Meredith Sue Willis's
March 5, 2014
When possible, read online for updates and corrections.
In this Issue:
Main Article: Catherine the Great and Clara Barton
Short Takes: Edith Poor, Mitch Levenberg, Jane Shapiro, Melville, Munro, & More
A Word from the Sponsor
The E-Reader Report with John Birch
Rita Quillen's new book
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I like biographies best as an entry into history. It helps me to have a person to track through the thickets of event and war. Catherine the Great by Robert Massie, which I borrowed as an e-book from the library, took me into central Europe and Russia in the eighteenth century. Massie became a popular historian of the Romanov family of Russian royalty because his own child was a hemophiliac, and he started reading about the hemophiliac son of Nicholas and Alexandra.Catherine the Great strove to be an enlightened autocrat: half her life she struggled to hold a precarious place as the unloved wife of a psychological mess, the great nephew of Peter the Great. Often out of favor, she read and studied. Never able to have enough of a relationship with her husband to get pregnant, she finally had a son almost certainly with a lover. This, however, appears to have fulfilled the dynastic requirement.Then, when she was 33, she participated in a coup that overthrew her husband. He was quickly assassinated by her friends, although apparently not at her orders. She subsequently lived thirty some years as empress, trying to rule by convincing and building public agreement, yet always in the end turning to autocracy. She and Peter the Great (according the Massie) were the only really successful enlightened autocrats in Russia.Catherine was smart and well-read, and had diplomatic skills. She also started wars, raised her favorites to government positions and made them rich. She censored writers and anyone else she was afraid of-- especially after the French Revolution which terrified her and every other crowned head of Europe. Yet she abandoned torture as a method of getting information, and early in her reign made a serious but abortive effort to rewrite the laws of Russia along Enlightenment principles. This would have included the slow emancipation of the serfs. She may have been as good as it got in 18th century Russia, but it was never very good, at least not for those not born in the upper classes.Which is where most of us living today would have been.It was, by the way, Catherine who seized the Crimea from the Ottoman Empire-- Crimea of the Crimean War and the present crisis in the Ukraine.An extraordinary woman of a very different position in life was Clara Barton, whose given name was "Clarissa Harlowe" Barton, presumably after the heroine of the gargantuan novel by Samuel Richardson. I read A Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War by Stephen B. Oates with deep engagement. 2013 was the 150th birthday of my home state of West Virginia, split from Virginia during the Civil War, and one of the earliest historical books I ever read was about Andersonville, the horrific prison camp in Georgia where union prisoners of war were kept.What is best about Oates' book is first his focus on Barton's part in the war. He summarizes her other accomplishments (founding a school, breaking the gender barrier at the patent office in Washington, D.C., making a living on the lecture circuit, founding the American Red Cross and more), but mostly he writes about her struggles to participate in the war.He also makes a serious effort at portraying Barton's complexity. She went through major depressions and was not always easy to work with– she had major disagreements, for example, with Dorothea Dix, who organized nursing at large hospitals behind the lines of battle. Barton was a freelance during the war, giving succor to soldiers with shells falling around her. She was hugely brave, vastly energetic and enormously capable, and she was met with opposition at every turn by individuals, bureaucracy, and culture.She based her right to go into the war zone on being single yet having a large family, so she was not needed at home. Indeed, when her father was dying and later when her older brother and her nephew were ill, she stopped public work for months in order to nurse them. This, of course, was how nineteenth century women learned nursing, and where their first allegiance was supposed to lie.At the age of nearly 40, she determined that she was going to be a part of the union effort in the Civil War. She wrote appeals, she collected supplies--and finally broke through her own scruples about women's role as well as official opposition and went to the battlefields: She was at Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and others, almost always working under fire
I said she overcame great opposition, but she also never lacked friends and admirers in government. She was also hugely popular among the rank-and-file, and for a whole generation man named their daughters after her. She went through periods of round-the-clock nursing and cooking and letter writing for the soldiers, then periods of inaction, depression, and sometimes near-paranoia. She spent four years at the great eastern theater battles, and also on the sea islands outside Charleston SC where she witnessed the brutal charge of the first "colored" regiment, the Massachusetts 54th, as it charged in what was essentially a suicide mission. Admiring these heroic fighters and getting to know other men and women, she became increasingly less racist and more abolitionist. When the war was over, she began systematizing the efforts of families to find missing soldiers. Her final war project was to get names on the graves at the notorious Andersonville.
Clara Barton made up her life's work as she went along, and witnessed and wrote about things that still freeze your mind: the amputations and the dysentery and malaria that killed more of the soldiers than battle. I can only admire how Oates used his historian's tools to bring me this foray into the Civil War following the trail of a great woman.
Meredith Sue Willis
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Voicework By Edith PoorThis is a small book, now available as an e-book, that works like a Montaigne essai,alternating short passages of quotation with the author's deeper examinations and arguments. Edith Poor looks at traditional perceptions of women's and men's voices, carefully delineating what is physiological from the cultural and psychological. She shows us how perceptions have shaped our public speaking and, in the case of many women in leadership positions, kept them from reaching their potential. In too many situations, the "masculine" style of speaking remains the ideal, even if women are the speakers. Edith Poor suggests that we can all– men and women– expand the range of our voices and make them more flexible for communicating what is important to us. She also suggests that we would do well to expand our hearing skills as well.
Write Something by Mitch LevenbergThis is a surprisingly engaging trip into the life and mind of a Brooklyn writer, particularly his public readings and his relationship to the other readers, the audience, and to his own stories. He calls the pieces, in his introduction, a collection of short essays, and they come mostly from his blog (http://mitchlevenberg.com/blog/).
The truth is that I don't usually read prose about writing and the writing process: it's what I do and what I teach, so I like to read about cooks and bricklayers, or just about everything except writers. But this one is delightfully different, and I can't exactly say why. Partly it's that even though it appears on the surface to be self-referential (it's a writer writing about times he has read his writing), the sensation is of a deep sharp tunnel into a special world. There are hilarious passages about the other readers, who arrive late, spend too long flipping through their manuscripts, and the audiences who don't respond to a story that other audiences have always responded to. There are foods eaten and drinks drunk, and the delightful honesty of how the writer is sometimes moved by his own writing– and why shouldn't he be? If he isn't moved, how on earth could we be? Anyhow, Mitch Levenberg is clearly someone who can take absolutely anything his eye lights on and make that thing light up.
Small, sharp, and wonderful. An e-book only, so far.
Here's my review of Levenberg's short story collection in Principles of Uncertainty and Other Constants in Issue # 150.
Dear Life By Alice Munro
I don't feel much need to praise Alice Munro. She just won the freaking Nobel Prize.
I read this collection over a number of months, and I intend to reread a couple of the stories just to learn from her incredible ability to move a story from here to there and give the delight of surprise.
The book seems structured more or less from young main characters to older ones, and I liked the aged stories best. One, a nightmare of dementia, is called "In Sight of the Lake," a real chiller, at least once you are old enough to start imagining losing your mind. Another, "Dolly," also an aging story, is about a long time couple and a resurgence of jealousy and a slight resettling of the rules of engagement. Both brilliant.
Benito Cereno by Herman Melville
This was pretty neat: as usual with Melville in my experience, you have to get over the slow, tedious listings of names and information and documents-- probably fake but in this case based on a real incident. The novel works by having a rather naive point-of-view character tell most of the story. He is faintly uncomfortable with what's going on around him, but forces himself to ignore his discomfort.
And of course the real story is exactly what is under the surface.
It was published a few years after Uncle Tom's Cabin, but still pre-civil war, and it has always caused controversy over whether it was pro-slavery and/or anti-black-- or actually abolitionist. There is a powerful cultural racism at work-- but Melville isn't unaware of this as his rebelling slaves depend totally on the belief of those they interact with that they are incapable of what they've done.
Nothing is ever said explicitly in the rebelling slaves' defense– no monologue on the gibbet, no hint of the enormous despair they must have felt– yet the novella ends not with the first narrator, and not with the eponymous Benito Cereno, but with the slave revolt ringleader Babo, who, once caught-- after a constant, articulate running of the show, pulling the strings, asking the questions through Benito Cereno's mouth, signalling the other ex-slaves– clams up and refuses to speak again. He is silent on the gibbet, and his head is put on a stake and displayed, also in silence.
Ending with him was an exquisite narrative choice.
The Dangerous Husband By Jane ShapiroThis is a hyperbolic tale of mutual assured destruction in a marriage: the klutz husband expanded and expounded to the nth degree. He kills pets inadvertently, breaks the narrator's toe and arm. She plans to have him assassinated but it doesn't quite work out. She tries to run away from him and fails. It has some sketchy plot points (like how does she find that hit man?) but it is unlike anything else I've ever read.
I read it soon after pushing the Sisyphean boulder of Underworld up the hill, so the narrative momentum alone was a great pleasure. Part of the fun of the novel is its incredibly claustrophobic world of Brooklyn brownstones where everyone is a writer or other creative type– even the hit man only lives as far from their Brooklyn Heights place as Park Slope, and he's a novelist too. For more, here's the New York Times review.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt VonnegutA much shorter novel than I remembered, and I had also forgotten how much it was science fiction. It was a favorite novel of the nineteen sixties, not nearly as popular now. The best parts are the parts to me are the ones that were closest to Vonnegut's actual experience as a prisoner of war during the fire bombing of Dresden. All the meta stuff where he plays with "that was me," setting himself up as one of the prisoners of war, part of the frame story but also part of the protagonist Billy Pilgrim's story– all that seemed to work extremely well. Given the horrors Vonnegut experienced personally, the meta fiction indirection seems eminently reasonable. And he does set up some lovely characters, Billy Pilgrim sweet and passive everyman, Kilgore Trout the failed commercial science fiction writer, etc. Nasty little Paul Lazarro with revenge on his mind– many many good characters, and all the horror of the randomness of war is imitated nicely.
But then come the Tralfamadorians (and I see on Wikipedia that their planet reappears in Vonnegut books but with different details each time) shaped like plumber's helpers. Then comes the wet dream of Billy Pilgrim caged with a gorgeous actress and asked to mate with her– all that feels a little silly, as if he didn't work very hard. I think that mix of of real and crazy and lazy may be what delighted a certain generation of young people.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben FountainThis novel has an interesting premise: a group of war heroes, the Bravos, get a celebration before being whisked back to fight and probably die in Iraq. The satire is heavy handed (I'm sure it was meant to be), and also it seems to be skewering the same thing over and over. The novel has a well drawn "present time"-- the day of a big Cowboys football game, with full flashbacks to protagonist Billy Lynn's visit to his family. All the war material is done as bits and pieces of memories. It is the novelist's reconstruction of how war is remembered by one poor schmoo-- and it seems to work pretty well. There is a slipping and sliding around who is telling the story: is it Billy (19 and someone who barely made it out of high school), or is it the implied author with elaborate imagery and deep understanding of what is happening? It's a trick that allows the author to go full tilt with all his skills. It's his conscious choice, and a case can be made that it's just fine, but I felt a little manipulated by it: it makes Billy feel smarter and wiser than the other Bravos (let alone all the venal publicity people and top brass of the Dallas Cowboys). It makes him a brilliant prize winning writer, in fact. On the other hand– it's entertaining, and sure makes this hillbilly want to stay the heck out of Texas.
Recently, Sony has announced that it's retreating from its US e-book business, and has inked a deal for a handover to Kobo, a big international Japanese company that has 18 million customers, and access to 4 million e-books. And now there's another barely noticeable development – the fact that public libraries now have many, many more e-books available on loan. The website PublicLibraries.org reports "massive growth in e-book checkouts," adding that the number of e-books loaned by public libraries is growing by at least 100% every year. It remains to be seen how this increased availability of free e-books from public libraries will affect the sales of even Amazon, Kobo and their ilk..
See: www.JohnBirchLive.blogspot.com -- a growing collection of nearly 30 short stories, articles and essays. Most recent is a poem about a ten year old boy living in Kent in England when the German bombers were crossing over on their way to London.
Backchannel notes an article on books about the first World War, which has the centennial of its beginning this year.
Laura Treacy Bentley features writers on her excellent blog. The current one has wonderful Cat Pleska. Here's a 2011 photo of me, Lee Maynard, and Cat when she was the president of West Virginia Writers.
Phyllis Moore suggests an article online in The New Yorker where Jon Michaud discovers Breece Pancake.
A funny-sad cartoon blog called Depression Part Two: It begins: "I remember being endlessly entertained by the adventures of my toys. Some days they died repeated, violent deaths, other days they traveled to space or discussed my swim lessons.... "
Singapore Poetry is a site about all things Singaporean, run by a Singapore poet living in New York. It is called "a curated gallery of poetry by Singaporeans, and of all things poetic about Singapore....Though the spotlight is on Singapore poetry, this website will also showcase all things poetic about Singapore," says Jee Leong Koh, defining poetic s not just "beautiful or lyrical... [but] some quality that cannot be measured in economic terms, but is pursued for its own sake. These other forms of poetry may be found in the performing and fine arts, music, film, design, landscape, people and, yes, food. Singapore Poetry is especially interested in news of doings, happenings, and beings that travel off the beaten track, fly under the radar, and break new ground. Things not already supported by government agencies or public institutions."
Barbara Crooker's Zen bird poem from Little Pauxtent Review. Also see her "Ode to Chocolate" at http://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/2014/02/12/8-chocolate-poems-love-chocolate/ (it's the last of seven).
For fun: Laren Stover has a recent piece in the Times on the new new corset-wearers: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/fashion/Sarah-A-Chrisman-wears-a-corset-for-a-year-and-writes-a-book.html?_r=0
Check out Long Reads at http://www.longreads.com/
Carter Seaton's new book is Hippie Homesteaders about the "come-here's" who chose to move to West Virgnia. There is information at her website at http://www.carterseaton.com/ and on the publisher's website at http://wvupressonline.com/node/510#4 Hippie Homesteaders . See her at West Virginia's arts center Tamarack on April 6: http://www.carterseaton.com/pages/news.html#Tamarack .
New issue of the Marsh Hawk Review .
Rita Quillen's historical novel HIDING EZRA, inspired by a true story from the life of her husband’s grandfather and set in Scott County, VA, is just out from Little Creek Books. Samples and information at www.ritasimsquillen.com. Order paperback or the Kindle version here:http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_11?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=hiding+ezra&sprefix=hiding+ezra%2Caps%2C359. Barnes & Noble here:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/hiding-ezra?keyword=hiding+ezra&store=book . Or, if you'd like to win a free copy, try Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/82380-hiding-ezra . Finally, if you "Like" Rita's Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/ritaquillenhidingezra , she'll be giving away 1 free book for every 100 LIKES the page gets.
Now available as an e-book: Keith Maillard's Alex Driving South.
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee has chosen Linda Elovitz Marshall's The Passover Lamb (Random House, 2013) as a Notable Book in the Younger Readers category for 2014!
Hour of Writes is conducting some research for a series of articles about creative writing, and how people relate creative writing practice to their private, work and social lives. Much of the material for these pieces comes from a big survey they're conducting. They're looking for participants (they say it's anonymous): https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HourOfWritesWriters001 .
Don't forget 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 email@example.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 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 other things as well.
Kobobooks.com sells books for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores.
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"I hereby release my Goodreads review under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License." -- Joel Weinberger
#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