of the phrases in these list are • Read More »

The pitch-perfect prose of Roger Angell, the modernity of crossword puzzles, and the last chance for this month’s group giveawaysnewsletter, May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: baseball, books, history, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,421) on Friday, May 27, 2022. What do you think a librarian does? The answer to that question undoubtedly depends on your point of view, but I think most of us would believe a librarian is someone who keeps books and documents in a particular • Read More »

The tale of journalists Duranty and Jones, the obvious alternative to eugenics, group giveaways, and decapitating the British government: newsletter, May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,404) on Friday, May 20, 2022. About a century ago, eugenics was all the rage. The basic idea of eugenics was that you could identify the “better” parts of society by race, geographic origin, or social class. If we could do that, then we could • Read More »

Ray Bradbury’s zest for writing, the story of the grand marshal, and May’s ebook giveaways: newsletter, May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, libraries, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, May 13, 2022. Like millions of others in the 1990s and beyond, I was caught up in the television depictions of “crime scene investigation” and the way in which “forensic science” is used to convict people accused of crimes. Calling something a • Read More »

The troubled, talented Raymond Chandler, 3 new group giveaways, the value of the long walk: newsletter, May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, May 6, 2022. While I am no expert on government secrecy, particularly the laws that govern countries other than the United States, that in no way stops me from having opinions. My considered, possibly uninformed, opinion is that one of the worst • Read More »

The disappearance of an inventor, the Supreme Court doesn’t decide, free speech on campus, and continuing giveaways: newsletter, April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, First Amendment, freedom of speech, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 29, 2022. A popular myth that animates much of our political life is that the U.S. Supreme Court decides an issue. The justices, in their collective wisdom or ignorance, may make a ruling, but they rarely if ever decide an issue. • Read More »

The education of August Wilson, a current combat artist, and continuing giveaways: newsletter, April 22, 2022

April 22, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,324) on Friday, April 22, 2022. “I like someone who speaks his mind—you know, someone who says what he thinks.” Undoubtedly, you have heard this sentiment expressed in some form or another. Speaking one’s mind is thought to be an admirable quality. I’m not so • Read More »