Archives: fiction

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

David Simon: life on the mean streets of Baltimore and the fading power of journalism

June 12, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: fiction, journalism, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

In 1983, David Simon had finished at the University of Maryland and was trying to make it onto the metro staff of a big city newspaper. He was stringing—writing as a freelancer—for the Baltimore Sun, covering stories around College Park and the UM campus. Simon had cut his teeth as a student journalist on The • 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 »

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 »

Manly Wade Wellman, the author with many occupations and many genres

April 16, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism, writers, writing.

Many authors, if not most, have a second or third job that produces income and helps support themselves and their families while they are writing. Few authors, however, can claim as many different jobs and professions over as long a period of time as Manly Wade Wellman. During his 83-year life, Wellman was a harvest • Read More »

The rites of April, Manly Wade Wellman, and some nifty giveaways: newsletter, April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 15, 2022. One of my personal rites of April—in addition to observing Opening Day and National Poetry Month (see below)—is having to restart my beehives, which for the past several years have died out during the fall. Fortunately, this task is • Read More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »