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 »

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 »

Monty’s Double: a hoax to fool Hitler and the Germans

July 31, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

One of the most recognizable leaders among the World War II Allies was Field Marshal Bernard “Monty” Montgomery. Montgomery never shied away from cameras, film crews, or any other publicity machine. His appearance was indeed immediately recognizable. He was shorter than average, wore an unusual black beret, had a malleable face with a small mustache, • 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 »

Cicero, the quintessential public speaker

July 16, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism.

Citizens of ancient Rome loved public speaking. They put the highest value on a well-articulated argument or an emotion-filled oration. It wasn’t just good entertainment. A orator could make them think and feel. No one was better at public speaking than Marcus Tullius Cicero. Like many other Romans, Cicero studied what made a good, effective • 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 (part 2)

July 2, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

This is the second part of a two-part summary of the Battle of Midway, which occurred 80 years ago this month. Part 1 can be found here. By midmorning on June 4, 1942, the Japanese naval command must have felt pretty satisfied. Their plan to entrap and ambush American naval aircraft carriers near the island • 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 »

Johann Amos Comenius, founding father of modern education

June 25, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism, journalism education.

The name of Johann Amos Comenius rarely echoes through the halls of modern academe, but his ideas about how we should educate ourselves remain alive, and his influence continues. For instance, the American educational system of kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and high school levels is an idea that originated with Comenius. His influence runs far • 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 »

The libel trial of Theodore Roosevelt

June 18, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism.

Imagine a libel trial featuring an ex-president as the defendant and a future president testifying on his behalf. That happened in 1915, more than six years after Theodore Roosevelt had left the office that he loved more than any other. He spent most of his energy, which was considerable, and his waking hours trying to • 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 »