Friday, September 23, 2011

I Was There First!

Today's New York Times has an article about the new Africa exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum: "Heroic Africans," statues and busts based on historic figures but abstracted into ideal moral and leadership qualities. And I saw it first-- on Wednesday. It has wonderful big idealized portraits in wood and other materials of chiefs and other leaders, everything with great presence and dignity.

I love when this happens, when I wander into and exhibit and have my own reactions. I knew it was opening from the website, and I knew that was the first day, but I knew nothing about it, was surprised by how large it was, and very, very impressive. I apparently started at the wrong end, the direction the guard told me to go when I asked, and I definitely want to go back.

It was my ideal way to begin to get to know an exhibit (except that I was tired from visiting other things already): to wander in and around an exhibit, pretty innocent of critical apparatus, just let it capture me, whatever piece (for me Wednesday it was the magnificent and naturalistic terra cotta Yoruba heads. Then to go back with systematic reading of labels and/or audioguide, etc.

Cool to have been there before the Times gave its imprimatur!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Books for Readers #145

Meredith Sue Willis's

Books for Readers # 145

September 18, 2011

(Click cover image for information from the publisher) Re-visions: Stories from Stories is a collection of spin-offs from myth, fiction, and the Bible. From a new look at Adam and Eve and why they left the Garden to a grown-up Topsy from Uncle Tom's Cabin to the confessions of Saint Augustine's concubine- each story offers a gloss on the original as well as insights into how we can live today.
This Issue:
Phyllis Moore on Jaimy Gordon
Recommendations from Reamy Jansen

Darnell Arnoult's Sufficient Grace

Bob Bender's Reading List
Mark Defoe's new collection: sample poem

The Witch and the Sunflower Girl

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I've read a fair amount this summer, but my big announcement is that I finally finished probably the only book I ever laid aside because it was making me sick to my stomach. And, no, it was not gore or violence. The book was the putative American classic, THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS by Henry Adams. When I tried to read it ten years ago, every time I picked it up– a small print paper back, as I remember, maybe a Penguin classic, with a long introduction– I felt like I was reading in the back seat of a swerving car. I hated this book. I was also humiliated that I, who pride myself on catholic taste in literature, had failed to get what everyone sees in Henry Adams.

It isn't a difficult book the way, say, Virginia Woolf's most seriously modernist books are (I'm thinking of THE WAVES and JACOB'S ROOM). It wasn't the content, I didn't think: I had once at thirteen skipped part of a Leon Uris novel because I knew I wasn't supposed to read what happened after he unzipped her skirt. And I did have trouble finishing NAKED LUNCH. This was something else.

Not wanting to invest too much in the book in case it all happened again, I downloaded a .99 cent version for the Kindle, and I'm happy to report that I kept down my lunch. On the other hand, I still don't like the book. Knowing some of Henry Adams' biography made me more open, or at least more interested. His wife committed suicide in mid life, which he never mentions in this version of his life story, and he was a noted socializer, and a great friend to many people. He also was burdened with the weight of expectations for a young man from a family in which the grandfather and great-grandfather had both been presidents of the United States.

He was, at bottom, a very smart, very neurotic, very limited member of the ruling class of the United States. Of course we are all limited by our class and our ethnic group and our time and place, but some of us manage to peer at least a little outside: Tolstoy could do it; Emily Dickinson could do it. So could all the great writers. Henry Adams, at least in this nonfiction book, seems totally unable to see outside his narrow little track.

The conceit of the book is that Adams' whole life has been a failure, specifically a failed education. The strained humorous tone when he writes about his youth sets my teeth on edge, and his view of the American Civil War (he was private secretary to his father, the ambassador to England) seems coolly distant at best and at worst nearly frivolous. Again, I need to offer a caveat: many people don't read it this way at all, and Adams himself deplores being so far from the center of the great event of his generation.

His voice gains authenticity as he closes in on his chronological age as he is writing, which is in his mid-sixties. The final quarter of the book– except for his crackpot theories of history– creates an atmosphere of genuine amazement and humility in the face of the material culture of the new century– and also a tone of increasing sadness. The book ends with the death of one of his best friends, Teddy Roosevelt's secretary of State, John Hay, who had also been Abraham Lincoln's private secretary.

I still don't know why I have reacted so strongly to this book. There is, of course, my own twenty-first century assumptions and expectations– of more personal revelation, for example. Also, I have had a lifelong preference (I admit it!) for narrative, which Adams essentially eschews. But I really am appalled by his assumptions: he assumes his readers have Latin, and that they went to Harvard. He assumes that they criticize Harvard, too, of course, and he assumes his readers are amused by immigrant Poles and Irish and Jews as the second element in various unflattering similes. He assumes that complimenting women's grace and kindness allows him to say anything he wants about them.

I also just reread UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, and it gave me an interesting comparison. Why is it that Harriet Beecher Stowe who was as thoroughly of her time and place as Adams, and probably a less talented writer, could occasionally hit the mark– leap out beyond her own prejudices? She has that ability to take the imaginative leap, not always, but occasionally, that makes a connection across time and race and class. Of course she's telling a story, and THE EDUCATION is nonfiction.

So I'm going to give Henry Adams another chance. I've downloaded free Gutenberg Project e-books of his two novels, DEMOCRACY and ESTHER.

Meredith Sue Willis


I want to recommend SUFFICIENT GRACE by Darnell Arnoult, a novel of imaginative, sophisticated writing in the form of a classical comedy– that is, with happy endings all around, the way Shakespeare's late comedies like THE TEMPEST are comedies in spite of some pretty rough going along the way.

So SUFFICIENT GRACE is a committedly upbeat novel, maybe even Christian humanist. It has a wonderful set up: a housewife paints pictures of Jesus all over the walls of her house, and walks out on her life. There is no mistaking that she is mentally unbalanced, but her breakdown is presented in a fascinatingly balanced way: yes, she's crazy, but no, she's not all that much more unhappy than anyone else. Part of the project of the books seems to be to imagine a creative and graceful, but not sentimental, mental breakdown.

The novel insists, explicitly, on closing all the circuits it opens up. This doesn't mean anything old fashioned like marriage rings, but rather some near-miraculous coincidences such as the itinerant woman preacher who arrives in town just in time to reconcile with her daughter and perform her marriage ceremony. The closing of the circuits also means satisfying outcomes for most of the characters– lovers for those who want them, artistic hobbies that turn into high art or ways to make a living. The husband who cooks because his wife has left him becomes a superb cook with a likely book contract. It's twenty-first century wish fulfillment: that we could really support ourselves doing what we love best, in community, across racial lines, with family dysfunction healed.


Reamy Jansen recommends Geraldine Brooks' CALEB'S CROSSING: "I think it's a wonderful novel of self fashioning by the acute and feelingful Bethia, who is the narrator. Like Aurora Leigh, Bathe is the matter of her book."

He goes on to say, "I've also been on something of a Elizabeth Gaskell jag: 'Lois the Witch,' longish short story and RUTH--terrific with some interesting narrative tricks, as is true of what I'm reading now, Charlotte Brontë's SHIRLEY (a character that doesn't appear until after page 200). One of the most striking things that I've been encountering is the emphasis on 'mind' by these women writers, including Elizabeth Barrett's Aurora Leigh. It seems a theme/motif basted into all these texts. The other little signifier is the mention of 'curls,' which suggest spirit and independence. One of my obsessive lists (of course, with all my annotations, it's takes me as long to write in the margins and set up keys on the inside cover as it took Brontë to write 400 words).

"I think how much this book, [SHIRLEY], would have seemed a great bore to a callow English major, although, one year later, I found myself utterly taken up by Dickens's last complete novel, and one of his greatest, OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, as a senior, when in my Nineteenth Century European History course one of the final paper topics was 'The Novel as Mirror in the Roadway,' a quaint notion nowadays. Nevertheless, the novel absorbed me in a way I had not previously felt (much of this still holds true for most nineteenth century fiction that I regularly harvest).
"I read CRANFORD, as it was a gift from my favorite professor, William E(arlking) Michael, who told me the book was 'charming.' And charming it is, sort of, although a considerably deeper darkness and sense of threat is veined through the little book.

Now, however, I'm caught up in Brontë's SHIRLEY, part of which is major payback to her critics (including frequent asides to 'Reader,' which often comes across as slightly mocking).

"Anyway, here's dialogue on marriage from Ch XII, 'Shirley and Caroline: ' tell you a secret, if I were convinced that they [men] are necessarily and universally different from us---fickle, soon petrifying, unsympathiziing--I would never marry. I should not like to find out that what I loved did not love me, that it was weary of me, and that whatever effort I might make to please would hereafter be worse than useless, since it was inevitably in its nature to change and become indifferent. That discovery once made, what should I long for? To go away--to remove from a presence where my society gave no pleasure.'

"Powerful stuff--and there's more. Plus, you've got to love the neutered pronoun, (this from the excellent Penguin Classic--excellent notes and a good intro).

"There's good stuff, by the way in Brontë's friend's, Elizabeth Gaskell, THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTË and there's also 'The Miracle of Shirley' in Winifred Guerin's CHARLOTTE BRONTË, THE EVOLUTION OF GENIUS.

"Much of my reading in the theme of 'minds' by a variety of women novelists has been further enlightened by Deidre David's INTELLECTUAL WOMEN AND VICTORIAN PATRIARCHY, 1987. Much of this may have been superceded, but this is a nice place to start, and it has a lively introduction by the author, who was mistakenly addressed as 'David Deirdre.' Here endeth the lesson."


The 2010 National Book Award fiction winner, Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon, a West Virginia resident in the late 1960s, takes place in a world many of us are unfamiliar with, an insulated world with a language and culture of its own: claiming races at a track in West Virginia.

Prior to the opening of the novel, Gordon gives readers a leg up by including a technical description of the rules for "claiming" a horse. From this point on a dictionary and "google" proved useful as Gordon incorporates Yiddish, French, and German phrases into a mix of folklore, religion, mythological creatures, conjuring, racing rules, theories, and jargon. And did I mention the novel comes complete with sex, drugs, violence, mental illness, and organized crime, not to mention a cast of interesting characters, both animal and human?

Maggie, the protagonist, is a young intelligent college graduate destined to give her affluent Jewish parents gray hairs. She is a risk taker, fascinated by drugs and violence and willing to try anything once, provided it isn't lethal. She is enthralled by a charismatic but volatile fellow college graduate who is "just not right in the soul, really." Maggie's career as a writer is on hold to help him develop his string of horses and be part of his schemes to win big and get out fast.

Like horses in a race, the story starts off slowly, picks up speed in the stretch, falters slightly, and then ends in a rush of excitement. There is an interesting mix of characters of different faiths, sexual preferences, and colors. Their stories unfold, sometimes in their own voices.

Prior to the National Book Award, Gordon was one of the famous authors readers hadn't read or heard about. A professor, scholar, and a fiction writer of note, she had a small faithful readership and a totally dedicated publisher.
Now readers will find interviews of Gordon, study guides for Lord of Misrule, and a superfluity of reviews of this work on the internet. That is all to the good. Lord of Misrule is a work to study and respect as well as to enjoy.

As the protagonist Maggie says of her charismatic but mentally ill lover Tommy, "The strangeness draws me in." Gordon's skills as a writer drew me into this strange and innovative story.


• Roger Horowitz, "Negro and White, Unite and Fight": A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930-90.
• Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness. Edited by Robert Kimbrough
• Jonathan Kaufman, Broken: The Turbulent Times Between Blacks and Jews in America
• Roger Keeran, The Communist Party and the Auto Workers' Unions
• Julie Grasso, Recipe for a Family
• Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
• The Girl who Played with Fire
• The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
• Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
• Sue Grafton, M is for Malice
• Joyce Carol Oates, Wonderland
• South End Press, Between Labor and Capital , the Professional Managerial Class (Barbara and John Ehrenreich + others)
• Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost, a story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
• Ralph David Abernathy, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
• Manning Marable, Malcolm X, A Life of Reinvention
• Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the Dead
• Stanley Aronowitz, From the Ashes of the Old: American Labor and America's Future
• Jesse Redmon Faucet, Plum Bun
• Harry Fisher, Legacy
• Herman Melville, Billy Budd and Other Stories
• Michael Patrick MacDonld, All Souls, A Family Story from Southie
• Arthur Miller, Timebends (autobiography)
• Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion


Dolly Withrow talks a little about some magazines: "Readers can sample excerpts and get other tidbits by accessing The Sun Magazine online. It is ad-free, which means the publisher often asks for donations. I think this is true of most 'little' magazines. Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine can also be accessed online, but there are no sample essays; however, there is contact information for anyone wishing to submit something. Creative Nonfiction magazine (that's how I Googled it) is also available. One can read samples, get writing guidelines, and access lots of other information online. The publisher also has contests and each magazine, like Now & Then has a theme. If you or anyone on your list has an opinion about Appalachian Heritage, I'd be most interested.....[they don't]..have themes."


HarperCollins supports an online community of writers who upload work for others to critique. Things that get a a lot of attention from other users is sent to the "Editor's Desk," where it is given a close look by the actual publishing company: Take a look at


Recommended by Amy Wright: Michael Martone's short short nonfiction piece on the recent weather disasters in Alabama:
Take a look at Valerie Nieman reading a poem about a stapler:
Laura Treacy Bentley interviews Marc Harshman WEST VIRGINIA LIVING:
Barbara Crooker has new poems online– "The Bossy Letter R," "Live or Evil, Rats or Star," "The Paper Clip," and "The Last Painting" all appear in the new issue of The Innisfree Poetry Journal at
Norman Julian recommends this interesting interview with Scott Turow about his career and writing in general:
There's an enthusiastic review of the new collected works of my inimitable friend Carol Emswhiller, the avant garde and science fiction writer.
And finally, Salon has a nicely snarky piece on the worst novels that use 9-11 in some fashion:


A personal essay on witnessing the final space launch by Melanie Vickers appeared on July 28, 2011 at

Erik Corr's e-book THE WITCH AND THE SUNFLOWER GIRL is now available:
The subtitle is "A Halloween and Christmas Fairy Tale about Karma and Free Will," and the story only costs .99 cents! Also see Erik's Youtube about an open source novel he's writing:

Mark DeFoe's tenth chapbook of poems In the Tourist Cave is coming out this fall. Pre-publication orders are now being taken by Finishing Line Press of Georgetown, KY. Order online at and click on "new releases:"
Click on the "New Releases and Forthcoming titles" link.
Here's a sample poem from the collection: :

Rest your bones, friend. See how the drenched
walks gleam, the spilling gutters flash and shine.
Take a load off—beer's in the frig. Look there—
every grass blade and leaf is rinsed, spangled.
Drink to these simple times, to life untangled.
Grab this rocker. Hear how the downspouts gush
softer now. The clouds ripple pearl and gray.
Across the lots, light strides its copper way,
while one departing shower shakes the pines.
We spin our voices past this last wet rush,
spieling yarns and god-awful jokes, how we wenched
away our youth, how if we ran the world today
it would be a damn sight saner. The women chime
their mocking laughter low. You men, they say.
We grin and nod. The beer's made us heady—
That and the rich scent of new-watered earth.
Oh, dead Indians topple—slow and steady.
Fireflies begin to spark above of the cooling lawn.
Our talk grows gentle. Here in the cool hush
our voices amble, mingle, murmur on.

Cat Pleska has a piece about the terrors of planes at Airplane Reading: essays about airplanes. Check out her "Rock and Roll" at .
New from Halvard Johnson: Sonnets from the Basque & Other Poems.
Peter Brown's newest book for children is out: YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND in which Lucille Beatrice Bear wants to make a new friend. Lucy accidentally ruins the giraffe's breakfast, and the skunk doesn't want her help, and she's too big for the frog's pond. It looks hopeless. And then, when she least expects it, a funny thing'll never guess what it is....
Watch for Valerie Nieman reading from Blood Clay (see Books for Readhers #140 ) at a venue near you!
SEPT. 23 - Bring Your Own Lunch and Author Chat at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill
SEPT. 24 - "Peeking Behind the Mask" - poetry at Weatherspoon Gallery, Greensboro
OCT. 6 - Ex Libris Book Club
OCT. 13 - Fairmont State University, Fairmont, WV
OCT. 14 - West Virginia University
OCT. 15 - Mary H. Weir Public Library, Weirton, WV, Public Library
OCT. 17 - Alderson-Broaddus College, Philippi, WV
OCT. 18 - Taylor Books, Charleston, WV
OCT. 22 - Building Connections: Group Poetry for Residents in Assisted Living/Nursing Care, Queens University of Charlotte
OCT. 29-30 -Workshop and salon with Marjorie Hudson at Writershouse, Charlottesville, Va.
OCT. 30 - SWAG at the Shenandoah Arts Center in Waynesboro, Va.
NOV. 16 - The Burwell School, Hillsborough NC
FEB. 24 - Wonderland Book Club, Raleigh
FEB. 25 - Book'em, Lumberton
APRIL 10 - Carteret Writers Club
MAY 18-19 - Blue Ridge Bookfest in Flat Rock, NC
JUANITA TORRENCE-THOMPSON, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher/Owner of Internationally acclaimed MOBIUS, THE POETRY MAGAZINE seeks a GROUP of poets and/or editors or COLLEGE, organization or business individual/s to purchase and publish her 29-year old non-profit print magazine starting 2011. Serious buyers ONLY
Eemail: or
Colleen Anderson announces a feature article about the Aurora Project, from the most recent issue of West Virginia Living Magazine: The Aurora Project Fall Writers' Retreat is scheduled for October 20-23 this year. No classes or workshops, just time on your own, fabulous food, and good company in the evenings. This year, Anita Skeen is the special guest, and she'll give a reading on Saturday evening, October 22. For more information, see the webstie at


The largest unionized bookstore in America has a webstore at Powells Books. Some people prefer shopping online there to shopping at An alternative way to reach Powell's site and support the union is via 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" above) that sells online at More good sources for used and out-of-print books are Bookfinder at and All Book Stores at .
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.


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

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#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; Molly Gilman on Dogs of Babel
#98 Guest editor Pat Arnow; more on the 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