Archives: books

Dexter’s cryptic crosswords, two for the annals of true crime, and another racing story: newsletter, February 25, 2022

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

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, February 25, 2022. Cryptic crossword puzzles have never been much of a blip on my radar, until recently. I have been a crossword puzzle worker since I was a child, and I am addicted to the mini crossword published daily by the • Read More »

Replaying Goodnight Moon, reassessing Neville Chamberlain, and more reader reaction: newsletter, February 18, 2022

February 18, 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 (2,290) on Friday, February 18, 2022. Few books touch us like the ones that we are able to read to the children in our lives: sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, children of friends, etc. No experience I know of can match that of reading • Read More »

Arthur Conan Doyle to Edgar Allan Poe: a debt paid with the compliment of imitation

February 12, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism.

In the opening paragraphs of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, you can find these lines that describe the initial impressions of the narrator to his newly-made friend, detective Auguste Dupin: At such times I could not help remarking and admiring (although from his rich ideality I had been prepared to expect • Read More »

Catching up with reader reaction, Arthur Conan Doyle’s debt to EAP, and more Devil’s Dictionary: newsletter, February 11, 2022

February 11, 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 (2,290) on Friday, February 11, 2022. A glitch in my email reception system—entirely my fault—prevented me from seeing the emails that many of you newsletter readers sent during late December and January. I have recovered them and am working my way through all of them. • Read More »

Best-seller lists: let the buyer beware

February 5, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism.

To know anything about publishing is to know that best-seller lists are not always what they appear to be. Some of those lists do in fact reflect sales of books. But many, especially the ones you might see inside bookstores, reflect something quite different. Recently there surfaced a story from Great Britain that WH Smith, • Read More »

The Gilded Age, humans and horses, and baseball’s Hall of Fame debate: newsletter, February 4, 2022

February 4, 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 (2,290) on Friday, February 4, 2022. As happens each year at this time when voting for the baseball Hall of Fame is complete, a fierce debate is set off, not about the people who may have been voted into the Hall of Fame but about • Read More »

The NYC caricarturist, Norman Rockwell changes direction, and a thought about incarceration: newsletter, January 28, 2022

January 28, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, January 28, 2022. Score a small but, I hope, important victory for the First Amendment and free speech. With Corporate America and Government America – it’s getting harder to tell the difference between the two — making consistent efforts to cut back • Read More »

A different view of the first president

January 24, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism.

Have you ever had the feeling when you were reading about George Washington that you might not of been getting the full story? Is this guy really is good and perfect as American mythology makes him out to be? George Washington was certainly essential to the founding of the United States. He gets a lot • Read More »

The mother of the detective novel, a different view of the first president, baseball’s aborted move west: newsletter, January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: baseball, books, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, January 21, 2022. To simply know how something happens, or that it will happen, is not to understand it. That’s the case whenever I walk into the very generous garden that I have been blessed with. Come spring, something will happen, and • Read More »

Disraeli and Gladstone: a caricaturist’s dream come true

January 19, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

Some years ago, the BBC produced a 90-minute documentary on the parallel lives and careers of Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone titled  Gladstone and Disraeli: Clash of the Titans. (You can watch it on YouTube, irritatingly divided into six 15-minute segments with the first here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4CHsWMV3Es) When it comes to 19th-century British politics, the title is • Read More »

Rosemary Sutcliff and The Eagle of the Ninth

January 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

Rarely does a historical novel, written for children, generate such controversy between archaeologists and historians, but that is what The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff, did when it was published in 1954. It continues to be the source of controversy today. The novel concerns the Ninth Roman legion, a legion which was mysteriously • Read More »

Anne Bronte, author of a classic but outshone by her sisters

January 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

As the baby of the family, Anne Brontë never got beyond the shadows of her more famous sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Everyone in the family doted on her, and when she died early, at the age of only 29, in 1849, her reputation and her place in English literature faded even further. Anne deserved a • Read More »

A few items from previous newsletters (part 2): newsletter, January 7, 2022

January 7, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: baseball, books, journalists, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,232) on Friday, January 7, 2022. Happy New Year. With regard to Covid, it seems that as we turn the calendar to this new year, we are little better off than a year ago. Covid cases are surging, and our faith in the vaccines to • Read More »

A few items from previous newsletters (part 1): newsletter, December 31, 2021

December 31, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,237) on Friday, December 31, 2021. Happy New Year. Janus is the two-headed god who looks both backward and forward. For a couple of weeks, we will be looking back through the weekly newsletter and picking some of my favorite item because of their stories • Read More »

Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, news art, and the ‘superbowl’ of 1941: newsletter, December 17, 2021

December 17, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalists, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, December 17, 2021. The recent flutter of publicity about the fact that trial defendant Ghislaine Maxwell sketched the artist who was sketching her in court (see this New York Magazine article if you want to know more about that) reminded me about • Read More »

The most influential American woman of the 19th century, Thomas Bodley, and the masses on Twitter: newsletter, December 10, 2021

December 10, 2021 | 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 (2,290) on Friday, December 10, 2021. Nearly one quarter of adults in the United States (23 percent) are on Twitter, according to a recent in-depth survey and analysis by the Pew Research Center. I was surprised by that figure because it is higher than I • Read More »