The best-selling textbook of all time, the motivations of an art forger, and the remarkable Mary Somerville:newsletter, June 18, 2021

June 20, 2021 | 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 (2,332) on Friday, June 18, 2021. The latest controversy to hit Major League Baseball revolves around the “sticky stuff” many pitchers apply to a baseball before they throw it. Applying any foreign substance to a baseball is against the rules. The controversy has been sparked • Read More »

Mary Somerville, the woman who became the first scientist (part 2)

June 19, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

By the time Mary Somerville was 47 years old in 1827, she had lived what might have seemed like to many a full life for a nineteenth-century female. Actually, more than a full life. She had grown up the daughter of a British Naval captain, and as a child the circumstances of her family were • Read More »

The first ‘scientist,’ Forsyth’s enjoyment of silence, and the Irish gun plot: newsletter, June 11, 2021

June 13, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, podcasting, reporters, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,332) on Friday, June 11, 2021. Periodically, a few people, and a few members of the news media — and then a few government officials and agencies — will stir themselves up over an identified flying objects, UFOs. As I write this, we are awaiting • Read More »

Frederick Forsyth and the importance of silence to a writer

June 12, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

Stories of how writers become writers — the origin narrative, if you will — are continually fascinating and somewhat more rare than you might think. Writers, particularly writers of fiction, enjoy telling other people’s stories, but they often think but their own stories or dull or even non-existent.  Not so with Frederick Forsyth, one of • Read More »

So, Republic, what did you do during The Troubles?

June 11, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

When The Troubles erupted in August 1969 in the six counties in Northern Ireland that Great Britain still claimed, the two sides of the conflict — the Protestants and the Catholics — were well and quickly established in the eyes of the world. Protestants were in the majority in those counties, and discrimination against Catholics, • Read More »

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: the great poetic influencer of the 19th century

June 7, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, writers, writing.

Since the early 19th century, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), has remained one of the most honored, discussed, and beloved poems in all of English literature. (Here I am excluding the feelings of most high school sophomores who when faced with reading the poem find it daunting, dreary, and dense)  • Read More »

Inoculation’s advocate, Fleming’s Casino Royale, and the first American to die in Vietnam: newsletter, June 4, 2021

June 6, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,332) on Friday, June 4, 2021. In addition to all of the delights of a late but beautiful spring here in East Tennessee, we are being treated to one of Mother Nature’s rare rock concerts. It happens less often than a Bruce Springsteen show but • Read More »

American Library Association’s list of “most challenged books” for 2020

June 1, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, journalism.

Chances are, there’s a group in your community that wants to dictate what books you and your children can read. They often do this by telling public libraries what they should not put on the shelves. Most libraries resist this kind of pressure, and the American Library Association keeps track of these challenges. Here is • Read More »

The first American to die in Vietnam

May 30, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

There are, unfortunately, lots of candidates for “the first American to die in Vietnam.” Each historian of the conflict has a different name, usually from the early 1960s and some that go back to the 1950s. Historian Frederik Logevall, in his Pulitzer Prizing winning Embers of War, takes readers all the way back to 1945 • Read More »

Fleming conceives of Bond, Wesley’s strategy, and a librarian reveals all: newsletter, May 28, 2021

May 30, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,332) on Friday, May 28, 2021. Do you know a secret? This week’s newsletter has an item about a secret that “only librarians know.” It’s a fun piece, and I recommend the link. But it got me to thinking that as a long-standing member of • Read More »

The power of forgiveness

May 29, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Anyone who is human and social has experienced the pain of being offended or hurt deeply and the inevitable sequence of anger or even hatred toward the person responsible. It seems that the best we can do in those situations is to turn it aside and cut off contact by “unfriending” that person or cutting • Read More »

A secret only librarians know

May 29, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Will Thomas, a librarian at the Tulsa Public Library in Oklahoma, has written a delightful piece for CrimeReads.com that tells a secret only librarians know. No, I am not going to disclose it here. It’s his secret, so if you want to know, you’ll have to read the article. If you do, Thomas, author of • Read More »

John Wesley and money

May 29, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

John Wesley was a thoroughly modern, Westernized individual. He advised his followers to do three things with money. The first two were — Make all you can. — Save all you can. So far, so good. The advice is financially sound and rings responsibly in our ears. The third piece of advice might not: — • Read More »