Category Archives: Meredith Sue Willis

Uncle Terry’s Gift Ideas from WV Authors List 2015

Nigh on a decade ago, Terry McNemar, our former president who recently passed away, began an annual gift guide for books by West Virginia authors.  The last time we ran one on this blog, however, was 2011.  With his passing this year, we felt it was time to re-institute this annual tradition in his honor.  And as such, it's only fitting that Terry's books are #1 and #2 on the list.

So while you’re doing your holiday shopping, don’t forget to support these WV Writer, Inc. authors. And don’t forget to stop at your local bookstores: Tamarack, Taylor Books in Charleston, Empire Books & News in Huntington, the Open Book in Lewisburg, Four Seasons Books in Shepherdstown, Vandalia Press, Main Line Books in Elkins, …to name just a few.  Those are great places where you might find these books!

If you are a member of West Virginia Writers and your book is not listed here, please send it in immediately and we will get you added to the list.  Send those to wvwriterssecretary@gmail.com.  You may also send links to your own website.  We'll be happy to post them as well.

Thanks.

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Meredith Sue Willis ebook exclusive

Foreverland Press Presents
Love Palace
by Meredith Sue Willis
Now available for your Nook, Kindle, Kobo, IPad, and More
Any E-book format $4.99
Check it out at Foreverland Press:
http://t.ymlp332.net/bumbaxaueqywacauehazahy/click.php
MSW's first E-Book Only Publication

               

The narrator of Meredith Sue Willis’s 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.

Buy from Foreverland Press or here.

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Books for Readers Issue #142

Meredith Sue Willis's enewsletter Books for Readers issue #142 is now available. I tried to pipe it over into this website, but really it's best to read at her website. Find the issue HERE.

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Meredith Sue Willis’s Books for Readers #138

Meredith Sue Willis's BOOKS FOR READERS Newsletter # 138 January 21, 2011

This is better on the Web– at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html. Images! Links! Colors! If you want to link to this newsletter, please use this permanent link : http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive136-140.html#138.

Meredith Sue Willis's
Books for Readers # 138
January 21, 2011

Special Extra -- Article for Writers
On Doing Your Own Publicity

Dear Readers:
This is a special issue with some announcements and a couple of book discussions, but the main article is by writer and artist Carter Taylor Seaton about how she did publicity for her book. It has become a commonplace that whether you publish with a small press, self-publish or even publish with a huge commercial congolomerate, you are now often asked for a "platform" on how you intend to publicize your work– and then you are asked to publicize it, often at your own expense. Grim news for us introverted types-- but Carter has some specific suggestions.
-- MSW

Doing Your Own Publicity
By Carter Taylor Seaton

As the old cliché goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Just so, there's more than one way to market your book. If you've got a big enough name or deep enough pockets, either your publisher or the publicist you pay the big bucks will set up a book tour where folks will flock to see and hear you and, of course, buy piles of books for you to sign.
However, if you are new at the game, or have a small press that recognized your talents and published your book, you are most likely going to be doing the marketing yourself. That's the position in which I found myself several years ago, when Mid-Atlantic Highland Press published my debut novel.
Fortunately, I'd had nearly thirty years of marketing experience by then, and knew a few things that helped. First, I drew up a marketing plan, outlining what the publisher was willing and had the expertise to do, along with what I could do. His role was to create and distribute press kits to retailers and libraries, to secure reviews where he could, and to get the book on the inventory list of the distributors. I positioned myself to speak at every civic and social club, book club, retirement home, or college classroom in the region.
That plan is standard fare, however. My twist? I sent a letter prior to publication to a personal mailing list of over six hundred people offering them an opportunity to buy – at a pre-publication discount price – a numbered and signed copy of the book. These were individuals to whom I could safely address a letter saying, Dear John or Mary – folks I knew personally. Jokingly, I told them as one of my six hundred nearest and dearest friends they alone could take advantage of this golden opportunity. Over 250 people bought the book before a drop of ink had been applied to paper. That's more than a forty percent return on the offer – which in any marketer's book, is remarkable.

Carter Taylor Seaton is a free-lance writer living in Huntington, West Virginia. Her work has appeared in regional and statewide magazines in West Virginia and Kentucky, and in anthologies and literary journals. Her debut novel, FATHER'S TROUBLES, published in 2003 was a finalist for ForeWord Magazines Book of the Year awards in 2003. Her essay on West Virginia's back-to-the-land artisans, "Those Who Came," won a Denny C. Plattner award in 2007. She recently completed a second novel.

A COUPLE OF BOOKS

Monique Raphel High says, "Katie (Catherine) Gates is the author of a moving novel, THE SOMEBODY WHO, which is available from Amazon. It's a superb depiction of a middle-aged woman dealing with the care of her beloved husband who has been devastated by Alzheimer's. Some of you on this site are struggling with Evelyn's (the character's) dilemma; the book will nurture you. For others, it will be an engrossing read, especially now, by the fire or under the quilt."

Joel Weinberger says of ANIMAL LIBERATION by Peter Singer: " ANIMAL LIBERATION asks, and attempts to answer, several extraordinarily important moral questions that we often take for granted. Namely, should we care about how animals are treated, and if so, to what extent? Singer ultimately believes that human civilization cannot justify suffering caused to animals, for eating, for research, nor any other purpose.
"Singer starts with an argument that our worldview reinforces 'speciesism,' a prejudice akin to racism and sexism. His argument is strong enough, if your moral framework does not explicitly define human relationships with the world. For example, his argument against 'speciesism' falls flat against a Christian or Jewish ethical framework that explicitly defines humans as a separate category from animals, in a moral sense. Singer talks about this explicitly in a later chapter, pretty much admitting that his moral case for 'speciesism' conflicts with at least traditional Christian and Jewish morality. However, even in these cases, his general point about the suffering stands. Even if you don't believe that humans should be completely morally barred from causing animal suffering, his case stands strong that you should at least minimize it.
"While the moral framework Singer provides may be the most radical part of his book, his exposé of animal treatment on factory farms and in research is ... well known and important. Two very large sections of the book discuss how the industrialized and 'civilized' Western world directly lead to inordinate amounts of animal suffering, specifically in research and factory farming. These sections really push home the point that our everyday consumption of food and products directly tie into the tremendous suffering of animals around the world.
"In some sense, Peter Singer is ultimately a utilitarian. He believes that we should feel free to act as we please as long as the utility gained outweighs the utility cost. However, Singer counts the suffering of animals as a much greater utility cost than humanity traditionally has. Thus, while he believes an experiment on animals that causes suffering can, in fact, be justified, it would have to be one hell of a result, and should only be done if there wasn't an alternative that would have been pain free. Moreover, he believes that if you are willing to test on a monkey, for example, you should also be willing to test on a retarded, orphaned, infant, as he sees the potential suffering to that child equal to, if not less than, the monkey's suffering. Ultimately, the practical ramification of this outlook is that these types of evaluations are much too difficult, and we just should not cause suffering to animals of any sort.
"There are numerous holes in Singer's presentation. For example, in his presentation of animal experiments, he constantly asserts that the results from the experiments he presents are useless. However, he provides virtually no evidence of this. Furthermore, he fails to show that generally the results from animal experiments are not useful or could be replicated in other ways. In some sense, this really isn't important to his argument; Singer says we basically shouldn't be doing these experiments even if there is a benefit to us. But then again, he is trying to make the utilitarian argument that our experiments are not worth the cost.
"Perhaps most surprisingly, and most gratifyingly, is that Singer ultimately proposes a practical 'do what you can' approach. He certainly calls for a vegetarian diet (it turns out to really be a vegan diet), but he also makes it clear that anything you can do to reduce animal suffering is certainly better than the status quo.
"Overall, however, Singer's book is a radical departure from our standard thought in the most positive sense. He makes us question our unflinching belief that we, as humans, have the 'right' to cause animal suffering for our benefit and gratification. Singer's book is incredibly thought out and well researched. If you have ever doubted your consumption of meat or how our civilization treats animals, this is a must read. At the very least, if you can defend your meat consumption after reading this book, you are in very good shape. I certainly have begun to question my own habits deeply."

(Also see Joel Weinberger's piece in Issue #137 on Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals.)

ONLINE AND ON THE AIR

Need a laugh? Try BO's Café Life at www.boscafelife.com.

Poems Newly Online by Barbara Crooker:
http://www.wordgathering.com/issue16/poetry/crooker.html
http://www.ravennapress.com/alba/issue_21/crooker.html
http://champaign-taste.blogspot.com/2010/11/food-poetry-15-gravy-and-meditation-on.html
http://www.valpo.edu/cresset/2010/Michaelmas/Crooker_M10.html

ESTABLISHED POETRY MAGAZINE NEEDS NEW OWNERSHIP!

JUANITA TORRENCE-THOMPSON, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher/Owner of the Internationally acclaimed MOBIUS, THE POETRY MAGAZINE is seeking a GROUP of poets and/or editors or a COLLEGE or individual to purchase and publish her 28-year old print magazine. www.mobiuspoetry.com Contact her at: mobiusmag@earthlink.net

A READING GROUP'S CHOICES FOR 2011

Some friends of mine in the South Orange/Maplewood, New Jersey area have a reading group called "Women Reading Women." They celebrated their 16th anniversary in December, 2010. They sometimes have theme parties, and always make interesting choices (okay, they've chosen my books at least three times!). Here are their choices for 2011, including a play in February, which they'll see as well as read:

January: YOUR BLUES AIN'T LIKE MINE by Bebe Moore Campbell
February: THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES
March: CLEOPATRA: A LIFE by Stacy Schiff
April: OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS by Meredith Sue Willis
May: IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot
June: HISTORY OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss
July: THE BELL by Iris Murdoch
August: GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
September: EVIDENCE OF LIFE UNSEEN by Marianne Wiggins
October: JUST KIDS by Patti Smith
November: PASSING by Nella Larsen

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS

Holly Iglesias's new collection of poetry ANGLES OF APPROACH is just out from White Pine Press.

2011 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize Submission deadline: April 30, 2011 See http://www.marshhawkpress.org/ Submit a manuscript of 48-84pages of original poetry in any style in English. The manuscript must not have been published previously in book form, although individual poems appearing in print or on the web are permitted. Entries may consist of individual poems, a book-length poem, or any combination of long or short poems. Collaborations are welcome. Alicia Ostriker to Judge 8th Annual Contest

Make sure to read the exciting Winter Issue of Persimmon Tree at http://www.persimmontree.org. You'll find a thought-provoking conversation with Maxine Hong Kingston and Susan Griffin, fiction by Carol Bergman and Deborah Shouse, poetry by Sandra Gilbert, and much more. We're accepting submissions now for our next SHORT TAKES contest. (Check out the guidelines by clicking here and scrolling down.) This section has proven to be one of our most popular, so consider sending us a short piece; winners will be published in the upcoming Summer '11 Issue. The subject this time is "Taking a Stand."

Thad Rutkowski's new book HAYWIRE: A NOVEL is available from Starcherone Press at http://www.starcherone.com/thad.html .

Victor Depta's new book is BROTHER AND SISTER: A MEMOIR from Blair Mountain Press, which has a new website: http://www. blairmtp.net.

SOME SUGGESTIONS FROM PHYLLIS MOORE

Phyllis Moore recommends a couple of good books set in West Virginia:

The MOUSE HUNTER, by Gaynelle Malesky. "This is a charming memoir about growing up in Marion County."
THE LEGEND OF MAMMY JANE by Sibyl Jarvis Pischke. "A grad student at WVU suggested this title to me and I found it to be full of interesting facts about the era surrounding the Civil War. I enjoyed it. The Jarvis family still lives in this [West Virginia] area, but Ms. Pischke lives in Florida now."
THE CHIMNEY SISTERS by Joyce Williams & Saundra Ours: " These two authors are from Harrison County and it is a fun novel to read."

ABOUT AMAZON.COM

The largest unionized bookstore in America is Powell's Books (http://www.powells.com). Some people prefer shopping there to shopping at Amazon.com. An alternative way to reach their site and support the union is via http://www.powellsunion.com. Prices are the same but 10% of your purchase will go directly to the [Powell's bookstore] union's benefit fund. For a discussion about Amazon and organized labor and small presses, see the comments of Jonathan Greene and others in Issues #98 (bfrarchive96-100.html#97) and #97 (bfrarchive96-100.html#98).

WHERE TO FIND BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS NEWSLETTER

If a book discussed in this newsletter has no source mentioned, try your public library or your local independent bookstore. To buy books online, I often use Bookfinder at http://www.bookfinder.com or Alibis at http://www.alibris.com. 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 to deal with the unionized bricks-and-mortar bookstore Powells online at http://powellsbooks.com .

Other good sources for used and out-of-print books include Advanced Book Exchange at http://www.abebooks.com and All Book Stores at http://www.allbookstores.com.

My latest way to get used books is through Paperback Book Swap at http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php, a low cost (postage only) way to get rid of books and get new ones.

RESPONSES TO THIS NEWSLETTER
Please send responses and suggestions to Meredith Sue Willis at MeredithSueWillis@gmail.com. Unless you instruct otherwise, your responses may be edited silently for length, polished for grammar and spelling, and published in this newsletter.

TO READ BACK ISSUES OF THIS NEWSLETTER:
Go to http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html.

BOOKS FOR READERS is a free, independent newsletter written and produced by Meredith
Sue Willis. For a free email subscription, go here: http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html#newslettersignup

MEREDITH SUE WILLIS'S 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. To subscribe and unsubscribe, use the form below. This means that you may quote or otherwise use the work here as long as it is attributed to the writer.

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Meredith Sue Willis’s Books for Readers #137

Newsletter # 137

Read this online at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html. Images! Links! Colors! If you want to link to this newsletter, please use this permanent link : http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive136-140.html#137.

● Final call for my January Online Class "Strategies to Write Your Novel." The class is almost full. For information, see http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/mswclasses.html#information

● Writers: Submissions for THE HAMILTON STONE REVIEW winter issue #23 are now open. See the details at http://www.hamiltonstone.org/hsr.html#submissions

● For those of you doing last minute gift shopping, consider the wealth of small press books that may delight and interest people on your list. Take a look, for starters, at my Gift Books list at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/giftbooks.html

Let me begin this issue with an excellent new novel, THE CHIEU HOI SALOON by Michael Harris. This is part of PM Press's Switchblade series ( "a different slice of hard-boiled fiction where the dreamers and the schemers, the dispossessed and the damned, and the hobos and the rebels tango at the edge of society").

The setting is the seamy side of Long Beach, California, during year of the Rodney King beating and subsequent trials and riots. The protagonist is Harry Hudson, a chronic stutterer who works at a fictional newspaper called the CLARION as a copy editor. He is barely keeping his job, living in what he calls a "blur," trying not to remember the death of an old villager when he was a soldier in Vietnam and the death of his small daughter much more recently. He does try to remember to send child support to his ex-wife and surviving child. When he is feeling particularly self-destructive, he goes to dives where people watch low quality pornographic movies and variously have sex with strangers and themselves. The good part of Harry's life is Mama Thuy's Chieu Hoi Saloon where he feels a modicum of belonging, and in his free time he tries to help a local prostitute with an extended dysfunctional and violent family.

Now here's the thing: what I've described so far is how the book gets labeled noir, but Harry is at rock bottom, a lover and care-taker. It is Harry's story, but Michael Harris gives the women in Harry's life occasional point of view passages, notably the tough but tender Mama Thuy and Kelly the Kansas born African-American prostitute who always needs money. Even Harry's religious zealot of a wife gets a passage that dips into her consciousness. All of these women, even his ex in her section, value, admire, and forgive Harry. If only Harry could forgive himself, which is the monumental task before him.

Harry's adventures take place mostly on dark streets and in crummy rooms in rough neighborhoods and include being shot in a hold-up and taking a bizarre but bizarrely believable drive with an armed enemy in the back seat of his car. These elements– the scene, the slimy sex, the casual violence– are what makes the novel part of the Switchblade series, but while the story has hard edges, it isn't really hard-boiled, not even heart-of-gold hard-boiled. Most of the evil (except for the plans of very distant, very rich newspaper owners) is as much situational and mistaken as it is intentional. Most of the people are in one degree or another understandable if not lovable, from the motley crew at the bar to Kelly and her incarcerated husband, her quarrelsome sister-in-law and niece, her ex-con brother, and her dangerous step-son.
Everyone uses Harry, but also appreciates him as a friend– this is true of Kelly, and also of Mama Thuy, who accepts his money to bring her family out of Vietnam to California. Harry wants to be loved and maybe married, but instead is a friend, maybe a more valuable relationship to most women than husband or lover.

Above all, Harry is worth reading about and feeling for. It's a good book, engrossing and– even if the end is not exactly upbeat– all the doors are open.

Next, I want to recommend a nonfiction book that wasn't as good as I'd hoped, but was still pretty darn fascinating: THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN: A TALE OF MURDER, INSANITY, AND THE MAKING OF THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY by Simon Winchester. There are a few too many instances of Winchester eating his narrative cake and having it too. For example, he tells an apocryphal tale of how Professor James Murray met Dr. W.C. Minor without knowing that he was in an institution for the criminally insane. In fact, Murray learned this in a much less dramatic way. Wincester tells the real, less thrilling version much later in the book. Unfortunately, if you only read the first part of the book, you'd go away with the wrong information.

Less egregious is his lurid narration of the murder that got W.C. Minor in the insane asylum in the first place. The London fog and darkness is well-described and evocative, but, again, it's written for maximum dramatic effect. What I liked best was the lively description of how the OED was developed; what a monumental task it was– and how it was in some ways a proto-Wikipedia; for the story of poor Dr. Minor and his work on the OED and his insanity. It's such a sad story: his crazy crime, his time as a Civil War surgeon (he was an American), his pathetic self-mutilation late in life. To see more of Winchester's broad reach of nonfiction books, go to his website book page at http://simonwinchester.com/category/books/.

I also read with great pleasure (thank you Connie Brosi for the recommendation!) FOLLOW THE RIVER by James Alexander Thom. This is an historical novel of the amazing true adventure of Mary Draper Ingles, who was captured by Shawnees, escaped, and walked hundreds of miles home through the Appalachian mountains in early winter through incredible difficulties. She has a companion, too, a crazy, hungry Dutch woman, who adds a kind of twisted humor and interesting human relationship to the amazing physical challenges. Thom does the physical challenges extremely well. He treats Ingles as an ordinary human being bent on survival, and his respect for her has just the right tone. He writes of the horror from the white settlers' point of view at the scalping and murder by the raiding Shawnees, but also presents the Shawnee villages as complex communities, and even allows Mary a moment of considering accepting her captor, known as Captain Wildcat, as a husband.

When Mary chooses to run away and go home, she has to leave three children behind. The afterword of the novel tells about how one of her sons is eventually returned to the white world, but has an ambivalent relationship with it, and often returns to the Shawnee world.

I hope to read more of Thom's books (see his website at http://www.jamesalexanderthom.com/#anchor_43), and the work of his wife Dark Rain Thom, a voting member of the council of the East of the River Shawnee of Ohio.

Finally, to stick with the old fashioned delight of tales well told, I have a new guilty addiction: the George R.R. Martin swords and sorcery series, FIRE AND ICE, starting with GAME OF THRONES. Boy, was this fun, and now about to become a series on HBO. It isn't the kind of serious fiction I aspire to write myself (although when I enjoy it so much, I sometimes ask myself why it isn't), and I couldn't read only this kind of book with its portentous hints of dark deeds past and darker deeds to come, with its beheadings and sword play, but it is fun fun fun. Part of what makes it work for me is that Martin, like James Alexander Thom, is willing to grant his women agency and power. There's one charming girl character who is even a fighter, and a couple of armored warriors who are women as well as leaders. Another really good character is a dwarf known as the Imp who is a member of the bad royal family, but clever and humorous, and probably the most consistently reasonable voice in the book. I like some of the point-of-view characters more than others– the Imp and the fighter girl are my favorites– and I admit to speeding up over the whack thwack and sickening crunch of the battle scenes. One thing Martin does so well is the sorcery element– the dragons and secret magic– which are dealt with sparingly, which is fine with me, as my complaint in novels with magic is always that the writers tend to use magic or the arrival of the good dragons from the sky to solve plot problems they couldn't resolve otherwise. So far, Martin is doing it all right.

– Meredith Sue Willis

JOEL WEINBERGER ON JONATHAN SAFRANFOER's EATING ANIMALS.

Foer explicitly is "not trying to make you a vegetarian." He's lying; this is exactly what he's trying to do. In fairness, it is really about "better options" when eating animals, but by the end, it's quite clear what he thinks (and wants you to think) about "the best options" for eating meat. (Here's a hint: he's not in favor of them). Just to be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with this approach, you just should be aware of what you're getting yourself into.

The book itself is solid, albeit heavy handed at points and missing critical arguments at times. For example, Foer makes a great deal of not-so-subtle argument by adjective, referring to the "Frakenstein genetic makeup" of factory-farmed chickens. He also fails to fully address several important questions, like why we have factory farming in the first place. Waving it off as merely a result of a drive for profit, he fails to point out that it is part of a greater movement towards factory farming that has greatly increased the worlds' food stores and in large part staved off food shortages.

That having been said, Foer paints a powerful portrait of exactly what goes into your meat. He is most successful when he sticks to simply describing the facts of factory farming: for the animals involved, for the environment, and for us, the humans (Spoiler alert: it isn't good for any of them). If you have a strong sense of supporting moral and ethical behavior, this is an important read in understanding exactly what goes into that chicken wing you're about to eat.

The inevitable comparrison is to Michael Pollan's magnificent "The Omnivore's Dilemna." Let's cut to the chase: "Eating Animals" is not as good. Pollan does a much better job of not trying to appeal to emotion, and he at least *tries* to give a half-hearted defense of why factory farming is here. That having been said, Foer takes many of Pollan's arugments and applies them more fully to animal farming. At the very least, Foer makes you wonder about your meat consumption.

If you have an interst in where your meat comes from, this is a must read. Just know what it is before you start reading it.

SHORT TAKES

Jane Lazarre says: "Not only was the Oz memoir (A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS see Issue # 136 http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive136-140.html#136) one of the most wonderful books I have read, and I use it often for many reasons - writing and teaching, but the new novel by David Grossman TO THE END OF THE LAND is the best novel I have read in years - moving, beautiful, layered, complex. I also recommend FRIENDLY FIRE, and THE LIBERATED BRIDE, both by A.B. Yeshoshua, along with Oz and Grossman-- all three Israelis - very highly."

Monique Raphel High writes, "Hallie Ephron has a new mystery novel: COME AND GET ME. Her first one, NEVER TELL A LIE, was so compelling and such a page-turner that we should all rush off to buy it! There was also a delightful piece by her sister Nora in the New Yorker a few weeks ago that mentioned Hallie and her sisters."

Jeffrey Sokolow recommends A CURABLE ROMANTIC by Joseph Skibell (Algonquin Books, 2010). "In this sprawling and magical novel, which begins in Vienna in 1895 and ends in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, the protagonist has strange encounters with three well-known historic personages – Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis; Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof (aka Doktor Esperanto), inventor of the 'universal language' Esperanto; and the Hasidic rebbe of Warsaw, Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira – along with a love-sick but vindictive dybbuk (in Jewish folklore, the spirit of a dead person who possesses the body of the living) who has pursued the protagonist through an unending series of lifetimes and several not-quite-so-angelic angels. I couldn't put it down, but was sorry to finish it because I wanted the story to keep going. It's a great read."

ONLINE AND ON THE AIR

Poetry online and on the air: Lawrence Joseph, D. Nurkse, Hugh Seidman, and Susan Wheeler on WBAI's "The Next Hour" Sunday, 12/14, 11 AM, WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City.
WBAI Home Page: http://www.wbai.org/ WBAI Live Stream: http://stream.wbai.org/
WBAI 7-Day Archive: http://archive.wbai.org/ "Next Hour" Permanent Archive: http://www.catradiocafe.com/next_hour.html

Read a sample of Barry S. Willdorf's FLIGHT OF THE SORCERESS at http://flightofthesorceress.blogspot.com/?psinvite=ALRopfWwNMQ_uYplpmTChaThzwUFgOT1teUkqf9eVe_GRC7cv59oi2cLu4VwY1Z2Te_hPEfjsn62STE5JH9p9--oAYKkDcXcJg . The book is available from Wild Child Publishing, the result of eight years of research, writing and editing. It represents an accurate portrayal of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century A.D. with appearances by several notable personages of that period including Hypatia of Alexandria, Pelagius the heretic, Pope Innocent, Saint Augustine and the Roman Prefect, Orestes. Further information about this unique historical novel, set in the fifth century A.D., can be found at: www.agauchepress.com and at the publisher's website, www.wildchildpublishing.com. .

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS

Louise T. Gantress' new book BITTER TEA is praised by James Fallows of THE ATLANTIC:
"With Bitter Tea, Louise T. Gantress has produced a vivid, memorable and realistic portrait of Japan during the boom years of the 1980s. The oddities and delusions of those days made an indelible impression on those who witnessed them, and this book brings all the details back to life."

THE CENTER FOR FICTION (formerly the Mercantile Library) in NYC: http://centerforfiction.org/ Events has rental space for writers.

Mike Topp has a new book called SASQUATCH STORIES from Publishing Genius Press, with a cover drawing by Tao Lin and a frontispiece drawing by former Silver Jew David Berman. Information here: http://www.publishinggenius.com/2010/11/sasquatch-stories-by-mike-topp.html or email Mike at toppmiketopp@gmail.com

EPIPHANY is proud to announce the arrival of its Fall/Winter 2010-2011 issue, PERSISTENT LABYRINTHS: ANALOGUE ANTIDOTES TO THE DIGITAL MORASS, vital new writings that, disparate as they are, all bring readers to engrossing and unexpected places in the mazes life perennially holds in store. The new EPIPHANY includes a richly comic story by Dale Peck ("Not Even Camping Is Like Camping Anymore"); an excerpt from Lisa Dierbeck's hip new novel, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JENNY X, that strips the façade off the private life of a powerful senator's son; two further chapters from KEEP THIS FORTUNE, silver-spoon adoptee A.B. Meyer's witty and moving memoir of reuniting with her birth mother; and much more, including débuts by promising and original new writers you won't find anywhere else.

THE WRITING LIFE WORKSHOP with Ellen Bass January 28-30, 2011, Esalen, Big Sur .
This workshop will offer an inspiring environment in which to write, share our work, and receive supportive feedback. We'll help each other become clearer, go deeper, express our feelings and ideas more powerfully. From beginners to experienced, all writers are welcome. Whether you are interested in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or journal writing, this workshop will provide an opportunity to explore and expand your writing world. Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations--ranging from $360 to $695 (and more for premium rooms). The sleeping bag space is an incredible bargain and usually goes fast, as do some of the less expensive rooms, so it's good to register early. All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen (Esalen at 831-667-3005 or at www.esalen.org), but if you have questions about the content of the workshop, please call Ellen Bass at 831-426-8006. Ellen Bass's most recent book of poems is THE HUMAN LINE, was published by Copper Canyon Press

THE BODHISATTVA'S EMBRACE: Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism's Front Lines by Alan Senauke. See website at http://www.clearviewproject.org/.

Johnny Sundstrom's new novel DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT is set in the desolation that became known as southern Wyoming. Martha Bradford, traveling on the Oregon Trail, is told she must discard either her cast-iron cook stove or her pianola. She has them both taken off the wagon and then refuses to go on any further For information, email the author at siwash@pioneer.net .

ABOUT AMAZON.COM

The largest unionized bookstore in America is Powell's Books (http://www.powells.com). Some people prefer shopping there to shopping at Amazon.com. An alternative way to reach their site and support the union is via http://www.powellsunion.com. Prices are the same but 10% of your purchase will go directly to the [Powell's bookstore] union's benefit fund. For a discussion about Amazon and organized labor and small presses, see the comments of Jonathan Greene and others in Issues #98 (bfrarchive96-100.html#97) and #97 (bfrarchive96-100.html#98).

WHERE TO FIND BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS NEWSLETTER

If a book discussed in this newsletter has no source mentioned, try your public library or your local independent bookstore. To buy books online, I often use Bookfinder at http://www.bookfinder.com or Alibis at http://www.alibris.com. 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 to deal with the unionized bricks-and-mortar bookstore Powells online at http://powellsbooks.com .

Other good sources for used and out-of-print books include Advanced Book Exchange at http://www.abebooks.com and All Book Stores at http://www.allbookstores.com.

My latest way to get used books is through Paperback Book Swap at http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php, a low cost (postage only) way to get rid of books and get new ones.

RESPONSES TO THIS NEWSLETTER
Please send responses and suggestions to Meredith Sue Willis at MeredithSueWillis@gmail.com. Unless you instruct otherwise, your responses may be edited silently for length, polished for grammar and spelling, and published in this newsletter.

TO READ BACK ISSUES OF THIS NEWSLETTER:
Go to http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html.

BOOKS FOR READERS is a free, independent newsletter written and produced by Meredith
Sue Willis. For a free email subscription, go here: http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html#newslettersignup

MEREDITH SUE WILLIS'S 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. To subscribe and unsubscribe, use the form below. This means that you may quote or otherwise use the work here as long as it is attributed to the writer.

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Meredith Sue Willis’s Books for Readers #134

(News courtesy of Meredith Sue Willis)

Meredith Sue Willis's BOOKS FOR READERS Newsletter # 134 September 8, 2010
Read this online at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html. Images! Links! Colors! If you want to link to this newsletter, please use this permanent link : http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive131-135.html#134.

The Hamilton Stone Review # 22 Is Now Open for Poetry and Nonfiction Submissions. Go tohttp://www.hamiltonstone.org/hsr.html#submissions.

My big Victorian this summer was George Eliot's DANIEL DERONDA, a reread for me. This is one of the books you don't want to read at the wrong time. The right time, of course, is usually impossible to know in advance. I remember being intensely impatient with a lot of it on first reading, but for me, the summer of 2010 was the right time, partly because it's a real grown-ups' book, but also, it has some very personal aspects for me. The plot centers on two people, one a flawed young woman who makes a bad choice, and the other, a rather idealized young English gentleman who discovers he is Jewish. The personal for me is related to my own son's discovery that he was not Jewish (thanks to yours truly, the cultural Baptist) and then his recent conversion to Judaism.
I am also fascinated by the novelistic project Eliot took on of imagining being the Other– in this case, imagining being Jewish at a time when the upper classes in England looked down on Jews– and that a best case scenario. I was also interested in Eliot's exploration of the impact of history on individual lives."There comes a terrible moment to many souls," she writes in the penultimate chapter of the novel, "when the great movements of the world, the larger destinies of mankind, which have lain aloof in newspapers and other neglected reading, enter like an earthquake into...lives– where the slow urgency of growing generations turns into the tread of an invading army or the dire clash of civil war, and gray fathers know nothing to seek for but the corpses of their blooming sons, and girls forgot all vanity to make lint and bandages which may serve for the shattered limbs of their betrothed husbands." This happens especially to Gwendolyn Harleth, the flawed young woman. Gwendolyn would be happy simply to enjoy and consume the good things of her small world, but she is dragged brutally into both deep moral issues, and glancingly, into history as well.
On the other hand, Daniel Deronda, is actually seeking a place for himself in the history. He yearns to act in the world, and there is some indication at the end of the novel that he may succeed in doing this. Eliot uses him for purposes of the story, as the vehicle for her project of imaging what it would be like to discover you are part of an oppressed and despised Other in Victorian English society. She tries to imagine her way into being Jewish.
It is a truism in commentary on DANIEL DERONDA that the book is imperfect, and that the imperfection resides in how Eliot fails to embody Daniel and his ideals and his Jewishness. His love interest, Mirah is a sentimental construction, and in spite of Eliot's valiant efforts at being fair to lower class as well as upper class Jews, the pawn broker Cohen and his family are humorous and largely stereotypical. However– with the possible except of some of Mirah's brother Mordecai's Romantic proto-Zionist speeches, every page is sharp, interesting, and deeply worthwhile, flawed or not.
The story circles around Daniel, whose origins are mysterious, but who has been brought up as a perfect English gentleman– handsome and charismatic, a beacon of support especially for troubled women– but unable to fix on a career.
The second focus is Gwendolyn Harleth-- limited, selfish, not very likable but very charming. Gwendolyn makes a disastrous marriage with one of the creepiest but appallingly believable villains you'll meet in fiction– a pallid, drawling, indolent upper class sadist whose lifework becomes keeping his wife in bondage. This part of the novel is a perfect blend of idea and drama and character. Economic pressure leads Gwendolyn to make what she knows is a bad decision, and Gwendolyn's efforts to stretch her small capacities into maturity and responsibility make one of the best expositions of a character maturing in fiction. Missing, of course (this was published in 1876), is the sex life of Gwendolyn and her husband, but their physical relationship is a great lacuna that gives a resounding hollowness to the horror of the marriage.
Everyone who reads the book gets caught up in the Grandcourt marriage, but you are never unaware of the larger world: the economic failures that ruin Gwendolyn's family; the Civil War in America and its effect on mill workers in England; the many national rebellions and efforts to create new states in Europe and around the world.
This romance of nation building attracted Eliot as it did others of her class and education– the idea of homelands for discrete peoples, of freedom and wars of liberation. She found it natural that a great future for Daniel would be nation building for his people.
Simultaneously, she was struggling against the poisonous, narrow-minded, cultural anti-Semitism of the English. One novelistic problem she took on here, was how to make the shop-keeping Cohens human even though she herself appears to have shared the general British repugnance for loud voices, gesticulation, personal aggressiveness (as in an eager shop keeper). She deals with the Cohens with more than a little lingering condescension, but she does give them attractive and deep family affection.
A more successful solution to her efforts to combat anti-Semitism was to make her most important Jewish character essentially English, educated as her male readers would have been educated, with life experiences they could identify with. The question then becomes, is Daniel an English gentleman or a Jew? The set up, of course, is that Daniel has been looking for a purpose in life, and now he finds one by embracing his people, politically if not religiously.
Perhaps most interesting to me are two minor characters, Klesmer the musical genius and the Princess, a retired singer– and Deronda's reluctant mother. These two are distanced by being foreigners (Klesmer is very quirky: he makes faces and has broad gestures; the Princess's morals are dubious), but both of them are artists, and intensely attractive to Daniel and to the reader.
Several of the women characters in this novel work for a living, or have worked for a living: the Princess was a working artist, and Mirah teaches and sings for select small audiences. Gwendolyn Harleth chooses not to take a position as a governess, and this is part of her catastrophic personal decision. She also makes an abortive effort at becoming a self-supportive artist, and the scene where Klesmer tells her chances is one of the best in the novel.
Klesmer, it should also be noted, represents another solution to the situation of the Jews in England, which is assimilation; he marries for love the wealthiest heiress in the novel. The heiress, Catherine Arrowsmith, actually makes the offer to Klesmer, and there is a wonderful comic scene when her family tries to bring her to her senses.
One of Eliot's ongoing themes in all her books is about how women can fulfill their humanity. In this novel, she offers suffering as a way for Gwendolyn to grow, but she also has the strong rich woman who goes after her man, and she has women who are professional musicians. The only woman writer (Catherine Arrowsmith's mother) is a bit of a caricature, so Eliot never really creates a female character who does what she herself did, which was to write what I consider the best novels of Victorian England.
For more on DANIEL DERONDA, see Susan Carpenter's notes below.

– Meredith Sue Willis

SUSAN CARPENTER ON DANIEL DERONDA:

"I'm fascinated by DANIEL DERONDA. It's not as perfect a novel as MIDDLEMARCH, but there's a lot I've never found anywhere else.Disclosure: George Eliot holds a special place in my private author-pantheon. That nineteenth-century narrative voice is SO wise, SO insightful. I read her for therapy. I also read the I Ching for therapy, fwiw.
"What I love about DD: both stories. One is the education (really proto-feminist consciousness-raising) of Gwendolyn Harleth. The other is Daniel's identity search, which leads him to cross cultural and class lines, to expose and uproot from his subconscious the kind of British anti-semitism comparable to modern American institutional racism. The interesting thing about Daniel is that he DOES explore, relentless as Oedipus in Sophocles' play, from his early boyhood question about why the popes had so many nephews to the last, brutal-naked conversation with his mother. The interesting thing about Gwendolyn is ... well many things, but mostly this: she's being dragged kicking & screaming into awareness of who she is and can (must?) be.
"To be sure, some of the plot-elements (e.g. the romance between Daniel and Mira) seem too stale to be credible to us post-Victorians. And the character whose name I can't remember – Mira's brother [Mordecai], the proto-Zionist whom Daniel admires and learns from -- is downright tedious. I've read the book several times and keep finding more in it.
"Some of the critical material about it is interesting too. A psychoanalytic journal published an article suggesting Freud may have used DD as a model for effective psychoanalysis. F. probably read the book soon after it was published in the 1870s, long before he developed his theories. Daniels' relationship with Gwendolyn does have some parallels to the relationship between analyst and analysand: she comes to him and asks to talk; then she talks and he listens, and he's never quite sure what is going on or what to say, but the talking itself helps her get through her ordeals, and near the end of the book (as the reader is thinking, "Do these two have a future or not; they seem to be in love, but what about Daniel and Mira?") they let each other go with a sense that the therapeutic conversations have done their work.
Another critic has written that it's simply a double love story."

MORE BOOKS: RECOMMENDATIONS FROM JEFFREY SOKOLOW:

"I've just finished slogging through all 1100 pages of A LETHAL OBSESSION: ANTI-SEMITISM FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE GLOBAL JIHAD by Robert S. Wistrich. (The title is somewhat misleading, as the focus is primarily on post-World War II developments.) It's a thoroughly depressing read on several levels. Wistrich demonstrates in excrutiating detail the persistance and mutability of Judeophobia in Europe and the mideast. Especially depressing is his depiction of the emergence of a 'red-green-brown' (leftist/Islamist/neo-Nazi) ideological convergence if not outright alliance, in which Israel plays the role of the "international Jew," and traditional anti-Semitic narratives such as the blood libel and the supposed Jewish plot for world domination as depicted in the notorious 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' are transferred from the 'demonic Jew' to the 'demonic Zionist.' Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the book is Wistrich's detailed analysis of the genocidal and exterminationist ideology of what has been called, with some controversy, the Islamofascist movement. I call this analysis depressing because if Wistrich is right that the Islamists are little more than Nazis, then peaceful negotiation of the dispute between the Israeli and Palestinian nationalist movements over who gets which portion of what land is simply impossible if the aim of one side is to exterminate the other. Against all evidence to the contrary, I continue to hope that he is wrong, but I wouldn't bet the farm on my being right. God help us all if Iran gets the atomic bomb and decides to bring forth the hidden imam in a 21st century version of the Holocaust (the historical fact of which the clerical fascist regime persistently denies while working toward its completion). This important book deserves to be read, and answered if possible, so don't let my depression put you off."

ADDENDUM FROM JEFF– ANOTHER SUBJECT

"Last February, I reviewed a slew of books [See Issue # 128 http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive126-130.html#feature] about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Just published and hence too late to have included in that batch is FREEDOM SUMMER: THE SAVAGE SEASON THAT MADE MISSISSIPPI BURN AND MADE AMERICA A DEMOCRACY by Bruce Watson. Many books have been written about SNCC's 1964 Summer Project, but none is better or more complete. Blow by blow, bomb by bomb, moment by moment, filled with vividly recounted incidents, Watson makes that summer come alive. Well written, thoroughly researched, incredibly moving, this is a powerful and ultimately inspiring book that deserves a wide readership."

RESPONSES FROM READERS

Ardian Gill writes, "In a recent BOOKS FOR READERS [Number 133, http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive131-135.html#nogreatmischief], AlSistair MacLeod's NO GREAT MISCHIEF was recommended. The odd title is a quote from one of the Brtitish/Canadian generals in the book who says, "It's no great mischief if a few Scotsmen get killed."
Macleod's book of short stories, ISLAND, is a marvelous portrayal of the lives of the Scot/Irish immigrants to the Canadian Maritimes."

DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE LOOKING AT COLLEGES?

Wanchee Wang has an informative blog about taking her eleventh grader to colleges– what they experiences, what they learned: http://bound4college.wordpress.com/about/ .

BLACK/WHITE RELATIONS IN WEST VIRGINIA: READING SUGGESTIONS FROM PHYLLIS MOORE

If you would enjoy reading books portraying Black/White relationships in West Virginia, , two are A VEIN OF RICHES by John Knowles and MISS 4TH OF JULY, GOODBYE by Christopher Janus. A VEIN OF RICHES opens prior to 1900 and the first two chapters are especially interesting. The portrayal of the wife as manipulated by her coal baron husband is A DOLL'S HOUSE and THE YELLOW WALLPAPER combined. There is description of a "colored" coal camp as well as a Black preacher, a former student of Booker T. Washington'.
You have probably read RED WHITE BLACK & BLUE: A DUAL MEMOIR OF RACE AND CLASS IN APPALACHIA by William M. Drennen, Jr. and Kojo (William T.) Jones. Jr. and BEETLECREEK: A NOVEL by Clarksburg's William Demby, and BLACK DAYS, BLACK DUST: THE MEMORIES OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN COAL MINER by Robert Armstead as told to S. L. Gardner. In addition, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Homer H. Hickam, Jr., portray Black/White relationships in their respective memoirs COLORED PEOPLE and ROCKET BOYS.
Scholar Ancella Radford Bickley's MEMPHIS TENNESSEE GARRISON and her historical OUR MOUNT VERNONS provide interesting African American history in WW. Just republished is HEARTS OF GOLD: A NOVEL, a Reconstruction Era work by J. Mc Henry Jones. [See Issue # 131 at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive131-135.html#131for Phyllis's notes on this book].
In children's literature, Sandra Belton's FROM MISS IDA'S PORCH is just about perfect and so is the work of Walter Dean Myers in NOW IS YOUR TIME! THE AFRICAN AMERICAN STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM. Belton describes children learning about segregation as they listen to stories being told on the porch of a neighbor and Myers describes his great-grand mother's enslaved on a plantation in what is now West Virginia.
And on a slightly different note, when people think of West Virginia they seldom think of a girlhood of an Irish Catholic in a steel mill town, complete with a parochial school. But that is the setting and the story for Anna Egan Smucker's children's book NO STAR NIGHTS. Fine artist John Holyfield (Clarksburg) is doing illustrations for children's books set in the era of the Klan and "white only" bathrooms.

DIGITALIZE YOUR BOOKS!!

:A Good Company I've used for turning my hard copy books that were written on typewriters (yes, yes, I know...) into .pdf or .doc files, is Golden Images, LLC at pdfdocument.com. Write to Stan Drew stan@pdfdocument.com, who is very responsive to email, and does the work for what seems like a reasonable price to me.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS

PAOLA CORSO's new novel CATINA'S HAIRCUT is just out from The University of Wisconsin Press. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY calls it "A fable-like follow-up to GIOVANNA'S 86 Circles….the stories, individually, find moments of inspired, ethereal revelation."

PETER BROWN's new children's book CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS! Is a giggle-fest of a story in which Lucy the bear finds a cute little boy in the woods and brings him home to be her pet. She names him Squeaker (because he doesn't speak Bear), and after getting off to a great start Lucy learns the hard way that some critters just aren't meant to be pets. Peter's book tour starts this week . See details are here:
http://www.peterbrownstudio.com/pb-booktour/pb-booktour.html

BARBARA CROOKER is one recent featuree at the Shreve Library in Shreveport, LA's poet-a-week project, see their website at http://www.shreve-lib.org/poemofday.htm. Barbara Crooker 's poem "Peaches," from her new book, was the Daily Poem at this site on August 31st: http://www.yourdailypoem.com/listpoem.jsp?poem_id=473

JIM MINICK's book THE BLUEBERRY YEARS has just been published. This memoir captures our story of creating and operating one of the mid-Atlantic's first certified-organic, pick-your-own blueberry farms, and recently, this book was picked by Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as one of the best new books for the summer. Author Naomi Wolf describes THE BLUEBERRY YEARS as "delicious reading," and Robert Morgan calls it "an intimate visit to a delightful place with an inspired guide." Several other writers have given this memoir advanced praise, including Sharyn McCrumb, Ron Rash, Steven Hopp, Ann Pancake, Nina Planck, and Joel Salatin. Visit www.jim-minick.com to read all of these kind comments and to see his reading schedule.

Tricia Idrobo's short story "Evan's Photograph" was published in the Women Who Write literary journal GOLDFINCH 2010.

Phyllis Moore has new reviews out. The current issue of JOURNAL OF APPALACHIAN STUDIES, Volume 15 (2009) has a review she did of PALE LIGHT OF SUNSET by Lee Maynard. Also, the current issue of APPALACHIAN HERITAGE contains her review of HEARTS OF GOLD by West Virginia's J. McHenry Jones.

The eleventh issue of THE INNISFREE POETRY JOURNAL is now open for literary business at www.innisfreepoetry.org on a computer, iPhone, or iPad near you. Innisfree 10, featuring the work of John Koethe, continues to be available under Previous Issues, along with all of the first ten issues. Innisfree 11 takes a Closer Look at the work of Eleanor Wilner and includes new work from 36 other fine contemporary poets.

SPIRITUAL ENGINEERING has just been published by Books to Believe In. Author Thomas J. Strawser is an international engineer with a master's in psychology and many losses in his life that led him to seek practical solutions to his despair. Combining spirituality, psychology, and engineering have led him to transformations that he shares in this new book. See the web page at http://www.spiritual-engineering.com.

If You're Near Queens, New York: Saturday September 18, 2010 2:00 PM
Award Winning Poet Juanita Torrence-Thompson and Legendary Poet-Activist Sonia Sanchez will read at the Queens Library, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona, Queens

Red Hen Press in Los Angeles http://www.redhen.org/RedHenPress.html# is offering a pre-pub discount for THE LAST JEWISH VIRGIN, http://www.janiceeidus.com/books-last-jewish-virgin.html Janice Eidus's new novel.

CHRISTIAN NOVELLA CONTEST hosted by www.higherfaithpublications.com is open till October 30, 2010. They are looking for manuscripts between 15000 and 30000 words. Themes are Historical or Contemporary romance, suspense, time travel and holiday. The contest is open until October 30 2010. They are also looking at novelette length items for their website, between 5000 and 15000 words, same themes as above, and for short stories etc for their online magazine. See the sample
at www.higherfaithpublications.com to see what we can use. Send items to higherfaithbooks@yahoo.com with a writers bio (new authors welcome) and a very clean and well edited manuscript as an attachment.

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

AWARD-WINNING INTERNATIONAL POETRY MAGAZINE seeks an interested buyer. CONTACT: poetrytown@earthlink.net

MORE ONLINE READING
John Birch, a veteran of the British army and many years of corporate communications posts a fiction or non-fiction piece every month at his blog, http://www.johnbirchlive.blogspot.com/ . Most of these have appeared in newspapers or periodicals on one side or the other of the Atlantic,

Library of America sends out a free story link by email http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/feeds/posts/default
These are a lot of fun– so far, I've read a Washington Irving devil story and Howard Zinn's piece "Finishing School for Pickets" about his students in the early sixties, young women at Spelman College who defied their elders and joined picket lines. Read the latter at http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/2010/07/finishing-school-for-pickets.html

ABOUT AMAZON.COM

The largest unionized bookstore in America is Powell's Books (http://www.powells.com). Some people prefer shopping there to shopping at Amazon.com. An alternative way to reach their site and support the union is via http://www.powellsunion.com. Prices are the same but 10% of your purchase will go directly to the [Powell's bookstore] union's benefit fund. For a discussion about Amazon and organized labor and small presses, see the comments of Jonathan Greene and others in Issues #98 (bfrarchive96-100.html#97) and #97 (bfrarchive96-100.html#98).

WHERE TO FIND BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS NEWSLETTER

If a book discussed in this newsletter has no source mentioned, try your public library or your local independent bookstore. To buy books online, I often use Bookfinder at http://www.bookfinder.com or Alibis at http://www.alibris.com. 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 to deal with the unionized bricks-and-mortar bookstore Powells online at http://powellsbooks.com .

Other good sources for used and out-of-print books include Advanced Book Exchange at http://www.abebooks.com and All Book Stores at http://www.allbookstores.com.
For more comparison shopping, take a look at http://www.CampusBooks.com , another free comparison shopping website, particularly for textbooks, that says they search over two dozen bookstores to find the lowest prices in textbooks and more.

Other ways to get books: I have used and liked the paid lending library Booksfree at http://www.booksfree.com/ and Paperback Book Swap at http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php, a low cost (postage only) way to get rid of books and get new ones.

RESPONSES TO THIS NEWSLETTER

Please send responses and suggestions to Meredith Sue Willis at MeredithSueWillis@gmail.com. Unless you instruct otherwise, your responses may be edited silently for length, polished for grammar and spelling, and published in this newsletter.

TO READ BACK ISSUES OF THIS NEWSLETTER:

Go to http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html.

BOOKS FOR READERS is a free, independent newsletter written and produced by Meredith
Sue Willis. For a free email subscription, go here: http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html#newslettersignup

Copyright 2010, Meredith Sue Willis

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Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel

(This news courtesy of Steven Goff)

NEW BOOK ON NOVEL WRITING BY MEREDITH SUE WILLIS: TEN STRATEGIES TO WRITE YOUR NOVEL

Montemayor Press is proud to present a new book Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel by Meredith Sue Willis. Says Montemayor Press: "Meredith Sue Willis is a gifted and widely published writer of both fiction and nonfiction. In addition to her many fine novels and collections of stories, she has also published three widely praised books about the writing process: Personal Fiction Writing, Deep Revision, and Blazing Pencils. In Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel, Ms. Willis has now distilled several decades of writing—as well as her extensive experience as a teacher—to offer her readers an eloquent, practical guide to the delights and challenges of working with a big fictional canvas.

"An important addition to any novelist's (or would-be novelist's) resources about writing technique and the writing life, this clear, eminently practical guide offers both general approaches and targeted suggestions for working through the complex tasks of writing a novel.
Ms. Willis describes multiple entryways into this formidable genre, offers vivid illustrations from classic and contemporary novels, and provides dozens of creative exercises to jump-start the writing process. Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel is destined to become a classic guide for newcomers and veterans alike."

Willis teaches writing at New York University in New York City. Her books include In the Mountains of America, Billie of Fish House Lane, Higher Ground, Oradell at Sea, Dwight's House and Other Stories and the upcoming Out of the Mountains from Ohio University Press.

The book is available through your favorite book store, online from various stores including the independent book store Powell's, or from Montemayor Press, e-mail: montepress@aol.com, P.O. Box 526 Millburn, NJ 07041 or go to the website at http://www.montemayorpress.com.

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Books for Readers Newsletter #131 now online

Meredith Sue Willis’s BOOKS FOR READERS Newsletter # 131 is online at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/booksforreaders.html.

If you want to link to this newsletter, please use this permanent link : http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/bfrarchive131-135.html#131.

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Meredith Sue Willis Class Offering

Meredith Sue Willis is offering an ONLINE SUMMER SOLSTICE MASTER CLASS on June 21, 2010; June 28, 2010; July 5, 2010; and July 12, 2010. This is a class for writers who are already working on or trying to restart a project of fiction like a novel, a memoir, or other prose narrative. This class will focus on ways to expand, continue, restart, go deeper, and revise. Class members will be invited to submit specific areas of interest and concern in advance. There will be feedback from the teacher on up to 2000 words per student per week.

For more information, fees, and how to apply, please see the website at http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/mswclasses.html.

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Meredith Sue Willis Online Classes

Meredith Sue Willis is offering a three-session online creative writing class called Summer Stories during the month of July 2007.

This class is for writers of narrative, including memoir and personal essay as well as short story and novel. The class is appropriate for writers just voyaging out but will also help advanced writers move forward with their projects. There will be exercises and individual feedback on up to 1000 words per week. Sessions will be posted online and emailed on July 2, 9, and 16, 2007, with homework due a week later.

To learn more, see http://www.meredithsuewillis.com/SummerStories2007.html or write MeredithSueWillis@gmail.com.

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