Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Books for Readers Newsletter #167

Meredith Sue Willis's

Books for Readers # 167

January 15, 2014

When possible, read online for updates and corrections.  

     MSW Home

 

In this Issue:

Underworld;
Belinda Anderson's Witchy Wanda;
Anne Shelby;
Sean O'Leary;
Mathilda;
Dragon Keeper;
Carole Rosenthal on Janet Malcolm;
Recently Reviewed Books;
A Glance at Problems with Publishing;
A Word from the Sponsor
The E-Reader Report with John Birch;
Vic Depta Poems;
Backchannel
Smashwords.com versus Bookbaby.com;
Announcements;


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A Word from the Sponsor:

Available January 20, 2014!
Meredith Sue Willis's first novel to appear as an e-book
before it is a hard copy! Check it out at Foreverland Press:

The narrator of Meredith Sue Willis’s engaging new novel has just turned forty, quit her job, been jilted by her live-in boyfriend and suspended by her therapist for nonpayment. Martha plunges into a personal meltdown the way some people plunge into a bag of doughnuts. Against her better judgment, she takes a job at a settlement house known as “Love Palace” in a run-down community that is about to be razed for urban renewal.
There Martha discovers that she has a talent for managing the dysfunctional institution and its staff. She is attracted by the charismatic reverend who oversees Love Palace as well as by Robby, one of the staff members, who is rich, handsome, recently released from a hospital after a suicide attempt, and intensely ambivalent about his sexuality.
Along with the Love Palace crew of runaways, derelicts, struggling blue collar workers, a former Black Panther, and many others, Martha has to deal with her ex-hillbilly mother, who favors shoulder pads and big hair; her sister the big-shot lawyer; and her dying Jewish grandmother.



On my break between semesters I've had a lot of fun reading, including one book off the "extreme reading" list .  This list is in many ways strange-- some of the books are long old classics (Canterbury Tales, Clarissa, War and Peace, ), and others are older modernist classics (To the Lighthouse). Then there's Pynchon and Gaddis's J.R. and of course Finnegan's Wake.  It made aware of what I've avoided: the late twentieth century Long Book writers especially ,(Pynchon, Gaddis), but I decided to read Don DeLillo's Underworld from the list, and then, for treats, read some children's novels and dragon novels.

Underworld is in large part really stunning. The sentences are amazing, and there are a lot of excellent scenes, and I really loved all of the 1950's growing-up-in-the Bronx parts. That is probably less than 400 pages of the 800 pages in the book.
The main character is Nick Shay who grows up to become a Phoenix based waste control manager who owns (for carefully explained but ultimately random reasons) the home run ball from the famous 1951 Giants-Dodger's game, the "shot heard round the world." There are many characters and materials peripheral to Nick, and much of it works well. The various references to the Atom Bomb, the bombed out South Bronx, radiation sickness, graffiti art, and various other Important Topics are treated-- to my taste-- portentously, which more than once slides into pretentiously. There are extended metaphors like the computer imagery in the epilogue in which a retired teaching nun dies and goes to cyberspace. That part was just irritating: the computer imagery felt outdated which none of the major story lines did.
Let me step back here with a little caveat emptor. I'm always jealous of the adulation accorded the Guys who write Big Books, and I also tend to be suspicious of a certain post modernism that seems to insist on its own bigness just to prove how great it is, and post modern, and big. Underworld at its heart seems to me to be the story of how a boy from the streets became a solid if tortured citizen in a particular time and place. Everything else is back story and decoration.
Which isn't to say that the decoration isn't moving and wonderful. I especially liked the appearances of figures like "Jedgar" Hoover and Lenny Bruce, and found Hoover oddly sad and Lenny Bruce's peripatetic night club appearances a clever way of bringing various cities into the story. I liked much less the radiation deformities and murdered children. They felt added for seriousness and bigness and epic quality. Or perhaps there to screen the writer's honest nostalgia and his fairly simple main story lines.
My favorite character (not counting Jedgar) is Bronzini, a cuckolded school teacher and chess mentor, who is a Walker in the Bronx: every afternoon after school, he wanders around, talks to the old guys, has a drink here, makes a joke there. He enjoys his world with his senses and his sadness and his appreciation and sensitivity. He's a wonderful character, but he's part of the Bronx story, and, again, everything in the streets and tenements of 1951 Italian Irish Bronx is terrific.
Other parts just got tiresome with their long efforts to make the familiar unfamiliar, as if observed for the first time. Overdone, this kind of dense description becomes bombast if not logorrhea. Am I just confronting a great fin de 20th siècle monument of literary culture and trying to hack at its clay feet? Honestly, I think It would have been a wonderful novel at one third the length.


So, very refreshing, after Underworld to turn to a crisp, fast moving children's novel, Jackson VS Witchy Wanda: Kid Soup by Belinda Anderson. This middle grade novel has my new favorite villain, Wanda Lovecraft who is optimistic and upbeat and determined to feast on the local children. Jackson, the hero, is her equal in determination, although not in good cheer. His life isn't easy, even without Wanda. His parents criticize him for all the wrong reasons, and he doesn't seem to have any friends. There's a bully who's after him, of course, but my favorite thing about him is that he wears a hearing aid and occasionally loses a word or misses something important. Poor Jackson, smart but not honored for it, constantly misunderstood, and forced to eschew sweets because they make him smell attractive to Wanda.
Meanwhile, Wanda pops up again and again like the repeated appearances of the mole in a whac-a-mole game. Time after time poor benighted Jackson thinks he has bested her, but she comes back to torment him and try to eat him and his friends.
But the good news is that Jackson finally has some friends and allies. This happens as he keeps trying to save the children and defeat the witch (without telling any adults, of course) and also without using violence. He ends up with at least three friends plus a cat and a deeper relationship with his possibly demented but maybe just shell-shocked grandfather.
One of my favorite moments, though, is when Wanda argues that she is simply a predator: she eats children, and occasionally road kill and rodents, but she insists she's no different than the kids when they eat a hamburger. It's an argument that has appeal, especially when put forth by such an enthusiast. Of course, in the end Wanda is finally defeated– but with just enough wiggle room tht there might be a sequel, which I, for one, look forward to.

I also gobbled up (shades of Witchy Wanda) a tetralogy of dragon novels by fantasy queen, or at least duchess, Robin Hobb: City of Dragons, Blood of Dragons, Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven. The first one, Dragon Keeper, blew me away and had me buying the others, on Kindle, and I liked them, but like many of these series, the first one is best. Sometimes the stories drift, there is unfinished business, changes of direction. She minimizes battles and gore (which is good or bad depending on taste), but I'd say this makes the violence stronger when it occurs In one section from a particular character's point of view, he gets his leg eaten by a dragon, followed by the rest of him.
The dragons are terrific: they remind me of parakeets: affectionate, but also likely to nip-- that is to say, tame but not domesticated. To this undomesticated quality, Hobb adds great intelligence and beauty, and I'd say the dragons are more interesting characters than the people.
There are a lot of good concept fantasy bits: there ships that are alive in a certain way (and she has another series about those "liveships"). There is a nice idea of how people who live near dragons are "changed" and given scales and wattles.
Hobb writes a lot, as required by her profession and her fans, and sometimes writes thinly, throwing away one interesting thread in order to follow a new idea. This makes for easy reading, but towards the end of the fourth book I was feeling like a kid the morning after trick-or-treating.


I also wanted to draw everyone's attention to collections by two witty Appalachian columnists: The State of My State: A Native Son's Search for West Virginia by Sean O'Leary and Can a Democrat Get into Heaven? by Anne Shelby.
Shelby, whose book has a foreword by Gurney Norman, is from Eastern Kentucky, and she has published many books of poems and books for children. She has also written for THE LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER  as well as for smaller local newspapers.
The crisp, funny pieces in Can A Democrat Get Into Heaven cover politics, religion and, as she says in her subtitle, "Other Things You Ain't Supposed to Talk About." Some of the pieces almost read like short stories, such as one called "my pinion bout the lection," which ends "they will vote how they are told to vote not me tho I am sticking to my beliefs I will haf to git payed."
A number of the pieces challenge anti-woman preachers using Shelby's r own deep knowledge of the Christian Bible, but other pieces are riffs on dogs and houses and memory. One of my favorites is about accents, called "Quit Makin' Fun of the Way I Talk." She says, "Once somebody comments on your Kentucky accent, it's usually not long till they're inquiring whether you own a pair of shoes or have sex with close family members. One man in Ohio asked me if I ate possum much. I about choked on my pasta salad."

Sean O'Leary's pieces were originally published largely in the Martinsburg Journal and Spirit of Jefferson, both publications from towns in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. O'Leary is a playwright and marketing consultant from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and his essays are more formal, at least in word play, than Shelby's, but he is treating many of the same issues that all Appalachians deal with on a daily basis.
One article is called "Coal Was West Virginia." It challenges people in the state (which is, as I write, struggling with water spoiled by a coal-cleaning chemical company) to think about what is coming next, because, inexorably, change is coming.
He writes about West Virginia's gun plague and about West Virginia's favorite athlete son, Jerry West. He writes about the Marcellus Shale that is supposed to revive West Virginia's fortunes ("The Emperor Has No Natural Gas Boom.") He writes about giveaways to businesses in tax exemptions, credits and various subsidies while the population continues to be among the poorest and unhealthiest in the nation. He writes about West Virginian politicians, good and bad, and offers a view of my home state that isn't sanguine, but is full of love.
Keep up with O'Leary's current work at www.the-state-of-my-state.com.



I also want to mention a memoir, Shake Terribly the Earth by Sarah Beth Childers. Early on in this collection of memory pieces Childers comments on memory and story telling by saying, "I sit and listen, like the robin in the dogwood, gleaning nuances from each telling of each story. Each self-contradicting version builds a broader space where the truth can reside, but the truer truth lies in the telling." Lovely lines, and the collection is deeply self-aware and articulate about storytelling as an art and as a profoundly human means of creating meaning.
The book is also an informal study and narrative of the fundamentalist Christian community in West Virginia in which Childers grew up, and, of course, of her family. She writes, "With faith, you don't need everything else to make sense. I am still Pentecostal. I can't give up the mystery." I was repeatedly moved by the losses and failures and also successes of this extended family. The mix of a particular approach to religion with the quotidian vicissitudes of growing up is well created.
A passage in the essay called "Shake Terribly the Earth" captures the combination of personal and cultural. The narrator is involved in a painful and embarrassing relationship with a boy she never meets. He is clearly playing her, setting up dates he doesn't keep, promising phone calls (via Face Book) that he never makes. In the midst of this highly personal material, she writes about how waiting, as she does for this no-show boyfriend, is valued in her culture: "My home and Pentecostal church were filled with sojourners in the wilderness, wanderers just outside the Promised Land. My mom waited to escape her chronic illness and to buy a house with more than one bathroom My mom's best friend waited for her teenage daughter to walk, speak, and think normally, free of the cerebral palsy that had struck her as a newborn."  Through its stories and personal witness, the book gives deep insight into how one type of religion informs everyday life. The pieces get stronger and more closely woven as the book goes on, and it is a worthwhile and fascinating collection.

                                                                     

SHORT TAKES (by MSW & Others)

In the mood for children's books, I also read a classic for kids I had missed: the redoubtable Roald Dahl's Mathilda. The only thing really standing in my way as an adult reader was how short the book was.  One of the things I like so much (that I tried to do without much consciousness in my first Marco book, and not nearly so neatly) is that Mathilda's magic is a mere brief passage: real within the confines of the book, but over and done with by the end. Mathilda is still a genius, but no longer a genius who can do magic. No wonder Dahl is considered one of the best the best.


Carole Rosenthal writes: "For my birthday I was given ALICE AND GERTRUDE, by Janet Malcolm, of whom I think highly. Looking forward to reading that. My two favorites by Malcolm are long essays, one called 'In the Freud Archive,' (wonderful!) and also one on Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath called 'The Silent Woman' (fascinating). Highly recommended if you haven't read them. Malcolm has such a keen, clear, and penetrating mind, the absolute best of journalism, much more than journalism. I miss her long, long and thoughtful pieces that used to be in the NEW YORKER. Her shorter pieces (I have two collections of them) are always interesting and provocative too, but not as much as the longer ones. My favorite in those collections is the longest essay–it is both collections–called 'A Girl of the Zeitgeist,' about Ingrid Sischy, the youthful editor of ARTFORUM who articulated and changed the art world's view of art's social function in the late 70s and early 80s."

 

FROM BLAIR MOUNTAIN PRESS

Victor Depta's latest book POEMS: WHAT LOVE IS includes the following poems, which are my evidence for why you should get the book:
 
What Loving a Baby Is
He wasn't a cartoon baby—a miniature body with a big, round
                      head, chick-fuzzy hair, big eyes, a tiny nose and a small,
                      pouty mouth—he was miniature all over, sort of scalded
                      and bloated looking, small-headed and with puffy, squinted eyes,
                      mostly all belly like a watermelon with wiener arms
                      and legs, toes hardly bigger than peas and fingers like short,
                      stubby rolls of clay with incredibly tiny, perfect fingernails
and I don't think it was just my brutal, selfish genes battering at
                      my ribs, trying as the country song says to break down
                      the door of my heart—it was more like ET's beginning to glow,
                      or Yoda levitating Luke's skycraft out of the swamp, my
                      chest emptying out and swelling like a helium balloon
and I don't think it was just what the neuroscientists say, that I
                      was having a small surge of adrenaline and a huge, ocean
                      swell of serotonin and oxytocin so that my natural, dopy
                      high was better than anything on Ecstasy
it was more like Plato's sweet Form, lonely up there in its
                      glorious, transcendent, immeasurably perfect, eternal
                      immortality—it was Love descended and made a habitation
                      of my heart.
 
The Flaws in a Love Poem
Odd, nowadays, how a poem has to have a blotch
some greasy french fries in it, a beer can
a siren, smog, a gunshot—something real
but not on a football field
where certain humans
in an arbitrary designation of time and space
enact the destiny of an odd-shaped ball
and nobody drags the wailing wall or the national deficit onfield—
if the comparison seems farfetched
think, then, of an acetylene torch
a girl in an abortion clinic, a boy in love with a boy
bewildered by the searing in their chest
the darkness, the blue flame, the sparks
during the welding of their hearts.
 
Blair Mountain Press, 114 East Campbell Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601 502-330-3707
http: www.blairmtp.net
 

DON'T FORGET: FINE NOVELS REVIEWED IN PAST ISSUES


Parental Sins by Miguel Antonio Ortiz (see review )

Fanged by Theresa Basile (See review)

Sexual Harassment Rules by Lynda Schor (See review )







THE E-READER REPORT WITH JOHN BIRCH: Best seller lists
For this issue, I've taken a look at the New York Times weekly lists of best sellers. From these I've singled out the e-book fiction and nonfiction titles that have appeared for the longest number of weeks. These are culled from the Times' list of combined print and e-book best sellers. The numbers next to the author's name indicate the book's position in the current best seller list, and the numbers in parentheses indicate the number of weeks each has appeared on the list. You may want to check some of these out.
Fiction
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Currently 7th (13 wks)
Inferno by Dan Brown. 10th (22 wks)
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks 11th (14 wks)
And the Mountains Echoed 13th (16 wks)
The Husband's Secret 14th (18 wks)
Ender's Game 15th (22 wks)

Nonfiction
Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard 2nd (13 wks)
David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, 3rd (12 wks)
Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand 13th (138 wks)
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg 15th (38wks)

See: www.JohnBirchLive.blogspot.com -- a growing collection of nearly 30 short stories, articles and essays.

BACKCHANNEL REPORT

Helium by Jaspreet Singh. Backchannel reports from a review that "the influence of Primo Levi and WG Sebald is strong in this richly intertextual novel exploring genocidal violence and the effects of the political on the personal." See http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/15/helium-jaspreet-singh-review .
Back Channel offers ideas about books in the coming year from The Guardian and draws attention to a review of a new Joyce Carol Oates novel, Carthage, which is priaised for how it portrays "the complex damage done to the fabric of a society by war – no matter how far away it is."  Finally, Backchannel also draws our attention to an article on Book Banning.


A PUBLISHING PROFESSIONAL SPEAKS

A student of mine had a conversation with an ex-editor at a major New York publisher. "He started by reminding me," says the student, "that publishing a hardcover is very expensive. The publishers make money from selling hardcovers. There is a large profit margin there. But now the sales of hardcovers are decreasing while Ebooks are coming on stronger each year. The publishers haven't figured out, he said, how to make money from Ebooks yet. The profit margin is ridiculously small. And because they don't make money from this source, they don't market the books. Therefore, it seems, according to him, that they are staying with authors who have big reputations and can be relied upon to sell. The number of new authors they take on is minimal. I asked him if that meant I was engaged in an exercise of futility, and he said probably 'yes.'  He also pointed out...that self-publishing on the net requires an enormous amount of personal marketing, and most Ebooks don't do well."

TO READ ONLINE

If you are considering self-publishing in e-book format, look at this article comparing two indie/self-publishing sites, Smashwords.com and Bookbaby.com.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS, NEWS, CONTESTS, WORKSHOPS, READINGS ETC.

There's a wonderful article about writer Norman Julian and lots more in the current issue of Goldenseal: West Virginia Traditional Life.
Alice Boatwright's Collateral Damage (reviewed Issue # 157) is now out as an ebook! For more on Alice Boatwright, go to http://fictionaut.com/users/alice-boatwright .
2014 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize–one submission, three possible awards! See their website at http://www.marshhawkpress.org/
An Afternoon of Poetry with Ed Davis– Ed Davis will read from his new full-length poetry collection TIME OF THE LIGHT (Main Street Rag Press) at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 26, 2014, Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Avenue, Oakwood, Ohio.
Looking for fiction submissions-- SOL Literary Magazine: English Writing in Mexico reports that it needs some fine fiction and/or flash fiction for the next issue, which will be online in March. Please click here to see past issues. If the submission rules look daunting, send your story directly to lynda.schor@gmail.com as a word attachment. Could be a story that takes place in Mexico, but not necessary.
Check out Savvy.com– news and services for writers.
Read the latest issue of the Saranac Review online at http://saranacreview.com/#sthash.y2vuoyd1.dpbs
A new magazine on global women's issues,  VALERIE, is a digital effort by two Columbia j-school alumnae. It launched November 1, 2013.  Read an article about it here. They are looking for appropriate non-fiction, memoir or travel writing. Write to Editors@valeriemag.com .
Don't forget to get on this list for regular notices about open submissions at various literary journals and presses: CRWROPPS-B@yahoogroups.com
If you are in Northern New Jersey, learn about regular, excellent, free programs and peer workshops, many at the Montclair Library and environs. To get the monthly announcements, send an e-mail request to Carl Selinger at selinger99@aol.com .


ABOUT AMAZON.COM
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 buy books online, I often go first to Bookfinder or Alibris. Bookfinder 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 source for used and out-of-print books is All Book Stores. Also consider 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, don't forget free books at the Gutenberg Project—mostly classics, but other things as well.
Kobobooks.com sells books for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores.

RESPONSES TO THIS NEWSLETTER

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

BACK ISSUES click here.

 

LICENSE

Creative Commons License Books for Readers Newsletter by Meredith Sue Willis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com. Some individual contributors may have other licenses.
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BACK ISSUES:

#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
#49    
Caucasia
#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
#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....
#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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