Meredith Sue Willis's
July 15, 2014
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In this Issue:
Guest Editor Ingrid Hughes on Robert Graves' Goodbye to All That;
Marie Manilla's The Patron Saint of Ugly;
Johnny Sundstrom's For Spacious Skies;
Kirk Judd's New Poetry Collection My People Was Music ;
Sample of Kirk Judd's Poetry in Performance!
Some Suggestions for Summer Reading from Democratic Left;
Places to Submit Your Creative Work;
The E-Reader Report with John Birch;
Things to Read Online;
Special! Indiegogo Campaign for a Bookstore on the South Shore of Long Island!
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Goodbye to All That is the only autobiography among Robert Graves's many volumes of poetry, fiction, biography, retellings of myth, translations and critical works. Goodbye covers the first thirty years of his life, and is a terrifically good read, especially riveting in the two hundred pages devoted to his experiences serving in the Royal Welch Fusiliers during World War I.
Wanting to put off his enrollment at Oxford, outraged by the German violation of Belgian neutrality, and believing predictions that the Germans would be defeated within a few months, Graves volunteers in the fall of 1914. The most ludicrous of his stories comes from the period he spends in training in Wales. The Regimental goat-major, a corporal, is charged with disrespect to an officer, the officer being the king, who had given the regiment a goat from his herd at Windsor. For hiring the goat out as a stud the goat-major is busted to the ranks, despite pleading that he did it for the goat's sake.
The issue of the British caste system is even more appalling on the front. After serving for several months with the Third Battalion, Graves is transferred in July of 1915 to the Second, where he is greeted coldly when he reports at headquarters. Later he asks another junior officer why.
"The senior officers are beasts. If you open your mouth or make the slightest noise in the Mess, they jump down your throat. Only officers of the rank of captain are allowed to drink whiskey or turn on the gramophone.... We've even got a polo-ground here....Subalterns who can't ride like angels have to attend riding-school every afternoon.... They keep us trotting around the field, with crossed stirrups most of the time, and on pack-saddles instead of riding saddles.... You notice everyone's wearing shorts? The Battalion thinks it's still in India. The men treat the French civilians just like n------s, kick them about, talk army Hindustani at them."'
"All this is childish. Is there a war on here, or isn't there?' Graves asks. "'The Royal Welch don't recognize it socially," he's told.
Graves is interested in everything about the war: the men he commanded, his fellow officers, the upper echelons; the conditions in the trenches, the battles he fought in. His narration of the slaughter is matter-of-fact. At their briefing for the Battle of Loos, Graves and other company officers recognize the impossibility of the plans they are to follow for a subsidiary attack with no support intended as a diversion. As they begin to laugh at their orders one of them says, "Personally, I don't give a damn.... We'll get killed whatever happens."' They laugh even more. Most worrying is the plan to use poison gas, despite the fact that none of the various types of respirators issued work, though the Germans' respirators did. The young commanders (Graves is twenty) are told to make sure their men press forward, since the gas is heavy and will sink into the trenches. The battle is one deadly snafu after another. (Snafu, a World War II term,stands for situation normal, all fucked up, which seems like the right word here.) In the subsidiary attack alone, total casualties are nearly 11,000. Though the captain commanding the gas-company telephones headquarters with the message that in the dead calm it's impossible to discharge the gas, the response is 'Discharge at all costs.' The costs, of course, are British lives. The gas is released and gradually collects in the British trenches.
After the failure of the first initiative, orders come down to try again. "We waited on the fire-step from four to nine o'clock, with fixed bayonets, for the order to go over." The acting CSM, or Command Sergeant Major protests to Graves: "It's murder, Sir." "Of course, it's murder, you bloody fool. And there's nothing else for it, is there?" ' Graves tells him. Fortunately, that particular part of the attack was called off.
Graves is clearly a kind and sensitive man. He describes the enlisted men he commands with compassion and agrees with his friend, a fellow-officer and poet Siegfried Sassoon, that the worst crime an officer can commit is to abuse his men. In his free time he plays with French children or writes poetry. (His first book of poems is published in 1916.) In the course of the war he marries a feminist and later has four children with her, sharing childcare and housework. But while knowing that the war is a hideous and unjustifiable slaughter he believes he must put his own life on the line and lead his men to almost certain death in battle. That's what I don't understand. How can such a sensible person buy the idea that an essential male attribute is the willingness to kill and be killed at war? (Not that Graves wants to die. He describes working out his chances of surviving the war: best to be wounded, best to be wounded while above ground at night, since the chance of a head wound is less then than when only his head is exposed over the top of a trench during the day, and so on.)
While he's on light duty in a training camp in Harlech, Wales, after a long interval on the front, he meets a captain from another regiment who tells him: "'In both the last two shows I had to shoot a man of my company to get the rest out of the trench. It was so bloody awful I couldn't stand it. That's why I applied to be sent down here.' I felt sorrier for him than for any other man I met in France. He deserved a better regiment."
Here I am amazed that his sympathy goes not to the soldiers killed by their commanding officer, but to that officer, for the cowardice, as he sees it, of his men. Yet during this same period at Harlech, when Graves is required to lecture 3,000 Canadians being prepared for the front, he tells them the "real story of Loos...." This despite the fact that he is supposed to inspire the troops to fight the Germans, not undermine confidence in the army's leadership.
When Graves is wounded it is at the Somme in July of 1916. The worst of several wounds is caused by a piece of shell penetrating just below his right shoulder blade and exiting through his chest. "Old Gravy's got it, all right," he hears the stretcher-bearer say. In the dressing-station he is left in a corner to die and his colonel sends a condolence letter to his mother, saying how gallant Graves was, and what a loss to the regiment his death is. Next morning when it turns out he is still alive, he's sent by train to hospital. There he receives a letter from the colonel: "I cannot tell you how pleased I am you are alive.... I also wish to thank you for your good work and bravery, and only wish you could have been with [your men.] .... I have never seen such magnificent and wonderful disregard for death as I saw that day.... "
Following this Graves had a long period of convalescence in various places, and did not return to the battlefield. While in London he spent time with a number of writers and intellectuals, including Bertrand Russell. Russell, an ardent pacifist:
[Russell] turned sharply on me one afternoon and asked, "Tell me, if a company of your men were brought along to break a strike of munition-makers, and the munition-makers refused to go back to work, would you order the men to fire?"
"Yes, if all else failed. It would be no worse than shooting Germans.
"Would your men obey you?"
"They loathe munition-workers... They think they're all skrimshankers."
"But they realize the war's wicked nonsense?"
"Yes, as well as I do."
He could not understand my attitude.
Grave's assertion may have been more bravado than an assessment of how he would act. He didn't hold with "anti-war idealism," though when Sassoon spoke out against the war, Graves protected him from a court-martial by having him sent to a convalescent home. Still, like Bertrand Russell, I don't understand the attitude of this fascinating and complicated man.
NOTE: The best late twentieth century novels about World War I are Pat Barker's Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road. Major novels of the war from earlier in the century include All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek, and The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. Siegfried Sassoon's memoir, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer is also interesting for its portrait of Graves, though it doesn't hold a candle to Goodbye to All That in its descriptions of the war itself.
Marie Manilla's novel The Patron Saint Of Ugly, set in industrial, northern West Virginia, has been described as a blend of "Southern Gothic and Sicilian malocchio." It is an earthy magical realist novel, with a couple of the best family dinner scenes I've ever read– especially the raucous, realistic, hilarious one when the mother of the narrator ("Saint" Garnet), is introduced to her in-laws. The family-- almost always referred to as la famiglia in one of many nice touches of Italian language and culture that bring the heritage of Sicily and Calabria into the forefront of the story-- is eager to please the WASPY blonde beauty their son Angelo brings home, until they realize the young couple is already married– and not by a priest!
She says blithely, "...we didn't need a priest because I'm not even Catholic."
Another favorite of mine, not so funny but capturing the family dynamic beautifully, is when the heroine young Garnet is forced by her grandpa to eat a piece of bloody steak. Perhaps even better than individual scenes are the ongoing characters: Garnet's Sicilian grandmother Nonna, whose history and actions are essential to the novel, but also poor wall-eyed Betty, Nonna's other daughter-in-law, who is good hearted and loving, but whose menfolk cause general pain and catastrophe. Betty is the mother of the completely awful Ray-ray and married to the almost-as-awful Dom.
There's an interesting nineteen fifties proto-feminist, or perhaps simply woman-centered theme to the whole novel. All the men aren't bad people, but patriarchy is destructive. Even Garnet's Anglo-Saxon grandmother who is a horror of bad values and misused wealth, can be seen as a woman of talent and energy twisted by a world in which women are so severely limited in their activities.
But Nonna and her Old Religion are always celebrated, and the amulets and "portafortunas" are richly rendered. The fantasy and folkloric elements move the story along with rollicking wish fulfillment (Don't you wish you could cause a volcano to get rid of your enemies?).
Even though the center of the story is Garnet's strange pattern of birthmarks like a red map of the world over her body (and a map that mysteriously changes with world events), we are so much inside Garnet's consciousness that it is the world around the Patron Saint of Ugly, and her family's past, that engage us most.
It's extremely inventive novel, often very funny, always full of deep affection for the powerful grandmothers of the world.
For more on the novel, see The Pittsburgh Gazette article.
Johnny Sundstrom's latest novel For Spacious Skies is about the settling of Eastern Oregon in the second half of the nineteenth century. It is made up of a lot of good stories that tend toward the quotidian rather than the dramatic, but when violence does occur, it comes as it does in real life, unexpectedly, with no scary music to manipulate the reader.
The story begins in the aftermath of the Civil War in Virginia with a wounded Confederate veteran who is hiding his name because he was briefly a low level aide in the administration of the Confederacy. It then moves to the Oregon trail (which is slightly less dangerous that it was before the war). There is a wagon train and some rough and ready cowboy types as well as Mormon settlers, both fine people and some pretty nasty ones. There are native Americans who are human and interesting but not especially noble-- a tale of the old west, in other words, much more like what it really was.
It is a highly readable book. I looked forward to returning to it, to being in the lives of people. The largest plot knot is the possibility that the most important woman, Sarah Beth, can't have children. The passionate desire for children comes on gradually to Abe and Sarah Beth, and it isn't completely clear to me what cultural patterns and folkways make their need for children so intense. Sundstrom assumes we understand this, but I could use a little more sharpness about the cultural folkways of the protagonists to match up with those of the Native Americans and Mormons in the book.
Sundstrom structures the novel with the Biblical story of the patriarchs Abraham and Sarah, and their relationship with Hagar, who appears in this novel as Helga, a runaway from oppression by the bad Mormons. Sundstrom ends the novel with the story line hanging: What appeared to be a reasonable way to get a baby for Abe and Sarah Beth is suddenly causing emotional storms and unexpected abysses between the people. Questions abound: what will happen to Helga's baby? Is Abe more in love with his beautiful Eastern Oregon valley than with any of the women in his life? Sundstrom has at least one more volume of the story underway, and he invites our responses.
I look forward to the next one!
My People Was Music by Kirk Judd is an excellent collection of poetry by a lifelong writer, creative writing instructor, and performance poet who co-founded a number of important Appalachian institutions including West Virginia Writers, Inc. and the Allegheny Echoes Bluegrass Music Summer Workshops. Praised by national figures including the late Gwendolyn Brooks and Lee Maynard, Judd's work is rich and solid, using precise descriptions of the natural world and physical activities to lift up words and the reader's spirits toward something transcendent. For example, in "Hill Sailor" he begins,
He was like the wood of the mast
he brought from the ship
to make the four foundation logs.
He saved the unsalted top
to spoke-shave the Norway Spruce
down for his fiddle-box.
Judd often also writes celebrations of people who have passed on, especially figures in blue grass music, but also family members and friends. In "For Richard" he says,
It's not much,
but the air is changed
now that you're not breathing it.
fall down the mountain differently
now that you're not standing in them,
trying the hit a trout in the head
with your sinker.
The deer are a bit more wary,
somehow already knowing
that someone else
who really wants to kill one of them
has taken your place in the woods.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this book, however, is that it comes with a cd recording of Judd performing his works with a number of well known musicians and once with a mountain clogger. He also collaborates with one of his poems and a friend's poem. All this is wonderfully communal, poems brought to vigorous life with his strong, flexible voice carrying us on, lifting us up. Kirk Judd's performance poetry is a national treasure.
The book also has beautiful photographs throughout by Dave Lambert. Order from Mountain State Press, or Amazon or any of the other usual suspects.
I've read some of these, and look forward to the ones I haven't yet:
The Green Corn Rebellion William Cunningham About 1917 rebellion by Oklahoma's tenant farmers
Tell me a Riddle Tillie Olsen
The Dispossessed Ursula LeGuin Political science fiction
Strumpet City James Plunkett Dublin working class 1907 – 1913
Sugaree Rising J. Douglas Allen-Taylor 1930′s South Carolina Gullah story
Rosa Jonathan Rabb Serial killings: is one of the women Rosa Luxemburg
The Regeneration Trilogy Pat Barker
I would start with journals that are published by creative writing programs-- WASHINGTON SQUARE, COLUMBIA POETRY REVIEW, GULF COAST, LAKE EFFECT, etc. These have student editors, and so are often amenable to student writing. The students can also research MFA/PhD program by looking at their publications, which means that you can give them a way to control the search, and you are not the oracle providing lists of journals to which they can submit. Many of us were schooled on the logic that publication is something one does after one has established a mature voice. This is clearly no longer the case: my eleven year old nephew recently recommended that I read stories on blog by one of his classmates.
The most important thing is always read/see/know the journal before you submit. Editorial staffs tend to have a high turn over rate, especially at student run journals, but the basic look and feel is important to know. I was just on a publishing panel at which one of the audience expressed frustration that she had "aimed too low" in publishing a poem, and wanted to know if she could republish the poem in a "better journal." My response was-- and I said this as nicely as I could-- that you should never insult the people who have selected your work, and that while the poem may appear in anthologies or her own books, insulting your previous editors is as unwise as complaining about former bosses on a job interview.
In terms of the logistics, make sure [you] know to keep a spreadsheet and to check submission rules regarding simultaneous submissions. The postal problem of crossed letters has essentially disappeared, and many journals now accept simultaneous submissions-- but you must withdraw the poem as soon as it is selected elsewhere. I am somewhat agnostic regarding submission fees. They are becoming common, and I suspect are a reaction to 1) the fact that you no longer have to buy envelopes or stamps and 2) the ease of electronic submission has created an overwhelming situation for editors. On principle, I am against submission fees, but in practice, it allows editors to keep the magazine going. On the other hand, submission fees for contests are standard and normal.
But... be warned against the sort of scams where you submit to a journal that publishes everything and charges $60 to get a copy of the book. But then, we owe the Flarf movement to such a scam, so these scams are not without *some* merit in the larger universe.
The submissions calendar at Poets and Writers (http://www.pw.org/toolsforwriters) is fantastic. CLMP (the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses) can also be helpful in terms of standards and fairness.
More Sources for Submitting
Don't forget to email CRWROPPS-B@yahoogroups.com and get on their list. They send out almost daily lists of places to submit poetry and prose. To add yourself to the list, send a blank email to email@example.com . You will receive a return message with further sign-up instructions.
1. Poets & Writers (http://www.pw.org)
2. Poets Market (a book that you have to buy, but worth the investment for new writers: http://www.writersdigestshop.com/2014-poets-market-group
3. Duotrope.com (has a fee)
5. CLMP's Member Directory: http://clmp.org/directory/
6. Calls for Submissions on Facebook, (Poetry, Fiction, Art) https://www.facebook.com/groups/35517751475/
Summer Special through July 31, 2014: Meredith Sue Willis's Oradell at Sea. Get it free in any e-book format. Go to Smashwords.com (You may have to register first). At check-out, put in this coupon code for your free copy:
(The physical book is still available as well from WVU Press)
The Continuing Amazon Hachette Dust Up
Below is an open letter fro Richard Russo in his role as Co-Vice President of the Authors Guild. If you want my take, see my blog post here:
The primary mission of the Authors Guild has always been the defense of the writing life. While it may be true that there are new opportunities and platforms for writers in the digital age, only the willfully blind refuse to acknowledge that authorship is imperiled on many fronts. True, not all writers are equally impacted. Some authors still make fortunes through traditional publishing, and genre writers (both traditionally published and independently published) appear to be doing better than writers of nonfiction and “literary” mid-list fiction. (The Guild has members in all of these categories.) But there’s evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, that as a species we are significantly endangered. In the UK, for instance, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society reports that authors’ incomes have fallen 29 percent since 2005, a decline they deem “shocking.” If a similar study were done in the U.S., the results would be, we believe, all too similar.
On Tuesday, Amazon made an offer to Hachette Book Group that would “take authors out of the middle” of their ongoing dispute by offering Hachette authors windfall royalties on e-books until the dispute between the companies is resolved. While Amazon claims to be concerned about the fate of mid-list and debut authors, we believe their offer—the majority of which Hachette would essentially fund—is highly disingenuous. For one thing, it’s impossible to remove authors from the middle of the dispute. We write the books they’re fighting over. And because it is the writing life itself we seek to defend, we’re not interested in a short-term windfall to some of the writers we represent. What we care about is a healthy ecosystem where all writers, both traditionally and independently published, can thrive. We believe that ecosystem should be as diverse as possible, containing traditional big publishers, smaller publishers, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, as well as both e-books and print books. We believe that such an ecosystem cannot exist while entities within it are committed to the eradication of other entities.
Over the years the Guild has often opposed Amazon’s more ruthless tactics, not because we’re anti-Amazon but because we believe the company has stepped over the line and threatened the publishing ecosystem in ways that jeopardize both our livelihoods and the future of authorship itself. There’s no need to rehash our disagreements here. But it is worth stating that we are not anti-Amazon, or anti-e-book, or anti-indie-publishing. Amazon invented a platform for selling e-books that enriches the very ecosystem we believe in, and for which we are grateful. If indie authors are making a living using that platform, bravo. Nor are we taking Hachette’s side in the present dispute. Those of us who publish traditionally may love our publishers, but the truth is, they’ve not treated us fairly with regard to e-book revenues, and they know it. That needs to change. If we sometimes appear to take their side against Amazon, it’s because we’re in the same business: the book business. It may be true that some of our publishers are owned by corporations that, like Amazon, sell a lot more than books, but those larger corporations seem to understand that books are special, indeed integral to the culture in a way that garden tools and diapers and flat-screen TVs are not. To our knowledge, Amazon has never clearly and unequivocally stated (as traditional publishers have) that books are different and special, that they can’t be treated like the other commodities they sell. This doesn’t strike us as an oversight. If we’re wrong, Mr. Bezos, now would be a good time to correct us. First say it, then act like you believe it. We’d love to be your partners.
Curious way to get a book deal: http://www.theguardian.com/music/shortcuts/2014/jun/22/one-direction-harry-styles-fan-erotic-fantasies-publishing-goldmine
Article has a link to the online "book," which got the author a 6-figure book deal. I couldn't get into it myself: guess other people having sex just doesn't appeal to me. I haven't seen so many cliches bunched up together since the last political speech I heard. And I didn't even get to any of the sex bits. Good grief, wonder what they're like? So the message...is: adopt a pseudonym, write a sex book online, retire in style.... Does it irritate you as much as it does me to see crap writing making the authors of it rich? When great writers languish?
John Birch is traveling this month in England--in Brontë country!
Deborah Clearnman's short story "The Bicyclist" is now up on Witness, a terrific online magazine. You can read it at their website. Set in New York City, says Deborah, "this is a tale told by an unreliable narrator that in no way reflects my attitude toward Michael Bloomberg, CitiBike, or any other hot-button transportation issue of our times. Just so we get that clear!"
MSW's take on the Amazon Hachette dustup: http://meredithsuewillis.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-take-on-amazon-hachette-dispute.html .
Summer issue of Persimmon Tree is not available here: http://www.persimmontree.org/v2/?utm_source=June+17%2C+2014+-+FINAL&utm_campaign=June072014Final&utm_medium=email
Timewell magazine offers a monthly theme with a mix of excerpts from classic literature with contemporary stories, poems, and art. The past year themes: Women, Youth, War Stories, Law/Justice, Infidelity, Power, Marriage, Before/After, Speculative Fiction, Deceit, Revelation, Crime, Stupidity—and the next issue will be Elegance: http://www.timewell.us/
Don't forget MSW's latest novel Love Palace , now available as a paperback! Take a look at some New reviews! Buy it from Irene Weinberger Books Buy it online -- Buy it as an e-Book from Foreverland Press Kindle -- Nook -- iBook -- All Digital formats
MSW's short story "Sheherezade and Dunzyad," collected in Re-Visions, was translated into Arabic by Mohammad Abd alhalim Khanyam and appeared online in Elaph, London :2415, Dec. 2012, republished onlineÂ 4524, Oct.10, 2013 http://www.elaph.com/Web/Culture/2009/2/409952.htm, republished in AlHilal Magazine (Cairo , Egypt, as a hard copy)-- and used in a comparative literature class at Kuwait University!
The professor says that the students are impressed to see the influence of their culture on American literature in the twenty first century!
Fran Simone says of her new book Husband of Joys and Sorrows, "Alcoholism, widely recognized as a wasteland that sucks addicts and their loved ones dry, is a disease that fosters fear, diminishes dignity, and compromises love. Left untreated, alcoholism destroys families and lives. I was one of its causalities." Learn more at : http://centralrecoverypress.com/books/blog/husband-of-joys-and-sorrows/
Halvard Johnson has a new book of poetry SONGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME from Gradient Books: http://gradientbooks.blogspot.fi/2014/06/halvard-johnson-songs-my-mother-taught.html
Time is Running Out! Help a new bookstore café! Before July 26, 2014-- Turn of the Corkscrew Bookstore has an Indie gogo campaign. Two Long Island women are raising money to open a bookstore-café on the South Shore! See https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/turn-of-the-corkscrew-books-and-wine .
I reviewed a novel by one of the entrepreneuses, Carol Hoenig, in Issue 152 of this newsletter: http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive151-155.html#oflittlefaith)
Sad News: End of Gently Read Literature: Daniel Casey wrote, and Deborah Clearman passed on, that Gently Read Literature's Fall 2014 issue, which will go out on September 1st, will be its last. He thanks readers, contributors, writers, agents, publishers, and presses that made the this tiny electronic magazine possible. He says, "I began GRL in 2008 and have had a very fruitful and engaging time editing it over the years. I hope you have enjoyed the reviews and essays GRL has provided. I hope that the final issue of Gently Read Literature leaves you with pleasant memory of a review that tried to bring more discussion of poetry and fiction into the world." http://about.me/danielcasey
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 of 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 that you may be able to borrow it from your public library as either a hard copy or a digital copy. You may also buy or order from your local independent bookstore. (To find a bricks-and-mortar store, click the "shop indie" logo left).
To buy books online, I often go first to Bookfinder or Alibris. Bookfinder gives the 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 source for used and out-of-print books is All Book Stores. Also consider Paperback Book Swap, a postage only way to trade books with other readers.
If you are using an electronic reader like Kindle, Nook, or Kobo, don't forget free books at the Gutenberg Project—mostly classics, but free, free, free!
Kobobooks.com sells books for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores.
RESPONSES TO THIS NEWSLETTER
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#171 Robert Graves, Marie Manilla, Johnny Sundstrom, Kirk Judd
#170 John Van Kirk, Carter Seaton,Neil Gaiman, Francine Prose, The Murder of Helen Jewett, Thaddeus Rutkowski
#169 Pearl Buck's The Exile and Fighting Angel; Larissa Shmailo; Liz Lewinson; Twelve Years a Slave, and more
#168 Catherine the Great, Alice Munro, Edith Poor, Mitch Levenberg, Vonnegut, Mellville, and more!
#167 Belinda Anderson; Anne Shelby; Sean O'Leary, Dragon tetralogy; Don Delillo's Underworld
#166 Eddy Pendarvis on Pearl S. Buck; Theresa Basile; Miguel A. Ortiz; Lynda Schor; poems by Janet Lewis; Sarah Fielding
#165 Janet Lewis, Melville, Tosltoy, Irwin Shaw!
#164 Ed Davis on Julie Moore's poems; Edith Wharton; Elaine Drennon Little's A Southern Place; Elmore Leonard
#163 Pamela Erens, Michael Harris, Marlen Bodden, Joydeep Roy-Battacharya, Lisa J. Parker, and more
#162 Lincoln, Joseph Kennedy, Etel Adnan, Laura Treacy Bentley, Ron Rash, Sophie's Choice, and more
#161 More Wilkie Collins; Duff Brenna's Murdering the Mom; Nora Olsen's Swans & Klons; Lady Audley's Secret
#160 Carolina De Robertis, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Ross King's The Judgment of Paris
#159 Tom Jones. William Luvaas, Marc Harshman, The Good Earth, Lara Santoro, American Psycho
#158 Chinua Achebe's Man of the People; The Red and the Black; McCarthy's C.; Farm City; Victor Depta;Myra Shapiro
#157 Alice Boatwright, Reamy Jansen, Herta Muller, Knut Hamsun, What Maisie Knew; Wanchee Wang, Dolly Withrow.
#156 The Glass Madonna; A Revelation
#155 Buzz Bissinger; reader suggestions; Satchmo at the Waldorf
#154 Hannah Brown, Brad Abruzzi, Thomas Merton
#153 J.Anthony Lukas, Talmage Stanley's The Poco Fields, Devil Anse
#152 Marc Harshman guest editor; John Burroughs; Carol Hoenig
#151 Deborah Clearman, Steve Schrader, Paul Harding, Ken Follet, Saramago-- and more!
#150 Mitch Levenberg, Johnny Sundstrom, and Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns.
#149 David Weinberger's Too Big to Know; The Shining; The Tiger's Wife.
#148 The Moonstone, Djibouti, Mark Perry on the Grimké family
#147 Jane Lazarre's new novel; Johnny Sundstrom; Emotional Medicine Rx; Walter Dean Myers, etc.
#146 Henry Adams AGAIN! Also,Fun Home: a Tragicomic
#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; 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.
#130 Lynda Schor, Ed Myers, Charles Bukowski, Terry Bisson, The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism
#129 Baltasar and Blimunda; Underground Railroad; Navasky's Naming Names, 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
#65 Ingrid Hughes on Memoir
#64 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
#48 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
#38 Steven Bloom No New Jokes
#37 James Webb's Fields of Fire
#35 Conrad, Furbee, Silas House
#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....
#24 Tales of the City
#23 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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