Everyone has favorite reading for relaxation, and mine is novels written
between 1800 and 1900. Usually, when I really want to be sure of satisfaction,
I go back to George Eliot or Jane Austen, but in the last few years I've
broadened my scope. I discovered the underrated third Brontë sister, Anne,
whose TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL is one of my favorites. I also enjoy Frances
Trollope, the fascinating mother of Anthony. If you ever run across one
of her long-out-of-print protest novels (like MICHAEL ARMSTRONG , FACTORY
BOY) snap it up!
Recently I've also been reading one of Jane Austen's favorites, Maria
Edgeworth. Edgeworth was born at roughly the same time as Austen and lived
about twice as long. She never married, but in the latter part of her
life was the head of an enormous family of sisters, half-sisters, brothers,
half-brothers, nieces, and nephews. Never a supreme stylist like Austen,
she instead peers into recesses and corners Austen would never dare. When
Maria Edgeworth is good, she is very, very good, and when she's bad– she's
still a lot of fun. Her earliest book, really a comic novella, is CASTLE
RACKRENT, a hilariously hard-hearted story of the fall– and continued
fall– of a family of Irish gentry. Her subsequent novels are structured
more conventionally around stories of honest and innocent young women
in the marriage market, but secondary characters and plot lines offer
many surprises. Her male leads are engagingly flawed, and her heroines
learn lessons not only about moral uprightness but also about how to get
along in the world. She is ambitious enough to write a novel about ethics
called PATRONAGE that examines the professions of law, politics, and medicine,
and in BELINDA, she refers to breast cancer, has an incident of cross-dressing
women who fight a duel, and includes an aristocratic couple running a
crooked gambling den. There's a lot of what they call "event" in Maria
don't want to mislead: Edgeworth, like Dickens and the Trollopes, often
wrote too much too fast. She has too many long passages like one tediously
detailed after-dinner conversation demonstrating how a famous wit's wit
is not so witty. Sometimes she makes short work of suspense by tying up
all the loose ends in half a chapter. And– this shows my prejudices–even
when her ideas do gallop off into uncharted territory, they always come
trotting back to the bourgeois stable in the end.
oh those gallops! The moral heart of HELEN, written when Edgeworth was
in her sixties, is not the eponymous ingénue, but a mature woman called
Lady Davenant who spends her mornings writing her husband's political
correspondence for him. Lady D. is cold to her daughter, who she sees
as an intellectual light-weight, and has to learn some lessons, but is
never less than dynamic and fully conscious. So if you are the kind of
reader who feels a little shiver of delight when a novel is so heavy it
takes two hands to lift it– or if you're simply in the mood for touring
the early Victorian past with an intelligent and lively guide– try Maria
told otherwise, I am taking the liberty of including people's responses
in these Newsletters.) Sara P. says, "I also loved MOON TIGER [by
Penelope Lively] and WAITING [by Ha Jin]. My grandmother is really good
at picking books for me. Come April (my bday) I am sure I will have a
list to share..."
Denise Mann writes: "I recently stumbled upon 1185 PARK AVENUE by Anne
Roiphe (when I say stumble, I mean I quite literally found it on a bookshelf
in a spa in Florida)...It's a memoir about growing up Jewish and wealthy
in New York.....I liked her writing enough to read a fiction work of hers
called LOVINGKINDNESS, a mother daughter story that begins in Manhattan
and takes the reader to Israel where the narrator's daughter had taken
up with an orthodox cult....Now I am on book No. 5 of Armistead Maupin's
TALES OF THE CITY collection which I am loving."
Fairmont State College professor Barbara Rasmussen says, "I am using a
book in my West Virginia History class that was written by a son of the
local coal camps who ended up a professor of political science at Princeton
University– Duane Lockard, COAL: A MEMOIR AND CRITIQUE, (Charlottesville:
UVA Press). I think the book really speaks to the issues you raised in
your next-to-last newsletter about family ties in Appalachia. Granted
this book is more academic than ROCKET BOYS, but it is by no means unreadable.
And my coal camp students love it, even as they struggle to understand
the "global economics" he so eloquently discusses. The work is multi-disciplinary
-- history, economics, political science, cultural appreciation, and ,
yes, poetry. Lockard, who I wrote to, said that after two years at Fairmont
State, he transferred to West Virginia University, before enlisting in
the army for WWII. He ended up in London and studied under a world famous
political scientist and economist. When the dust settled, he was at Princeton.
What I like best about his book is that he can indict the coal industry
for its sins (and is really eloquent about it) while at the same time
thanking his parents ‘for a good start.' This book makes me cry for its
ability to put humanity and its sacrifices on the altar of economics and
online review that covers books from poetry to philosophy to fiction to
ecology is the ETHICAL CULTURE REVIEW OF BOOKS at http://www.ethicalculture.org/review/index.html.
I have a review posted there of THE BUSINESS OF BOOKS by Andre Schiffrin
that will chill the hearts of the writers among you. It is at http://www.ethicalculture.org/review/book_business.html
. Another ETHICAL CULTURE REVIEW OF BOOKS reviewer is Kurt Johnson, a
well-known authority on butterflies who works in association with the
Florida State Collection of Arthropods. He wrote, with Steven L. Coates,
a book about Vladimir Nabokov as a talented and important lepidopterist.
NABOKOV'S BLUES: THE SCIENTIFIC ODYSSEY OF A LITERARY GENIUS has received
stunning reviews, and is just out in paperback from McGraw-Hill.
More and more people are sharing their opinions of books on Amazon.com.
Dr. Kasumu Salawu, a computer systems engineer and man of literature,
reviews books on Amazon. You can get access to his reviews at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/cm/member-reviews/-/A1LBJ1UY2OQXGV/1/ref%3Dcm%5Fmp%5Frv/102-5395082-2420903
# 7 Late April 2001
A friend asked why I write
this newsletter, which, she said, must take a lot of time. Actually,
some issues don't take long at all. This one, for example, had much
of the copy supplied by one reader. But the question still stands, and
the answer is, like most things in life, not simple. Partly, I am experimenting
with the Web. Topica.com manages my list for free, so start up was easy.
I may eventually turn the newsletter into an online magazine, like my
brother-in–law David Weinberger's Internet publication, THE JOURNAL
OF THE HYPERLINKED ORGANIZATION at http://www.hyperorg.com .
On the other hand, I may
never do anything so elaborate. In the meantime, I am doing this. I
am playing with the possibilities. I also want to be part of the creation
of interlocking networks of people sharing ways to find books beyond
commercial advertising and the sweetheart deals between big corporate
publishers and big bookstores. I also intend shamelessly to promote
works by people I respect. Finally, I like to think and write about
books, and I am not always with people who share this interest. The
beauty of the e-mail format is that if you are too busy to receive ideas
from me and others on books this month, you can delete the file and
send it off into cyberspace. No recycling of coated four color magazine
In the meantime, here are
some more book ideas: Carole Rosenthal suggests DISGRACE by J.M. Coetzee,
and Suzanne McConnell likes a March 2001 release from Counterpoint called THE ROAD
TO FEZ by Ruth Knafo Setton about a young woman seeking out her
roots as a Moroccan Jew.
Another March 2001 release,
mentioned by a reader several issues back, is Silas House's CLAY'S QUILT.
My formal review of this novel set in modern Kentucky is in THE ETHICAL REVIEW OF BOOKS
And, returning to the Newsletter
#6 theme of nineteenth century books, Greg Sanders writes: "I happen
to be reading one of the best known 19th Century tomes, ANNA KARENINA.
That's right, I've never read it. I'm now in a back-to-the-classics
phase; I've had my fill of contemporary, experimental, obscure authors
and decided that it's time to get back to the basics. What I found is
that Tolstoy has an amazing knack for omniscient narration, smoothly
moving from one character's thoughts to another whenever he likes. He
even briefly takes us into a hunting dog's thoughts--"While they [Levin
and Oblonsky] were talking, Laska, pricking up her ears, kept looking
up at the sky and then reproachfully at them. 'What a time to choose
to talk,' she thought. 'And here comes one...Yes, here it is. They'll
miss it.'" Being that I'm working on a new novel in which the narration
is omniscient, Tolstoy's seamless hops from one p.o.v. to the next has
been quite instructive. "I'm also enjoying Tolstoy's incredible attention
to detail--from the upper classes' obsession with French culture to
Levin's dealings with his country estate. But what I appreciate most--from
a writer's perspective--is the lack of sentimentality, the neutrality
of tone that puts all the emphasis on the characters themselves. "Perhaps
after Tolstoy (I've already read W and P), I'll venture into Eliot and
Austen. My extremely hip and literary great aunt and uncle--now in their
advanced 80s--have strongly suggested that I read Turgenev's FATHERS
AND SONS and Eliot's DANIEL DERONDA; perhaps they are next."
Greg recently had his walking
tour of New York's East Village published in THE TIME OUT BOOK OF NEW
YORK WALKS (Penguin, 2000). He has fiction in the BLUE CATHEDRAL fiction
anthology (Red Hen Press: 2000) and online in the MISSISSIPPI
REVIEW Dec. 1997, Fall 1998, and Fall 1999 issues.
MORE SOURCES FOR READING
FRIGATEZINE is an online magazine with an emphasis on reviews and book discussions.
Marylaine Block, a librarian
and reviewer for LIBRARY JOURNAL, has online reviews at: http://marylaine.com/bookbyte/index.html.
A book catalog called BAS
BLEU has genuinely enthusiastic write-ups about the books they're selling.
You can request a catalog from Bas Bleu, 515 Means Street NW, Atlanta,
# 8 Late May 2001
I was scheduled to teach
a course in Appalachian Literature this summer at New York University's
School of Professional and Continuing Studies, but the course was cancelled
because too few people signed up. I was both disappointed and relieved:
I had been very pressed for time this spring, so I welcomed less work,
but it seemed sad that so few people in the New York region wanted to
be introduced to Appalachian writing. This
newsletter will NOT be my introductory lecture, but I do want to tell
you about the book that would have been the centerpiece of the class,
Harriette Simpson Arnow's HUNTER'S HORN.
Those of you who aren't Appalachian
have probably only heard of Arnow because of her justly honored novel,
THE DOLLMAKER. I love THE DOLLMAKER, but to my taste, it doesn't have
the breadth and dense layers of HUNTER'S HORN. Arnow was born in Kentucky,
but even though she is identified with the mountains, she never fit
anyone's stereotype of a hillbilly. Her mother was a teacher, and her
father was a factory worker. She was drawn to cities and spent crucial
periods of her life in Cincinnati and Detroit; indeed, she married a
city man, the son of Jewish immigrants. Much of her adult life was spent
in Michigan, and she is now claimed by both Michigan and Kentucky as
a native daughter.
HUNTER'S HORN, originally
published in 1949, was reasonably well received, perhaps because it
is full of local color and appears to be in the tradition of the American
hunting novel: the most obvious plot thread is a real and symbolic hunt
for the great fox known as King Devil. There are also lots of set pieces
of mountain life, but the novel is much thicker and fuller than that.
The hunting story is the warp thread for a tapestry of an American social
milieu. The set pieces evoke a way of life that is ending. Individual
hopes are often dashed on historical, economic, social, and sexual shoals.
The book captures conflicts and interplay among industrialization and
farming, old folkways, popular culture, and the aspiration to join the
larger culture. But for all of its big themes and wonderful flavor of
mountain life, the book never strays from the powerful central story
of how all this affects the members of one particular family. HUNTER'S
HORN is a great accomplishment: a broad, deep, and very full reading
experience. There are characters you identify with completely as well
as the wonderful dip into mountain life. The writing style is sometimes
leisurely, but always vigorous. It ends with the resounding close of
a trap, but it is an earned ending, one that is rich and evocative.
Try to make a space on your Books to Read list for this one– my nominee
for Great American Novel of the Twentieth Century.
If you want to support a
union of bookstore employees when you shop online, buy books through
READERS WRITE Kathy Flaxman
responds to Greg Sanders in Newsletter # 7 on his experience of reading
ANNA KARENINA: "I read most of it in10th grade but never finished it!
At the moment I'm reading THE BOOK OF DANIEL, E.L. Doctorow's fictionalized
account of the Rosenberg spy case in the 50's, as seen mostly from the
point of view of their children. Makes it seem like a total frame-up–
Irene Tiersten recommends
"an astonishing novel," THE GIRL WHO TROD ON A LOAF by Kathryn Davis,
published in 1993 by Knopf. She quotes from the jacket copy: "‘The story
of two very different women contending with themselves and with each
other, this is as well a short course in the opera, a kind of sexual
history of the twentieth century, and a philosophical - even religious
passage from despair toward redemption. In the perfection of its language,
in its dignity and wit, a novel at once sophisticated, humane, and wholly
Shelley Ettinger writes that
she just read a hilarious, very Jewish book by Allegra Goodman called
PARADISE PARK. Shelley also recommends THE RINGS OF SATURN by W.G. Sebald.
This one is about a walking tour of a region of England that prompts
all sorts of reflections on all sorts of subjects.
Rebecca Kavaler is reading
and enjoying the same book, but she says it isn't for those with short
SHORT STORY RECOMMENDATIONS
If you are a fan of short
stories, the web is rapidly becoming the place to read the latest. Halvard
Johnson writes about an online magazine called BARCELONA
REVIEW. It has stories by Pinckney Benedict and an author with the
delightful name Pagan Kennedy, as well as many others. Hal says, "BARCELONA
REVIEW is celebrating its fourth anniversary, and, while I don't often
plug websites, this one has a lot of good reading matter salted away
in its archives. If you've not read Irvine Welsh, get acquainted by
rummaging around in the archives here and finding ‘Fault on the Line.'
Work up a Glaswegian accent and read it aloud to someone with a sense
of humor. This is also a good place to practice your Spanish and/or
Catalan."You can find the BARCELONA REVIEW at.
Ingrid Hughes recommends
"a fascinating collection called the OXFORD BOOK OF JEWISH STORIES,
a huge volume with many famous stories and more I've never heard of
by writers I barely know of." And Kasumu Salawu has been rereading Chekov.
"Yes," he says, "Chekhov's story ‘The Lady with the [lap, little, pet]
Dog' exemplifies his poetics in many keys. His genius for unforgettable
conclusions, without pointing to a moral as Tolstoy would have done,
is unsurpassed. Without presuming to answer them himself, Chekhov invites
the percipient reader to respond to the questions he expounds in his
stories. As in his own life, he despaired that true love and complete
happiness are impossible! Neither Bunin nor Gorky could match his elusiveness;
Katherine Mansfield and Raymond Carver gave it a good shot but both
fell short." You can find Chekov on the Web.
# 9 June 2001
Books for Readers Newsletter
# 9 has three objectives: (1) to restate the purpose of this publication
for folks who have signed on recently (or been signed on by someone
else!); (2) to request suggestions for two upcoming newsletters; and
(3) to suggest more books to read. First, to those who don't know what
this is all about: BOOKS FOR READERS is an independent newsletter written
and produced by Meredith Sue Willis and sent to a mailing list of between
150 and 200 people. This is not a Listserv (that is, if you want to
respond, you have to email me personally– you can't reply to the whole
list). It is not a book review, but rather a personal selection from
my reading and the reading of friends and colleagues. I like to think
and write about books, and I like to get ideas from other people for
books to read. Also, I want to be part of what is happening on the World
Wide Web, where people are creating interlocking networks of talk outside
the more commerce-driven media.
To read past Newsletters,
go online to http://www.topica.com/lists/Readerbooks (or to these archives.)
If you have friends you think might like to be included, they can subscribe
by sending a blank email to Readerbooksfirstname.lastname@example.org. To be
removed from the list, simply send a blank email to Readerbooksemail@example.com.
I am soliciting suggestions
for two types of books. First, what do you recommend for summer reading?
For some people, summer is the time for light and easy reading; for
others, it's a chance to take on a big project. Which do you do? What
is your project for this year, or what have you read recently that seems
perfect for the hammock between the white pines? Email me at MSueWillis@aol.com.
I'm also looking for political
fiction. By political fiction I mean fiction that uses political issues,
movements, ideas, and ideals either as background or as the actual thematic
center of the work. Do I have to go back sixty years to find this stuff?
SHELLEY ETTINGER PICKS
Shelley Ettinger reports
the welcome news that the New York University library has HUNTER'S HORN,
by Harriette Arnow (see NEWSLETTER # 8), but that nobody has signed
it out! She also offers these recommendations: "Recent fiction that
I've liked includes LOCAS by Yxta Maya Murray, grim and powerful, set
in the Chicano community in Echo Park, Los Angeles; THE WHITE BONE by
Barbara Gowdy, which I hadn't expected to like but found very moving;
WILD LIFE by Molly Gloss, a fascinating rumination on civilization,
women's role and more; HEADLONG by Michael Frayne, hilarious and erudite;
LIFE ISN'T ALL HA HA HEE HEE by Myra Sebal, about immigration, colonialism,
racism, sexism, set among the South Asian community in London....TIPPING
THE VELVET and AFFINITY by Sarah Waters, both set in Victorian England
and dealing with a lot of social issues in the most gripping, compelling,
keep-you-up-all-night-caring-about-the-characters way; THE HISTORY OF
THE SIEGE OF LISBON by Jose Saramago, the Portuguese Communist Nobel
Prize winner--it blew me away so much I remember thinking it's as if
this guy has reinvented the English language, and then I realized what
I'd read was a translation from the Portuguese; and, yes, WHITE TEETH
by Zaydie Smith which I did think lived up to the hooplah."
# 10 Early July 2001
I want to send this newsletter
out before too many people leave for their hammocks and beach umbrellas
without any reading ideas! I'm planning to read more Chekov short stories
(their sad, cool qualities seem a good balance for summer weather),
and science fiction seems to be my entertainment of the moment. I absolutely
gobbled up Octavia Butler's WILD SEED. This one has no bug-eyed monsters
and not much science, but rather is a meditation on the meaning of slavery.
Another gripping reading
experience is Nancy Kress's BEGGARS IN SPAIN. Like much of the best
science fiction, this one is strongest in ideas and narrative energy,
but the style is clean and serviceable. BEGGARS was suggested to me
by my son, Joel Weinberger, who heard about it from his friend Jacob
Winkler. In response to my question about whether you do projects or
have fun with summer reading, Jacob wrote, "For me, reading over the
summer (and always) is both. I like to have some heavy ‘projects' and
some casual, fun, interesting stuff. The best political work probably
IS from 60 years ago."
Another science fiction fan
is Boe Meyerson, also likes adventure nonfiction for summer.
Ardian Gill says that he
takes on a project every summer: "For years I've picked an author or
group of authors (e.g. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Morley Callahan) and tried
to read everything written by and about them. (It's the only way to
get through Proust.) This summer it's Steinbeck; I'm already through
THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT and THE LONG VALLEY (contains the wonderful
Red Pony). Steinbeck won the Nobel, of course, but I'd forgotten how
wonderful a writer he was, and it's a pleasure to revisit."
Barbara Rasmussen writes,
"This summer I am chowing down on the new McCullough Biography of John
Adams, and the new single volume bio of Benjamin Franklin. Being a historian,
the ‘founders' always intrigue me. The Adams bio is unlike any story
of John Adams that I have read so far, and I find the prose to be spellbinding,
as is the story. Since this political story is true, alas it doesn't
fit your request for political fiction, but for a political thriller,
I maintain nothing beats the American Revolution and the intrigues that
surrounded it. I never grow tired of the story."
And Sandra Ballard recommends
Barbara Kingsolver as deserving a place both on summer reading lists
and political lists. "Her most recent novel, PRODIGAL SUMMER, is a wonderful
novel that essentially tells the story of three women of different generations
and circumstances--a young ‘city girl' biologist who marries into a
farm family and moves to eastern Kentucky, a forest service worker who
lives in a cabin in the woods after her marriage fell apart, and an
independent older woman who tends an orchard and a farm and battles
her ‘weedkilling' neighbor. It's a compelling story with well-drawn,
humane and passionate characters, well-written enough to be the focus
of serious study (there's enough there for a Master's thesis and more).
It's an excellent environmental novel that asks readers to consider
lots of big questions, like which is more important, an individual or
a species? And at the same time, it's a well-paced, beautifully intertwined
set of stories that makes us care about the characters and what happens
to them. A real treat is to listen to this book on tape--Barbara Kingsolver
reads it herself, unabridged (perfect for a summer car trip). I'd describe
all of Kingsolver's fiction as ‘political' in one way or another--and
she's a truly impressive writer.
Another book I'd recommend
for summer reading is by a new writer, Silas House. His first novel
CLAY'S QUILT is just out this spring from Algonquin. It tells the story
of a young man from eastern Kentucky whose mother died when he was very
young (we learn about this death in a brilliant opening sequence that
occurs during an ice storm), and then he ‘pieces' her life together
as his experiences trigger memories and people share stories and bits
of their memories of her. This book is one of the most honest, straightforward,
and powerful stories I've read in a long time."
And finally, Suzanne McConnell
writes, "A good fun fast engrossing summer read is Norris Church Mailer's
WINDCHILL SUMMER, which is about a small town in Arkansas in 1969, the
boys who went to Vietnam and the girls they left behind, with My Lai
figuring in. It's both entertaining, a mystery and humorous, and a serious
anti-war book." And just to remind everyone one more time, I'm looking
for novels (and poetry!) that use political issues, movements, ideas,
and ideals either as background or as the actual thematic center. Of
course, as Barbara Rasmussen points out above, some of the best stories
turn out to be nonfiction.
The Reading Divas have more
reviews up at http://www.readingdivas.com/chicklit/chicklit.html and
some interesting fiction as well.
Or, on the other hand, if
you're in a mood for a downer, I have a brand new short short story
called "How She Chose the Day" online at a new periodical called BIGCITYLIT
at http://www.nycBIgCityLit.com/contents/Fiction.html. I mean it about
the story, though: it's short but depressing.
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 .
WHERE TO FIND BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS NEWSLETTER
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!
RESPONSES TO THIS NEWSLETTER
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.
#146 Henry Adams AGAIN! #145 Henry Adams, Darnell Arnoult, Jaimy Gordon, Charlotte Brontë #144 Carter Seaton, NancyKay Shapiro, Lady Murasaki Shikibu #143Little 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. #134Daniel 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. #131The Help; J. McHenry Jones, Reamy Jansen, Jamie O'Neill, Michael Chabon.
#130 Lynda Schor, Ed Myers, Charles Bukowski, Terry Bisson, The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism #129Baltasar 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 #127Olive 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 #124Cloudsplitter, 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 #115Adam 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 #108The Animal Within; The Ground Under My Feet; King of Swords #107The Absentee; Gorky Park; Little Scarlet; Howl; Health Proxy #106Castle Rackrent; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; More on Drown; Blindness & more #105Everything 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 #101My 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 #93Kristin Lavransdatter, House Made of Dawn, Leaving Atlanta #92Death 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 #87Wings 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 #78The 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 #74In 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 #67The Medici #66Curious
Incident,Temple Grandin #65 Ingrid Hughes on Memoir #64 Boyle, Worlds of Fiction #63The Namesame #62Honorary Consul; The Idiot #61Lauren'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 #55Addie,
Hottentot Venus, Ake #54 Scott Oglesby, Jane Rule #53 Nafisi,Chesnutt, LeGuin #52 Keith Maillard, Lee Maynard #51 Gregory Michie, Carter Seaton #50Atonement, Victoria Woodhull biography #49Caucasia #48Richard Price, Phillip
Pullman #47 Mid-
East Islamic World Reader #46Invitation to
a Beheading #45The Princess of Cleves #44 Shelley Ettinger: A Few Not-so-Great Books #43 Woolf, The Terrorist Next Door #42 John Sanford #41 Isabelle
Allende #40Ed 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
#25 On Libraries.... #24Tales of the
#23 Nonfiction, poetry, and fiction #22 More on Why This
Newsletter #21 Salinger, Sarah
Waters, Next of Kin #20 Jane Lazarre #19Artemisia 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
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 #5Tales 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