Monday, November 21, 2022

New Issue of Meredith Sue Willis's Books for Readers (#224) now online!


New Issue of  Meredith Sue Willis's

Reviews by Joe Chuman and Ed Davis; reviews of books by Valerie Nieman, E.M. Forster. Elmore Leonard, Erika Erickson Malinoski, Emily St. John Mandel, Nikole Hannah-Jones, John O'Hara, Tom Perrotta, Walter Tevis, Sarah Waters, and more!

Sunday, November 13, 2022





Do you have a favorite author? Are you a writer who wants to do a favor for other writers–and maybe they'll do a favor for you?   


Here's how:


• Write an Amazon review. Go to and search the book you recently (or a long time ago!) read. Click through to its Amazon catalog page. Scroll down below the ads and the editorial reviews and product details to Customer Reviews, and then scroll a little farther to REVIEW THIS BOOK.

• You don't have to have bought the book from Amazon.

• They may ask you to set up a reviewer's account. You only have to do it once, and you can stay anonymous if you choose or make up a handle.

• Give the book as many stars as you reasonably can. I rarely review books I can't give five. Inflated grades? For sure, but this is about publicizing books we enjoyed and admired.

• Write a review. Short is fine. In fact, short is probably better than long on Amazon. You can reuse the review on GoodReads and Barnes & Noble and anywhere else

• Don't use foul language. They won't publish a review if they don't like the words in it, and they can be heavy-handed. It's a 'bot "reading" the review, not a person.


You will be doing literature a favor, and all of us with books in print thank you in advance!


Saturday, September 17, 2022

Issue # 223 September 17, 2022 of Meredith Sue Willis's BOOKS FOR READERS

Now available at  Books for Readers Issue223 : reviews of books by Amor Towles, Emily St. John Mandel, Raymond Chandler, N.K. Jemisin, Andrew Holleran, Anita Diamant, Rainer Maria Rilke, and more, as well as notes and reviews by Joe Chuman, George Lies, Donna Meredith, and Rhonda Browning White. 

There is also a piece with MSW's thoughts on updating an older novel.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Irene Weinberger Books Publishes New Edition of LOVE PALACE!

 Irene Weinberger Books has just jublished a new. updated edition of my novel LOVE PALACE!

Buy it from or any of the usual online hardcopy suspects. It is also available as a Kindle book on Amazon , and for most e-reader formats at

If you buy the e-book from Smashwords, use code VF64S at checkout to buy for only $1.00!

One Five-Star Reviewer wrote:
Just finished reading this book on my iPhone via Kindle. It is written with such wit, and she brings her characters to life.... before you realize it you care about them and want to know what's next. Although a light read in many ways, the book is really about issues of the attraction of money, the role of sex and compromise, and control. The author has a wonderful way with with the English language, and her books should be a must for anyone who wants to write.ou buy the e-book from Smashwords, use code VF64S at checkout to buy for only $1.00!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Global Greening Sounds Better Than It Is!

  I am Facebook friends with an old high school classmate who is politically a Trumpist right wing Christian.  He has been a missionary in Africa, and is proud of his work there and his friends. Half the time he writes posts that are mini-sermons, advising prayer and self-examination.   Half the time he reposts essays from people like Gary Bauer and Lew Rockwell.  Sometimes he reposts jokes praising how families knew how to handle kids in the old days, and occasionally really ugly memes about democrats.
He and I go back and forth from time to time pretty politely.  Most recently he quoted a post about "global greening," a rightist idea based on the fact that indeed the vastly increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere does increase photosynthesis.  The problem is that this increased photosynthesis and increased oxygen no where near balance out the carbon dioxide.   
Barry challenged his Facebook friends to "research" the issue for themselves. I almost immediately found article a couple of years old in the New York Times and came up with  this:
The thrust of the article  is that Global Greening is real enough, but a minor factor in a complex situation. It says: "Despite global greening, carbon dioxide levels have climbed over the past two centuries to levels not seen on Earth for millions of years. And the carbon dioxide we’ve injected into the atmosphere is already having major impacts across the planet." Those major impacts almost certainly include more devastating fires in the West and more devastating floods like the ones in Eastern Kentucky.
The thing that scares me, along with global warming itself, is how my friend and so many others depend on these highly misleading and tendentious sources (I'm sure Barry would say, "So's the New York Times"). There is in many of the sources he uses a nugget of truth, some facts that they like to report with lots of statistics, but not the whole picture.

One of the best responses I ever saw to climate deniers who claim science on their side was John Oliver's Last Week Tonight piece from 2017 that made the point that a balanced presentation about climate change should have one scientist who questions climate change versus 97 who agree it is happening.
He makes his point hilariously by setting up a debate with two real scientists, a climate change denier and a climate change affirmer.  Then he brings in 96 more real live scientists to back up the affirmer. It's a wonderful visual explanation at

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Podcasts on Living Racial Equity and Integration

 For those of you interested in issues of racial equity, here are links to an ongoing podcast series about a New Jersey Integration organization I have been associated with since the nineteen nineties, The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race (

The first two podcasts can be found here:

The series, hosted by Rev. Liz Testa, is about one community's commitment to racial equity and integration, where people of different backgrounds are welcome and active in all aspects of civic life. Each interview is a candid conversation that dives deep into personal experiences and shines a light on the relentless work of the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race over the last quarter-century.
One of the podcasts features Maplewood, New Jersey native, singer Sza, and her mother Coalition Program Director Audrey Rowe!

South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race

Sunday, July 10, 2022


New Issue of Meredith Sue Willis's

Books for Readers #222

July 10, 2022


Reviews of Books by Octavia Butler, Elizabeth Gaskell, N.K. Jemisin, Joseph Lash, Alice Munro, Barbara Pym, Sally Rooney, and more.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

August Saturday One Day Workshop on Structuring the Long Prose Narrative


New Online Workshop
with Meredith Sue Willis

Saturday, August 13, 2022 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. by Zoom!

The Big Picture:
Structuring the Long Prose Narrative


$100.00 fee includes a critique by MSW
of up to 1,000 words from your project.


For information, click here.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Military Massacre Machines and Musket Loaders

One of the talking points I see repeatedly on Facebook and elsewhere is essentially the old "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument.  

These writers put the blame for the mass murders on bad moral values and mental illness.  Of course there will always be people who go out and kill other people.  They will kill in grocery stores and schools and churches.  

But if they are forced to do it with, say, musket loaders and machetes, fewer will die because those weapons are less efficient.  They were invented for hunting and chopping underbrush.  Getting military machines engineered for massacre off the street and out of people's closets and trucks will save lives.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022 Issue of Meredith Sue Willis's Books for Readers Newletter #221

Meredith Sue Willis's Books for Readers Newletter #221 now up at  Books for Readers or in its permanent location at #221

Reviews of books by Victor Serge, Greg Sanders, Maggie O'Farrell, Ken Champion, Barbara Hambly, Walter Mosely, Anne Roiphe, Anna Reid, Randall Balmer, Louis Auchincloss. 

Reviews by Joe Chuman and Chris Connelly

Monday, April 25, 2022

My Comments on DON'T LOOK UP

  We watched Don't Look Up, the Netflix original with a ton of excellent acting (DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep. Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Tyler Perry, Ron Perlman, Mark Ryland as a tech king--slightly autistic, totally megalomaniacal–all excellent and tiny parts for  our Shakespeare  Co. friends Annette Miller and Allyn Burrows, and apparently Tamara Hickey was in there somewhere too maybe on the cutting room floor).  Anyhow, the acting was excellent, the so-called production values fine, and the wit and sarcasm and jokes all really really funny.  And then, with Hollywood aarrogance and abandon, they just blew up the world.  There was an afterward with the wealthy survivors arriving on a perfect planet 22,000 years later, and a funny ending for the totally obnoxious president, Streep.  Apparently a nice bit after the credits too, said Andy, but I didn't wait around.

Anyway, the point is, I appreciated and enjoyed and giggled as I watched, but it left me with a bad taste.  When I first saw Dr. Strangelove all those years ago I was terrified, and this one was more obviously hokey-jokey (or I'm just more mature) but I am still critical of Hollywood's arrogance in just ending the world when they don't have any better ideas. I get it, point well taken:  Look, you jerks, it's real, we truly can see disaster coming at us and we're doing nothing. But it's going to come much slower, and they totally ignore, of course, Hollywood style, the people who are painstakingly, step by step, working on change.  I think the people who make it in Hollywood no longer or never even saw it: the people in organizations, medium level government jobs, in hospitals, labs, organizing vigils and demonstrations, installing solar panels, switching to more sustainable farming practices– so many of us out here doing more than going on media tours.  

Maybe that's what I didn't like most: that the only way to fight the Powers That Be, says  Hollywood, is to lean out a window and shout I'm mad and I'm not going to take it anymore, or, as in this one, just shout on a live t.v. show or go viral on social media, etc. Etc.  We're all going to die.  And then we all die.

There's actually so much more going on in the world.  I think Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower etc. gets it much better.  Or Cormac McCarthy's The Road.   If the world ends with a bang, it's over.  Far more likely will be the little struggles, as in Ukraine today, day by day, small decisions.

So, just to repeat, it was well done, it was funny, I'm glad the folks from Shakespeare & Company are getting some outside work.  Performances were hilarious.  Meryl Streep and her movie son Jonah Hill as a Trumpish family were really fun to watch.  But the message I don't like  is not so much It's hopeless, as the only people with any juice are the ones with media wattage– like us clear-headed movie makers.

Monday, March 07, 2022

March 7 Issue of Meredith Sue Willis's BOOKS FOR READERS #220

 Latest issue of Meredith Sue Willis's Books for Readers # 220 is now up at !  Reviews by Joe Chuman, Ed Davis, and Eli Asbury.  Books Reviewed by Sister Souljah, Margaret Atwood, Attica Locke, Jill LePore, Belinda Anderson,  Claire Oshetsky, Barbara Pym and more!

Sunday, January 23, 2022



Just Up! A New Issue of Books for Readers # 219! Ideas for Writers, Announcements, Good Online Reading--and lots of book recommendations: Carolina De Robertis, Charles Dickens, Thomas Fleming, Kendra James, Ashley Hope Perez, Terry Pratchett, Martha Wells and reviews by Joe Chuman and Danny Williams--and more!

Saturday, December 04, 2021

A New Issue of Books for Readers #218 Is Now Online !

 A New Issue of Books for Readers #218 is now Online !

Reviews of books by  Edwidge Danticat, Stephanie Dickinson, Barbara Kingsolver, Edward Myers, Tim O'Brien, Eyal Press, William Trevor, and more.

Reviews and recommendations by MSW, Joe Chuman, & Marc Harshman.