Archives: writers

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 »

Ralph Nader, preserving memory, KMOX and the Cards: newsletter, September 2, 2022

September 2, 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, September 2, 2022. All of us, no matter how many birthdays we have acquired, forget things. We forget names. We forget the items that are on our calendars. We forget where we put our keys and even, occasionally, where we park • Read More »

Marie Tharp, talkin’ Appalachian, Salman Rushdie, and a special watercolor portrait: newsletter, August 26, 2022

August 26, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2, 491) on Friday, August 26, 2022. One of the great pleasures that I have had recently is revisiting a couple of the novels that I had the pleasure of reading as a boy. Those two novels are Treasure Island and Kidnapped, both by Robert • Read More »

Vince Scully and David McCullough, the murder of Julia Wallace: newsletter, August 19, 2022

August 19, 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, August 19, 2022. Not long ago, as I was driving around my semi-rural, very partisanly-red county in Tennessee, a car (maybe it was a truck) passed me with a bumper sticker I had never noticed before. It read, simply, “SOCIALISM SUCKS.” • Read More »

P.D. James: setting is central to her novels

August 13, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: fiction, journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

When author P.D. James began writing her first novel in the mid-1950s, she wrote later, “it never occurred to me to make a start with anything other than a detective story.” James had been reading mystery novels for many years, and she believed that she could write one that would be good enough to find • Read More »

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 »

Helen Kirkpatrick covers the before, during, and after of World War II

August 6, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, reporters, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

When Helen Kirkpatrick finally got a job as the London correspondent for the Chicago Daily News in 1939, she gave herself a seemingly impossible first assignment. She suggested to her editors that she try to get an interview with the duke of Windsor, the former king Edward. The assignment seemed impossible because it was well • 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, 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 »

Caroline Norton and the first challenge to the male dominance of English law

June 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

“I exist and I suffer; but the law denies my existence.” Caroline Norton, who wrote this dynamite sentence, knew the power of the pen. Indeed, she lived in a time when it was her only weapon, and she used it well. Doing so brought her a measure of personal satisfaction, but it also changed the • 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 »