Archives: books

Walking, Arthur Ashe, and a new video: newsletter, Aug. 2, 2018

August 5, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, watercolor, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,716) on Friday, August 9, 2019. ​ Living well, as any sensible person knows, is not just a matter of diet and exercise. It’s a whole range of behaviors, attitudes, habits, and choices. Susan Saunders and Annabel Streets, two women who have looked deeply into the science • Read More »

The practical, victorious, but less-than-glorious fight for women’s suffrage

July 31, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism.

We are entering a period when, for the next year or so, many Americans will be celebrating the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote nationwide. The history of the ratification fight is often presented as glorious and ultimately victorious, a great confirmation that sometimes our political • Read More »

Bouton’s ‘Ball Four,’ mystery recommendations, and Mark Twain’s delight: newsletter, July 26, 2019

July 30, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,7xx) on Friday, July 26, 2019.   Three weeks ago when we extracted the honey from our beehives, the last part of the process was putting the “wet” frames back onto the hives. These are frames that contain honey, but the amounts are too small • Read More »

Bouton’s ‘Ball Four’: a book that afflicted the rich and comfortable of the baseball world

July 28, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

When someone writes a book that thoroughly offends and discomfits people who are well off, in positions of influence, rich, and comfortable, it should merit our attention. That was the case when Jim Bouton, briefly a star pitcher for the New York Yankees, wrote his tell-all memoir Ball Four that centered on stories from inside • Read More »

Antonia Fraser’s writing day

July 3, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

Fortunately for writer and historian Lady Antonia Fraser, she was pronounced as “uppity” when she was a girl attending convent school. The nuns, for some reason she doesn’t specify, didn’t like her. They decided to punish by making her spend her Saturday mornings learning to touch type. “In consequence,” she writes, “I’m a touch typist • Read More »

Hemingway on writing, Fraser at writing, counterfeit books, and a podcast: newsletter, June 28, 2019

July 1, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter, watercolor, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,7xx) on Friday, June 28, 2019. The great satisfaction of a project nearing completion came for me this week with the arrival of proof copies of Loyal Mountaineers: The Civil War Memoirs of Will McTeer. McTeer left his home near the Great Smoky Mountains in • Read More »

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Will McTeer and his Civil War memories

June 28, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, writers, writing.

Will McTeer was one of more than two million soldiers who fought to preserve the Union during the Civil War years of 1861-1865. He was not looking for a fight. He did so because he loved his country and what it represented and because he feared the Confederacy – an idea with which he, his • Read More »

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Julia Ward Howe’s visions of glory, the fountain pen, more about libraries: newsletter, June 14, 2019

June 17, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, Civil War, journalism, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,775) on Friday, June 14, 2019.   Beans on the stand, tassels on the corn, blooms on the cucumbers, tomatoes on the vine — the garden continues to amaze us with its seasonable miracles. The months of planning, planting, watering, weeding, and watching are being • Read More »

Walt Whitman’s calculated plan to achieve the fame he wanted

June 11, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, writers, writing.

Walt Whitman (whose 200th birthday we celebrated briefly last week) was 35 years old in 1854 with no job and no prospects. He knew, however, that he wanted to be a poet — a famous poet. He was well on the way to being a poet. He had already written much of his seminal work, Leaves • Read More »

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Walt Whitman chases fame, Verse and Vision, libraries, and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, June 7, 2019

June 10, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,7xx) on Friday, June 7, 2019.     Celebrations of great moments and memories in the history of the United States continue during these weeks with Memorial Day, followed by D-Day (June 6), Flag Day (June 14), and then July the Fourth. Each of these times calls for clear-eyed reflection and assessment • Read More »

Sir Walter Scott writes himself out of debt, more on libraries, competing definitions of journalism: newsletter, May 31, 2019

June 3, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, watercolor, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,7xx) on Friday, May 31, 2019. For the past six or seven weeks, we have left our beehives alone. This is the main honey-making season, and we did not want to do anything to disturb them. That changed this week when I opened them to make • Read More »

What good are libraries? How should they be run? Provocative questions from a reader

May 29, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, libraries.

After my rant last week about the funding proposals from the county government for our local library, one of my very good newsletter readers and faithful correspondents (Frank C.) sent me these provocative questions. They were challenging enough that I thought I should share them with you to see if you had any reactions. Does • Read More »

Overcoming debt and grief, Sir Walter Scott wrote – and wrote some more

May 27, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers.

Despite fame and great fortune, Walter Scott found himself in 1826 at a low point in his life. The year before, a banking crisis had plunged the nation into a depression, and Scott went from being a man rich with assets to a man with 130,000 pounds of debt (the equivalent of 10 million pounds • Read More »

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What good are libraries, The Winds of War, and getting away with murder in the U.S.:newsletter, May 24, 2019

May 27, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, writers.

  For the last 105 weeks or so, this newsletter has been winging its electronic way to subscribers each Friday, rain or shine, hot or cold. We just passed our second birthday, and when I realized that the anniversary had come and gone, it was something of a shock — in a good way. I started • Read More »

Television could barely contain “The Winds of War” and its author Herman Wouk

May 22, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

When The Winds of War mini-series premiered on the ABC television network in 1983, the small box in the living room could barely contain the gigantic tale of worldwide proportions that its author Herman Wouk had conceived. It was the story of the coming of World War II in Europe and elsewhere, and its central character • Read More »

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Howard Pyle and the modern Robin Hood; Rick Atkinson’s new trilogy; and Ole Bert: newsletter, May 17, 2019

May 20, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,815) on Friday, May 17, 2019. The big news on the home front is that our local library is in danger. Because of the way things are structured around here, the Blount County Public Library (see the accompanying watercolor) is supported by three different governments: Maryville, Alcoa, • Read More »

Rick Atkinson turns his attention to the American Revolution

May 18, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books.

One of the great popular historians of our day — certainly in a league with David McCullough and Nathaniel Philbrick — is Rick Atkinson, whose An Army at Dawn won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 2002. That book was the first of three about fighting in Africa and Europe during World War II. They all are some of the best reading about • Read More »

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