Archives: writing

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 »

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 »

Handel’s comeback, ebook giveaways, bee swarms, and a preview of William Roughead: newsletter, April 8, 2022

April 8, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 8, 2022. Part of the power of the English language lies in its ability to reform, revise, and regenerate itself on almost a daily basis. English is not a static entity, as some people might wish. It is vibrant and dynamic. • Read More »

Edna St. Vincent Millay and the voice of feminism, more about William Roughead, and lots of reader reaction: newsletter, April 1, 2022

April 1, 2022 | 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 (2,234) on Friday, April 1, 2022. You newsletter readers are carrying much of the load for this week’s newsletter. I have received several substantial and interesting comments on articles I have included during the past couple of weeks, and I want to share them with • Read More »

Black Hawk and the first published Native American autobiography

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

We naturally associate the name of Black Hawk with war and fighting (think: Black Hawk helicopter), but the real history of Chief Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk Nation of Native Americans, encompasses not only war but a literary tradition: Black Hawk was the first Native American to have an autobiography published in the • Read More »

The first Native American autobiography, Mozart’s genius, and Murder Most Criminous: newsletter, March 25, 2022

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

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, March 25, 2022. This week I have been working in the library, not in my normal capacity, but as a librarian—or maybe as a pseudo-librarian. My local library has begun the process of “radio-frequency tagging.” This involves putting a radio-frequency sticker on • Read More »

Edgar Smith and William F. Buckley

March 20, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

One of the oddest stories to emerge from the 1960s, a period of many odd tales, is that of Edgar H. Smith, a convicted killer, and William F. Buckley, scion of conservative thought in America. Smith had been convicted of killing Victoria Zielinski, a 15-year-old high school student, in 1957 in Bergen County, New Jersey. • Read More »

The return of William Roughead, The Godfather’s 50th, and a strange story from the Sixties: newsletter, March 18, 2022

March 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, March 18, 2022. This month of March marks the 50th anniversary of the premier of Francis Ford Coppola’s great movie The Godfather. Many critics and many just plain movie-goers (like me) consider that film the greatest piece of cinema that Hollywood has • Read More »

Murder Most Criminous (volume 1): resurrecting the father of true crime writing

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

The father of modern true crime writing is back. William Roughead, the Scottish barrister who attended and reported on every major British murder trial for nearly six decades and wrote about each of them in detailed and yet interesting accounts, is returning from obscurity. Roughead died in 1952 but not before he built a huge • Read More »

The first African-American mystery writer, “rules of writing” lists, and an amusing baseball memory: newsletter, March 11, 2022

March 11, 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, March 11, 2022. Many years ago when I taught at the University of Alabama, I would attend the Crimson Tide baseball games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The wooden bleachers at the stadium had a friendly and informal feel. The crowds were • Read More »

Catherine Parr: the first named published author in English who was female

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

History remembers the name of Catherine Parr as the sixth wife of Henry VIII’s six wives, the one who survived. In truth, however, she should be remembered for much more than that. Her accomplishments were many and widespread. Catherine Parr was the first female to have a book published in English with her name as • Read More »

The first female identified as a book author, Antwerp’s golden age, and more on cryptic crosswords: newsletter, March 4, 2022

March 4, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,199) on Friday, March 4, 2022. Spring, the calendar tells us, is still a few weeks away, but in my part of the world, it has begun early—and not a moment too soon. The grass and trees are turning a bit greener, and the early • Read More »