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Numbers 11-15

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Newsletter # 11
Late August 2001


For those of you still looking for Labor Day week-end reading, what could be more appropriate than books about workers and politics? Readers sent me many excellent suggestions for novels with a political slant, and I'll be giving you some of my own reactions to these books and others early in September.

Meanwhile, for Labor Day, Steve Strahs says: "Re political lit, there's a labor novel by K. B. Gilden on my shelf, BETWEEN THE HILLS AND THE SEA, put out by ILR Press with a foreword by the labor historian David Montgomery. I liked it, very realistic about the decline of labor in the '50's and the despair of activists as postwar period hopes go down the tubes. A good read, if not great literature."

Ingrid Hughes recommends Pat Barker's trilogy REGENERATION, THE EYE IN THE DOOR, and THE GHOST ROAD: "I started in on the first, couldn't put it down, went out and got the second, couldn't put it down, and promised myself I wouldn't buy the third till it was out in paper, but couldn't resist the hard copy. Very adept writing, good dialogue, interesting plots and characters in these three antiwar novels about British soldiers, war resistors and homosexuals during World War I. The first begins with three real people, the writers Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves, and the anthropologist-turned-doctor of shell shocked soldiers, William Rivers. Sassoon, after a long period in the trenches, wrote a statement against the war and Graves, to save him from a court martial, had him declared medically unfit and sent to the hospital Rivers ran in England for a cure. The whole of the first novel is set there, except for flashbacks to the front. "The second novel, THE EYE IN THE DOOR, begins with the situation of jailed pacifists who find themselves observed by an eye in the peephole of the jailroom door, and then takes up a bi-sexual working class soldier introduced in REGENERATION, Billy Prior. The anti-homosexual hysteria of this period is another ingredient in the novels. "The third novel, THE GHOST ROAD, again follows Billy Prior, as well as William Rivers, and there are flashbacks to [Williams'] field work on a tropical island.... Writing about the books makes me want to reread them. Pat Barker (yes, a woman) is terrific."

Ingrid also mentions Bessie Head's books and Nadine Gordimer's, saying, "I haven't read much of her stuff, because I've found it aimed at a white audience and too intent on showing the failings of whites in South Africa. There's something too fixed on guilt about her work, for my taste, so I'd love to know if other people have special favorites among her books."

Alice Robinson-Gilman is working on a list of political novels to share with this Newsletter readership, but she offers this first installment: A MAN by Oriana Fallaci. (About a woman's relationship with a revolutionary. It is very specific and very interesting about the pulls of politics on individuals.) BUFFALO AFTERNOON by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. (About Vietnam) A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT by Sebastien Japrisot. THE FARMING OF BONES by Edwidge Danticat. WHAT NOW LITTLE MAN by Hans Fallada. (About the effect of war on ordinary Germans.) STONES FROM THE RIVER by Ursula Hegi. WAITING by Ha Jin. (This book has shown up over and over in recommendations from readers of BOOKS FOR READERS). THE BINDING CHAIR by Kathryn Harrison. VITA, by Marge Piercy. (About a "weatherman" in hiding and what that's like.) WHILE I WAS GONE by Sue Miller. (Vietnam).

Alice also recommends Pat Barker's WWI trilogy described above.

Finally, Suzanne McConnell writes, "I read LICK CREEK by Brad Kessler....It's set in Appalachia and the lovely thing, aside from the prose, which is lyrical and lovely, is that it's about the coming of electricity to one hollow, and woven throughout are riffs on electricity, as well as coal occasionally. Wonderful juxtaposition of a lineman from Brooklyn, a Russian Jew, and the female main character, from Appalachia. And there's the usual Big Shot , representative of corporate progress, so there's a 'political' component. Highly enjoyable hammock read..... That's all she wrote right now!"

I'm with Suzanne! Enough for now, but please don't forget to continue sending your recommendations for books- political, anti-political, a-political, or any other genre your please. Your responses and my responses to your responses and our responses to each other are what the World Wide Web should be about.

                                             - Meredith Sue Willis



Newsletter # 12
September 2001


The terrorist bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the plane crash in southern Pennsylvania, and all the associated horror, have made me more certain than ever that American writers of fiction and poetry have narrowed their field of vision too much. We need to be using our critical intelligence and our creative imagination as fully as possible, including in the arena I've been calling "politics." I think what I am really seeking is writing that offers insight into human institutions and history as well as into private lives.

For example, right now we desperately need more creative responses to terrorism than the ancient and inebriating urge for revenge. We need empathy- including for civilian survivors of the war in Afghanistan as well as for the victims of crimes against humanity- some financed by our own government and corporate interests. Perhaps we even need to imagine what it would take to be so dedicated to an idea that we would commit mass murder to bring our idea to fruition.

Some creative writing assignments: What would have made me grow up to be a Timothy McVeigh? What is it like this morning to be a woman in Afghanistan, not allowed to go out without a man from my family, who has heard the military might of the United States is coming to kill me and my children? What would it be like to be a Sikh wearing my religiously prescribed turban when a drunken patriot comes toward me shouting, "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" If I had Osama bin Laden tied in a chair in my room right now, and I had a gun in my hand, would I shoot him? If so, in what part of his body? What if the only weapon I had was a hammer from the tool box?

I would also be interested in hearing what you are reading in these times besides newspapers. Do you have special comfort reading? Escape literature? Reading that helps you get a historical perspective on events? In my puny efforts at getting a grip, I picked up a book I had laid aside about two years ago, Albert Hourani's A HISTORY OF THE ARAB PEOPLES. I also found myself late one night reading websites for American Muslim women- essays about why covering your body and hair is a sign of self-respect. I have also been having vivid flashes of Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz's wonderful novel PALACE WALK, which mixes family life and political life in Cairo just before the first World War.

And finally, Judith Moffett forwarded me a poem I recommend to all of you, W.H. Auden's "September 1, 1939." It ends with this stanza:

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies:
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light,
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

       - W.H. Auden.

Keep in your heart the blueness of the high skies, the sound of human voices singing, and the sweet breath of our children.

                                             - Meredith Sue Willis



Newsletter # 13
October 2001


I just got back from the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston, West Virginia. It was such a delight in these present days of anthrax anxiety to be participating in an event about books- panels and discussions and displays and lots of writer and reader friends. We shared poems and stories about writers and, of course, the endless saga of publishing.

A newly revitalized publishing house is West Virginia University Press, which has just released a reprint of a terrific funny-crude novel called CRUM by Lee Maynard. I had the pleasure and privilege of writing the introduction, and I'm definitely a fan of this one.

I'm also reading a novel by one of the headlined speakers at the festival, Robert Morgan. His worthy book GAP CREEK became a best seller after Oprah put it on her book club list. And if you like GAP CREEK, don't forget its predecessors, Harriette Arnow's HUNTER'S HORN, which I've praised at length here, and CALL HOME THE HEART by Fielding Burke, which is both about mountain life and about the great Gastonia mill strike of the early 20th century.

Meanwhile, readers of this newsletter have been writing to say what they turned to in the days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Ardian Gill said, "I quite agree that modern fiction tends to be a tiny tessera instead of the whole mosaic. Where is Dos Passos when we need him? I have just ordered David Kennedy's FREEDOM FROM FEAR: AMERICA IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND WORLD WAR II.. I find it impossible to concentrate on much other than the papers, and this book seems appropriate to the current crisis. And then my next book is set in the Depression, and I'm reading a lot of books and newspapers of the period."

Judy Moffett reported on what she's reading as well as what she'd like to read: "I had been reading, and have continued to read when able to concentrate enough, Joseph Campbell's HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. There's a perspective on these events to be derived from world mythology, but I don't seem to be heroic enough--or evolved enough?--to sustain it, at least not emotionally, which is where it needs to be sustained. I was reading Tennyson's IN MEMORIAM in an edition for classroom use, with critical essays in the back, and that I haven't been able to get back into, though I was very involved in it before [September 11.] Instead I started rereading the Harry Potter books. They would work better if they were more distinguished as literature, but they're not bad. A good book to read right now would be a kids' book about life in Afghanistan, told from the perspective of a girl of ll or 12. Could somebody write it, please?"

Shelley Ettinger happened to be reading Franz Fanon's THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH when the plane-bombs hit. She says, "It's so relevant, because it's about the rage and violence of oppressed and colonized peoples. As far as I can see, the U.S. government is the primary purveyor of acts of mass terrorism against civilians. So I've been thinking about books that address that. There are several novels about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, although the only one I can think of offhand is H by Makoto Oda, which was very powerful. There's so much rich political literature out of Latin America, and I'm sure there's stuff from or about Chile--where the U.S.-planned-and-paid-for assassination of President Salvador Allende and murder of 10,000 Chileans took place on Sept. 11, 1973, 28 years to the day before the World Trade Center destruction." She also suggests a history of the Palestinian people entitled OUR ROOTS ARE STILL ALIVE and an informative book by Ramsey Clark and others called THE CHILDREN ARE DYING.

And Allan Appel (author of the brand new CLUB REVELATION, about which I'll say more soon) writes, "On my way to get my New Haven bagel this morning I ... read while in line Jonathan Yardley's opinion column.... In the column he quotes Naipaul and Roth and some of their remarks and uses them as a spring board to discuss the irrelevance of literature with specific reference to today's post Sept 11 events. It's not a dumb piece and troubling indeed, and it seems to suggest that there is declining readership in part because politics and globalization and so forth are not finding their way into our literary stories." The Yardley article, by the way, recommends two new novels by South Americans, Isabel Allende's PORTRAIT IN SEPIA and Mario Vargas Llosa's soon-to-be-published THE FEAST OF THE GOAT. I'll end this newsletter with a quotation from Yardley about these two novels: "What is especially interesting....is that although politics is central to both, neither is a 'political novel' as the term is commonly understood. Though both writers (Vargas Llosa most especially) have strong political convictions, their novels....are about what politics, and the violence that can accompany it, do to all these people. Though there are ideas in these books, at their core they are about human beings and the world in which they live."

The whole article, called "Literary Affliction" is online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23206-2001Oct7.html. It appeared first in the Oct 8, 2001 WASHINGTON POST.

I finished the second volume of Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy, THE PALACE OF DESIRE, and continue to be thankful for that precise and nuanced presentation of Egypt in the 1920's. One of fiction's greatest contributions is how it allows us to slip for a while into the skin of other people.

                                                          -- Meredith Sue WIllis




Newsletter # 14
November 2001


Note to those receiving BOOKS FOR READERS for the first time: This newsletter is not a book review, and it is not a discussion group or Listserv. Rather, it is personal reflections and recommendations from my reading and the reading of my friends and colleagues. Please send reactions and suggestions directly to Meredith Sue Willis at MSueWillis@aol.com. To subscribe, send a blank email to readerbooks-subscribe @topica.com. Past newsletters are posted at http://www.topica.com/lists/Readerbooks as well as here, at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html.


This issue of Books for Readers Newsletter is a celebration of publications by my friends. Every writer mentioned here is a guaranteed personal friend of mine, and I love their work and am proud of their accomplishments!

Let me begin with a new novel from Coffeehouse Press. Coffeehouse is a small publisher that everyone ought to support for its long list of serious fiction alone. Allan Appel's new novel is CLUB REVELATION about three couples who live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Each couple consists of a Jewish man and a gentile woman. The families have no children, but they do own a building together, and the building has a private museum of the 1960's on the top floor and a restaurant on the first floor. The story line centers around what happens when the restaurant is rented by a handsome young born-again Christian with a mission to convert the Jews and thereby bring on the Second Coming of Christ. The novel is full of dialogues on Judaism and Christianity and long-term marriage. As I read, I kept wanting to join in the conversation. It's lively and stimulating and manages to take both its ideas and its humor very seriously.

Next, I want to tell you about three collections of short stories from a co-operative press I'm associated with, Hamilton Stone Editions. Previously, Hamilton Stone has published mostly reprints of out-of-print, commercially published books, but these collections of short fiction are all brand new, although most of the stories appeared previously in literary and commercial magazines.

Rebecca Kavaler's A LITTLE MORE THAN KIN is full of the wonderfully quirky, prize-winning stories that have led to her work appearing from SHENANDOAH and the YALE REVIEW to BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES.

Carole Rosenthal's IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ME got a sterling advance review in BOOKLIST that says, among other things, "Through these original and imaginative scenarios, Rosenthal explores ideas that would otherwise go unexamined, providing a fascinating glimpse of the fears that lurk beneath the surface of our everyday lives."

The third new Hamilton Stone collection is Edith Konecky's PAST SORROWS AND COMING ATTRACTIONS. This is Konecky's first collection of her widely published short stories. Simultaneously, The Feminist Press is bringing out a twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Konecky's much-admired contemporary classic ALLEGRA MAUD GOLDMAN.

A few more recently published books by friends of mine include Ingrid Hughes' collection of poems, ALL THE TREES IN THE OCEAN (Pink Granite Press); Eva Kollisch's memoir GIRL IN MOVEMENT (Glad Day Books), which I recommended in my very first Newsletter; and Vera B. Williams' AMBER WAS BRAVE, ESSIE WAS SMART : THE STORY OF AMBER AND ESSIE TOLD HERE IN POEMS AND PICTURES. Vera is both writer and artist for beautiful and beloved books which include MORE, MORE, MORE SAID THE BABY; SCOOTER; and A CHAIR FOR MY MOTHER among many others.

I also want to remind new readers about the funny-funky CRUM (Vandalia Press) by Lee Maynard for which I had the pleasure and privilege of writing the introduction. If you enjoy controversy, take a look at this news story about how CRUM was banned in Beckley (West Virginia) at http://www.wvgazette.com/news/News/200111016 .

Last but not least, Shelley Ettinger, who often sends in suggestions for reading to this newsletter, has published her first poem online. The poem centers on one of the terrible and vivid images from the World Trade Center attacks, and you can read it at http://www.facets-magazine.com/ettinger.html. These are my recommendations. Please keep sending your ideas for reading, especially things that folks might miss if they only keep up with the commercial media.

                                                         - Meredith Sue Willis

For more information about Hamilton Stone Editions, go to www.hamiltonstone.org online or write Hamilton Stone Editions, P.O. Box 43, Maplewood, NJ 07040.

For more information about the Feminist Press, go to http://www.feministpress.org, or write to The Feminist Press, 365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10016.

Coffeehouse Press is located at http://www.coffeehousepress.org on the web or 27 North Fourth Street, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401.

Glad Day Books is at 1-888-874-6904, P.O. Box 699, Enfield, NH 03748.

Pink Granite Press is at 311 East 9th Street, New York, NY10003.

Vandalia Press is part of the West Virginia University Press.



Newsletter # 15
Late November 2001

We're coming up fast on the holiday season, and it is a strange year: government dispatches claim advances in a war that was never declared; people shop till they drop while deep in their hearts fearing the end of the world. I'm choosing this moment to make my case for what I call political novels. I think what I am really after is fiction that includes everything human-- political terror and the aftermath of war, but also daily life and explorations of the place of the individual in history.

Novels have, of course, always included politics. George Eliot's FELIX HOLT: RADICAL is a favorite of mine from the nineteenth century. Much of Anthony Trollope's work has a political milieu (including the politics of the Established Church), and his mother Frances Trollope, who was famous long before him, wrote novels about social ills like child labor in factories.

When I received my formal training in literary criticism and writing, all the emphasis was on intense, dense, authentic delineating of experience in precise language. We tended to make a fetish of showing (as opposed to telling). When politics did appear (as in my own novel Trespassers, set during the anti-Vietnam war era), it was as a backdrop. There's nothing wrong with this- experience and sensation and emotion have to be at the heart of fiction. I just want other things included as well: life at our jobs and how we nurse our babies and what happens in small town politics and labor organizing. I want to include everything human in literature-- I think the more we include as grist for our mill, the more we will contribute to our troubling times.

A couple of years back I read (it took me over a year- not an easy book!) Barbara Foley's RADICAL REPRESENTATIONS. This big, dense, nonfiction tome analyzes the consciously leftist proletarian novels of the 1930's. I got a list of terrific books I can happily pass on, including Agnes Smedley's DAUGHTER OF EARTH, Jack Conroy's THE DISINHERITED, Tom Kromer's WAITING FOR NOTHING, and Fielding Burke's CALL HOME THE HEART. But more important for me was the book's argument for including political thinking and political experience in fiction. It seems so obvious that these are part of human experience too, but I had been trained too well; I had closed off whole areas of my thinking and experience from my own writing and from what I expected in novels.

A second type of political novel, then, is those works that are frankly didactic and openly dedicated to spreading propaganda. These range from ugly right-wing fantasies like THE TURNER DIARIES to Myra Page's rather delightful MOSCOW YANKEE that contrasts life in Depression era USA (all bad) to life in newly Communist USSR (all good). Even a twentieth century classic like Richard Wright's NATIVE SON has passages of overt ideology that readers usually don't remember (especially long speeches near the end by Bigger Thomas's lawyer).

A third type of political novel is probably my ideal. This is the kind that doesn't use or propagandize political ideas so much as integrate them into the fabric of the work. In this type of novel, love, sex, suspense, language-- everything-- gets interwoven with explorations of human behavior at the individual and social level. Pat Barker's World War I trilogy (REGENERATION, THE EYE AT THE DOOR, and THE GHOST ROAD) was strongly recommended here by a number of readers (See BOOKS FOR READERS Newsletter #11), and I now add my enthusiastic recommendation. The novels have wonderful people in them that you care about intensely, but they mix these characters with social and historical phenomenon such as hysteria about homosexuals in England and the lives of headhunters in Melanesia. Without any loss of emotional impact, the novels give you a sense of how we are in relation to one another in groups as well as in pairs or individually.

I came across another novel that integrates politics and art in a cut-rate bin at a college bookstore. The author, George Dennison, was best known as a writer of nonfiction on schooling in the early nineteen-seventies. His novel LUISA DOMENIC begins with the lives of some urban expatriates on a Vermont farm who garden and write and entertain friends and raise some marvelously alive children. Then a friend asks the family to house overnight a refugee fleeing the military coup in Chile. The family is happy to do this of course, but the last third of the novel brings the horrors of civil war, murder, and torture into the family's little Eden. The material about Chile under Augusto Pinochet (supported by the U.S.) is shocking and challenging to those of us with comfortable lives- albeit at the end of 2001 we Americans may finally have joined the rest of the world in our understanding of being in constant danger.

The fictionally expressed horrors of World War I, Pinochet's hellish Chile, our present day real life where airliners are turned into bombs- is it time now for people to offer suggestions for lighter reading? What I really want, of course, is your recommendations for books of ALL kinds. So whether or not you agree that fiction needs more politics, do send your ideas for good reading, and I'll share them with other readers of this Newsletter.

                                                        - Meredith Sue Willis




Irene Tiersten suggests I WAS AMELIA ERHARDT by Jane Mendelson. (This summer I really enjoyed her previous suggestion, Kathryn Davis's THE GIRL WHO TROD ON A LOAF). Ardian Gill just finished reading EAST OF EDEN and found it wonderful. He also says it is "encouraging...that even Nobelists make grammatical errors and proofreaders miss things edition after edition." And Ted Seagull says, "I'm reading SLOW LEARNERS by Pynchon. What a treat. That's why I stopped writing!"






The largest unionized bookstore in America has a webstore at Powells Books. Some people prefer shopping online there to shopping at Amazon.com. An alternative way to reach Powell's site and support the union is via http://www.powellsunion.com. Prices are the same but 10% of your purchase will go to support the union benefit fund. For a discussion about Amazon and organized labor and small presses, see the comments of Jonathan Greene and others in Issues #97 and #98 .



If a book discussed in this newsletter has no source mentioned, don’t forget your public library and your local independent bookstore.
To buy books online, I often go first to Bookfinder or Alibris.   Bookfinder has a feature that tells you the book price WITH shipping and handling, so you can compare what you’re really going to have to pay.
A lot of people whose political instincts I respect prefer the unionized bricks-and-mortar bookstore Powells (see "About Amazon.com" above) that sells online at http://powellsbooks.com.  Another good source for used and out-of-print books is All Book Stores at http://www.allbookstores.com/ .
Take a look also at Paperback Book Swap, a low cost (postage only) way to get rid of your old books and get new ones by trading with other readers.

If you are using an electronic reader like Kindle, Nook, or Kobo, get free books at the Gutenberg Project-- most classics, and other things as well. Libraries now lend e-books too!




Please send responses and suggestions directly to Meredith Sue Willis at MeredithSueWillis@gmail.com. Unless you instruct otherwise, your responses may be edited for length and published in this newsletter.

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#146 Henry Adams AGAIN!
#145 Henry Adams, Darnell Arnoult, Jaimy Gordon, Charlotte Brontë
#144 Carter Seaton, NancyKay Shapiro, Lady Murasaki Shikibu
#143 Little America; Guns,Germs, and Steel; The Trial
#142 Blog Fiction, Leah by Seymour Epstein, Wolf Hall, etc.
#141 Dreama Frisk on Hilary Spurling's Pearl Buck in China; Anita Desai; Cormac McCarthy
#140 Valerie Nieman's Blood Clay, Dolly Withrow
#139 My Kindle, The Prime Minister, Blood Meridian
#138 Special on Publicity by Carter Seaton
#137 Michael Harris's The Chieu Hoi Saloon;The Professor and the Madman; Game of Thrones; James Alexander Thom's Follow The River
#136 James Boyle's The Creative Commons; Paola Corso, Joanne Greenberg, Monique Raphel High, Amos Oz
#135 Reviews by Carole Rosenthal, Jeffrey Sokolow, and Wanchee Wang.
#134 Daniel Deronda, books with material on black and white relations in West Virginia
#133 Susan Carpenter, Irene Nemirovsky, Jonathan Safran Foer, Kanafani, Joe Sacco
#132 Karen Armstrong's A History of God; JCO's The Falls; The Eustace Diamonds again.
#131 The Help; J. McHenry Jones, Reamy Jansen, Jamie O'Neill, Michael Chabon.
Lynda Schor, Ed Myers, Charles Bukowski, Terry Bisson, The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism
#129 Baltasar and Blimunda; the Underground Railroad; Navasky's Naming Names, new and recommended small press and indie books.
#128 Jeffrey Sokolow on Histories and memoirs of the Civil Rights Movement
#127 Olive Kitteridge; Urban fiction; Shelley Ettinger on Joyce Carol Oates
#126 Jack Hussey's Ghosts of Walden, The Leopard , Roger's Version, The Reluctanct Fundamentalist
#125 Lee Maynard's The Pale Light of Sunset; Books on John Brown suggested by Jeffrey Sokolow
#124 Cloudsplitter, Founding Brothers, Obenzinger on Bradley's Harlem Vs. Columbia University
#123 MSW's summer reading round-up; Olive Schreiner; more The Book Thief; more on the state of editing
#122 Left-wing cowboy poetry; Jewish partisans during WW2; responses to "Hire a Book Doctor?"
#121 Jane Lazarre's latest; Irving Howe's Leon Trotsky; Gringolandia; "Hire a Book Doctor?"
#120 Dreama Frisk on The Book Thief; Mark Rudd; Thulani Davis's summer reading list
#119 Two Histories of the Jews; small press books for Summer
#118 Kasuo Ichiguro, Jeanette Winterson, The Carter Family!
#117 Cat Pleska on Ann Pancake; Phyllis Moore on Jayne Anne Phillips; and Dolly Withrow on publicity
#116 Ann Pancake, American Psycho, Marc Harshman on George Mackay Brown
#115 Adam Bede, Nietzsche, Johnny Sundstrom
#114 Judith Moffett, high fantasy, Jared Diamond, Lily Tuck
#113 Espionage--nonfiction and fiction: Orson Scott Card and homophobia
#112 Marc Kaminsky, Nel Noddings, Orson Scott Card, Ed Myers
#111 James Michener, Mary Lee Settle, Ardian Gill, BIll Higginson, Jeremy Osner, Carol Brodtick
#110  Nahid Rachlin, Marion Cuba on self-publishing; Thulani Davis, The Road, memoirs
#109 Books about the late nineteen-sixties: Busy Dying; Flying Close to the Sun; Looking Good; Trespassers
#108 The Animal Within; The Ground Under My Feet; King of Swords
#107 The Absentee; Gorky Park; Little Scarlet; Howl; Health Proxy
#106 Castle Rackrent; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; More on Drown; Blindness & more
#105 Everything is Miscellaneous, The Untouchable, Kettle Bottom by Diane Gilliam Fisher
#104 Responses to Shelley on Junot Diaz and more; More best books of 2007
#103 Guest Editor: Shelley Ettinger and her best books of 2007
#102 Saramago's BLINDNESS; more on NEVER LET ME GO; George Lies on Joe Gatski
#101 My Brilliant Career, The Scarlet Letter, John Banville, Never Let Me Go
#100 The Poisonwood Bible, Pamela Erens, More Harry P.
#99   Jonathan Greene on Amazon.com; Molly Gilman on Dogs of Babel
#98   Guest editor Pat Arnow; more on the Amazon.com debate
#97   Using Thomas Hardy; Why I Write; more
#96   Lucy Calkins, issue fiction for young adults
#95   Collapse, Harry Potter, Steve Geng
#94   Alice Robinson-Gilman, Maynard on Momaday
#93   Kristin Lavransdatter, House Made of Dawn, Leaving Atlanta
#92   Death of Ivan Ilych; Memoirs
#91   Richard Powers discussion
#90   William Zinsser, Memoir, Shakespeare
#89   William Styron, Ellen Willis, Dune, Germinal, and much more
#88   Sandra Cisneros's Caramelo
#87   Wings of the Dove, Forever After (9/11 Teachers)
#86   Leora Skolkin-Smith, American Pastoral, and more
#85   Wobblies, Winterson, West Virginia Encyclopedia
#84   Karen Armstrong, Geraldine Brooks, Peter Taylor
#83   3-Cornered World, Da Vinci Code
#82   The Eustace Diamonds, Strapless, Empire Falls
#81   Philip Roth's The Plot Against America , Paola Corso
#80   Joanne Greenberg, Ed Davis, more Murdoch; Special Discussion on Memoir--Frey and J.T. Leroy
#79   Adam Sexton, Iris Murdoch, Hemingway
#78   The Hills at Home; Tess of the D'Urbervilles; Jean Stafford
#77   On children's books--guest editor Carol Brodtrick
#76   Mary Lee Settle, Mary McCarthy
#75   The Makioka Sisters
#74    In Our Hearts We Were Giants
#73    Joyce Dyer
#72    Bill Robinson WWII story
#71    Eva Kollisch on G.W. Sebald
#70    On Reading
#69    Nella Larsen, Romola
#68    P.D. James
#67    The Medici
#66    Curious Incident,Temple Grandin
   Ingrid Hughes on Memoir
    Boyle, Worlds of Fiction
#63    The Namesame
#62    Honorary Consul; The Idiot
#61    Lauren's Line
#60    Prince of Providence
#59    The Mutual Friend, Red Water
#58    AkÉ,
Season of Delight
#57    Screaming with Cannibals

#56    Benita Eisler's Byron
#55    Addie, Hottentot Venus, Ake
#54    Scott Oglesby, Jane Rule
#53    Nafisi,Chesnutt, LeGuin
#52    Keith Maillard, Lee Maynard
#51    Gregory Michie, Carter Seaton
#50    Atonement, Victoria Woodhull biography
Richard Price, Phillip Pullman
#47    Mid- East Islamic World Reader
#46    Invitation to a Beheading
#45    The Princess of Cleves
#44    Shelley Ettinger: A Few Not-so-Great Books
#43    Woolf, The Terrorist Next Door
#42    John Sanford
#41    Isabelle Allende
#40    Ed Myers on John Williams
#39    Faulkner
#38    Steven Bloom No New Jokes
#37    James Webb's Fields of Fire
#36    Middlemarch
#35    Conrad, Furbee, Silas House
#34    Emshwiller
#33    Pullman, Daughter of the Elm
#32    More Lesbian lit; Nostromo
#31    Lesbian fiction
#30    Carol Shields, Colson Whitehead
#29    More William Styron
#28    William Styron
#27    Daniel Gioseffi
#26    Phyllis Moore
   On Libraries....
#24    Tales of the City
   Nonfiction, poetry, and fiction
#22    More on Why This Newsletter
#21    Salinger, Sarah Waters, Next of Kin
#20    Jane Lazarre
#19    Artemisia Gentileschi
#18    Ozick, Coetzee, Joanna Torrey
#17    Arthur Kinoy
#16    Mrs. Gaskell and lots of other suggestions
#15    George Dennison, Pat Barker, George Eliot
#14    Small Presses
#13    Gap Creek, Crum
#12    Reading after 9-11
#11    Political Novels
#10    Summer Reading ideas
#9      Shelley Ettinger picks
#8      Harriette Arnow's Hunter's Horn
#7      About this newsletter
#6      Maria Edgeworth
#5      Tales of Good and Evil; Moon Tiger
#4      Homer Hickam and The Chosen
#3      J.T. LeRoy and Tale of Genji
#2      Chick Lit
#1      About this newsletter
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