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For Back Issues, click here. I took a walk today, the first sunny day over 30 degrees Fahrenheit in a long time, and I was mulling over this newsletter a little, and suddenly thought, out of the blue, "What a pleasure books have been to me!
There is nothing for me like the pleasure of going into the world of a novel-- it lasts a long time, compared to, say, a movie, but I think, for me at least, what's most pleasurable is the way it plugs directly into my imagination.
I do a lot of the work of creating the reading experience: I hear the voices, I imagine the faces, and that work makes the book much more mine than other media.
And when I reread something I first read decades ago, it is like a new experience, but with extra depth. I'm not going to say much this month about some genre books I enjoyed a lot-- except to recommend them: The latter books have a wonderfully precise evoction of urban California during the height of the AIDS crisis.
I also will say relatively little about most of the highly reviewed and popular books I liked: He says he writes word by word painstakingly slowly, and I believe it, because it is quite perfect, line by line.
It's a kind of elegy for a dangerous and violent yet still somehow magical childhood. Gilead had been on my mental list for a while, and I found it strong, slow, and moving. Indeed, it took a while for me to settle in to it, but I ended up teary-eyed. About the only thing James Wood missed in his excellent review in The New York Times is that the book is not really the story of one rather limited but kindly pastor— John Ames —bur rather the story of a town, Gilead, which has several other John Ameses— including the pastor's wild prophetic grandfather who rode with John Brown.
I was also interested to find Gilead on a list of novels that are supposed to be both good literature and Christian friendly. Two Old Women by Velma Wallis, has apparently been a best seller, although I only recently heard of it. It is sometimes classified as a book for adults, sometimes for children, perhaps because it's so small. The writer is a Gwich'in Athabascan Indian, born in She hasn't published a lot.
I looked for an image of her via Google, and one picture I found was of her a few years back speaking about one of her brothers who was homeless and burned to death. I don't know her present world or her cultural past, but Two Old Women is wonderful. It is in the form of a legend told by a mother to a daughter. It tells of two elder-women left behind by their nomadic band to die during a time of extremely tight resources. They are not simply victims-- indeed, it turns out they have been demanding and lazy.
They also have rich memories of their own lives and also of how to do things. They do extremely well on their own for a whole year, accumulating large stores of dried fish and meat, rabbit fur gloves and homemade coats. They are contacted again by their band, who are still starving, and there is guilt and distrust on all sides, and then a slow, painstaking reconciliation.
Everyone learns respect, and the two old women learn not to expect always to be taken care of-- that they need to share their efforts and knowledge. This is a really interesting happy ending of a group experience rather than an individual one. As long as Two Old Women is short, is a book about two old men: Larry McMurty's Lonesome Dove. I was raised on cowboy movies and cowboy TV shows, and while I have criticisms of Lonesome Dove , I mostly just ate it up. The men characters are fighter-killer-drinker-whore-ers who are entertaining and amusing and incredibly hard- headed and often destructive and self-destructive.
They set off almost casually on a cattle drive to claim ranch land in Montana. This is at period at the end of the Comanche wars the period detailed in the book about Quanah Parker book I reviewed recently. There's plenty of human evil— rape and death by gun, arrow, and hanging— as well as violent weather and wonderfully fierce animals: There are also lots of passages of crude humor, the sort of laughing at ugliness that men living in rough conditions seem to use to keep themselves sane.
The book is thoroughly successful at what it sets out to do, in spite of my annoyance when my favorite characters start getting killed off in ways that sometimes feel manipulative spoilers ensue: I assume McMurty is making a point here that anyone can go at any time which can hardly be disputed , but he is also carrying out a plan for showing— however much he delights in his cowboys and Indians and rangers and whores— that this cattle drive and maybe the whole western expansion by Europeans over the North American continent was possibly ill-fated and maybe even meaningless.
It's probably significant that most of the survivors at the end, with one or two exceptions, are the least colorful-- that would be most of the women and a couple of relatively clueless men.
It's a fine book, and during my reading, I kept waking up in the morning still thinking of it. I also reread-- again! It's been a hard winter here in the northeast, and a Victorian novel with the snow outside always hits the spot. I enjoyed this adult reread hugely I read it on my Kindle, but kept picturing the Fritz Eichenberg wood cuts that were in the first edition I read. It is just so entertainingly histrionic!
Jane is so brave! She stands up to Mr. Rochester and of course he has to fall in love with her! John Rivers is worse— he's the handsome cold fish who tries to drag Jane into a loveless marriage because he needs a female missionary companion and thinks she would be just the ticket. Really, the men are hopeless. My other reread was The Ambassadors by Henry James.
It was written in , and there is some reason to call it the first modern novel: There's a nice piece online in praise of its modernism at http: I have to say it's a novel I've always admired more than loved.
It's the story of an American, Lambert Strether, who is sent by the rich widow to whom he is affianced, to bring her adult son back from Europe where he is supposedly in the clutches of a fallen woman.
Strether is determined to do right by his task, but he is also fully open to new impressions and beauty-- to Europe. I can't say I am sympathetic to the leisure class preciousness of most of the characters, let alone their the highly developed manners and lavender gloves and collecting of bibelots. The story, though, has splendid sharp scenes, especially toward the end, as young Chad Newsome's future becomes pretty clear, and Mme. De Vionnet breaks down when she realizes she is going to lose him.
Strether comments that in spite of how amazingly improved Chad is more sophisticated, courteous, educated , he's still Chad-- which turns out to mean a young American man having his adventures before settling down to business. And really, who can blame him for wanting to do something active with his life? Newsome, Chad's mother, is wonderfully done: When Chad's sister and brother-in-law and a potential wife visit, the events are funny— The Ambassadors is, in fact, a much more humorous book than anyone gives it credit for.
When James stops elaborating mental states and recording long conversations and does scenes, you remember that he was first a powerful realist novelist, and that everything he is doing here is exactly what he means to do.
It's a novel with terrific bones, and if I occasionally drifted away, I always came back. He himself rated The Ambassadors highest among his books. He told some stunned friends they should read 5 pages at a time, but read every day!
Vera's Will covers the twentieth century with sweep and passion. It begins with the Kishinev pogrom and a family of Jewish immigrants to the United States. It is also the story of a woman's discovery she's a lesbian.
The woman, Vera, has a devastating series of losses: She spends much of her life in a misguided belief that she has to stay away from women as an alcoholic has to stay away from liquor. Vera's life is thus constrained and built on pain and loss, yet she is determined to be in her sons' lives in any way possible.
She manages through sacrifice and loneliness also to maintain her self-respect and dignity. Structurally, the novel balances Vera's story with that of her granddaughter Randy, who is a second half twentieth century woman who also discovers she is a lesbian, but in a time with more paths open to her.
Randy's life is to some extent twisted too, not by who she loves, but by her formidably damaged father, the boy who suffered most from the exile of his mother. Randy survives and comes out as a Lesbian and an activist.
Her childhood sections are terrific, and so is the depiction of the damage done to three generations by separating a lesbian mother from her sons. I've rarely read better characters with deep flaws and admirable values.
There is a happy ending in Randy's personal life, and a general hopefulness in the political future of all oppressed people. It's an exciting, excellent book. Get another opinion in the rave review in Library Journal that calls Vera's Will "powerful, superbly written" and "a breathtaking achievement. An Illustrated Novel by Robert Gipe came to me as an advanced reading copy, and I just flipped through a few pages, not expecting too much, and got sucked in before I knew what hit me.
I don't know that they are necessary to the story, but they make an attractive punctuation. The story is of a teenage girl caught up in the sometimes-violent antics of her trashy, drug-dealing junk-food-scarfing Kentucky family. Her voice is wonderful, and she relates one incident leading to the next in a way that seems to define the lives of the poorest: Happily, and quite realistically, the novel also has a strong sub-plot--or maybe super-plot-- about Dawn's grandmother being an organizer against mountaintop removal.
There are brief organizing scenes, and a visit to the governor an excellent scene in which Dawn gets a glimpse of how the world works at the top , and, while the people on Blue Boar mountain get a bit of a reprieve, this story is set at the end of the nineties, so we know that the mountains are still being beheaded.
The limits to how far any individual's political efforts can go is realistic, and the political and personal are woven together extremely well.
At one point, Dawn talks about the dilemma of those who love the mountains but also tear them up to make a living:. They loved it here, and they had to tear it up to stay. The full hard hardness of their lot came down on me that winter night, and I knew maybe not them but other coal-mining people would be mad at me, would hate me, but after that night, I never was mad at them, not the ones who lived here with me, not the ones taking their own sorrow and joy from what was left of these trees, these rocks, these rustling waters.
Another thread is Dawn's search for a young radio DJ over a state line to Kingsport, Tennessee whose voice appeals to her. The whole novel is essentially Thanksgiving though the Christmas holidays with fights, oxytocin, moonshine, attempted suicide, possible murder or maybe just death, plus a little unsexy sex— it's a heartbreakingly real story, with an excellent use of contemporary Appalachian voices.
Genji, the Shining Prince, is the hero of an eleventh century novel centering on the love affairs of a prince who seems remarkably always to keep his women happy, even when he takes a new lover: The Waiting Years is about a family where the women are notably not happy.
The man forces his wife to find him the perfect concubine, then takes another, and eventually has an affair with his daughter-in-law. The long-suffering primary wife, Tomo, meanwhile, does all the family business.
She collects rents, does accounts, and lives a grimly proper life shut out of any kind of affection.
It is also the story of a woman's discovery she's a lesbian. The woman, Vera, has a devastating series of losses: She spends much of her life in a misguided belief that she has to stay away from women as an alcoholic has to stay away from liquor.
Vera's life is thus constrained and built on pain and loss, yet she is determined to be in her sons' lives in any way possible. She manages through sacrifice and loneliness also to maintain her self-respect and dignity.
Structurally, the novel balances Vera's story with that of her granddaughter Randy, who is a second half twentieth century woman who also discovers she is a lesbian, but in a time with more paths open to her. Randy's life is to some extent twisted too, not by who she loves, but by her formidably damaged father, the boy who suffered most from the exile of his mother. Randy survives and comes out as a Lesbian and an activist.
Her childhood sections are terrific, and so is the depiction of the damage done to three generations by separating a lesbian mother from her sons.
I've rarely read better characters with deep flaws and admirable values. There is a happy ending in Randy's personal life, and a general hopefulness in the political future of all oppressed people. It's an exciting, excellent book.
Get another opinion in the rave review in Library Journal that calls Vera's Will "powerful, superbly written" and "a breathtaking achievement. An Illustrated Novel by Robert Gipe came to me as an advanced reading copy, and I just flipped through a few pages, not expecting too much, and got sucked in before I knew what hit me.
I don't know that they are necessary to the story, but they make an attractive punctuation. The story is of a teenage girl caught up in the sometimes-violent antics of her trashy, drug-dealing junk-food-scarfing Kentucky family.
Her voice is wonderful, and she relates one incident leading to the next in a way that seems to define the lives of the poorest: Happily, and quite realistically, the novel also has a strong sub-plot--or maybe super-plot-- about Dawn's grandmother being an organizer against mountaintop removal.
There are brief organizing scenes, and a visit to the governor an excellent scene in which Dawn gets a glimpse of how the world works at the top , and, while the people on Blue Boar mountain get a bit of a reprieve, this story is set at the end of the nineties, so we know that the mountains are still being beheaded.
The limits to how far any individual's political efforts can go is realistic, and the political and personal are woven together extremely well. At one point, Dawn talks about the dilemma of those who love the mountains but also tear them up to make a living:. They loved it here, and they had to tear it up to stay.
The full hard hardness of their lot came down on me that winter night, and I knew maybe not them but other coal-mining people would be mad at me, would hate me, but after that night, I never was mad at them, not the ones who lived here with me, not the ones taking their own sorrow and joy from what was left of these trees, these rocks, these rustling waters.
Another thread is Dawn's search for a young radio DJ over a state line to Kingsport, Tennessee whose voice appeals to her. The whole novel is essentially Thanksgiving though the Christmas holidays with fights, oxytocin, moonshine, attempted suicide, possible murder or maybe just death, plus a little unsexy sex— it's a heartbreakingly real story, with an excellent use of contemporary Appalachian voices. Genji, the Shining Prince, is the hero of an eleventh century novel centering on the love affairs of a prince who seems remarkably always to keep his women happy, even when he takes a new lover: The Waiting Years is about a family where the women are notably not happy.
The man forces his wife to find him the perfect concubine, then takes another, and eventually has an affair with his daughter-in-law. The long-suffering primary wife, Tomo, meanwhile, does all the family business. She collects rents, does accounts, and lives a grimly proper life shut out of any kind of affection.
It is not a single point of view, but is mostly Tomo's story as she yearns for a particular kind of revenge— one that includes saving the family. As in Enchi's other novel I read see issue , I know I'm missing a lot of the subtleties of Japanese culture, and why certain things that seem like no biggie to me are shocking to the characters.
Sex, pregnancy, even hemorrhoids, however, are treated with practicality. Tomo's dilemma, and that of the other women in the household, moves me, even when I don't always quite get why. She included poets, biographers, historians, and novelist.
In the Extra to Issue in January, I asked for thoughts about the future of where we'll get our ideas for what to read--where the gatekeepers will come from. In fact, as Johnny Sundstrom says below, reviews like Books for Readers can be part of the answer. I picture a time when we go first to certain blogs or newsletters we partcularly like.
I often take a look at Goodreads after I've started a book to see some comments on it. I also use Books for Readers for my own reading. A lot of what I've read in the last few years comes directly from suggestions people gaave me here. Johnny Sundstrom wrote and thanks for the compliments!
In spite of efforts such as yours, the issues you raise and the quandaries all serious writing faces today are omnipresent and growing. The feeling of futility that confronts an 'unknown' writer today is probably not that different than what has always been there for those who become discouraged from even trying or who have been frustrated by the always present lack of opportunity presented by the limited access to the opportunities controlled by commerce.
A recent survey of educators — mostly school and district leaders -- predicts a massive growth of the market for e-books in schools in the next two years, replacing traditional paper schoolbooks.
Parents will be delighted, because schoolbooks have always seemed shockingly pricey, and even kindergartners and other youngsters, overburdened by their backpacks, will relish a lighter load.
But will e-books really work? How easily can you look back a couple of pages for a minute or two, or jump forward a chapter or two, or jump to the contents and back, or consult the index, or a glossary or a cast of characters? I asked a similar question in the last Newsletter, but on that occasion in everyday use of e-book readers. But the problem's even more acute in the case of, say, a science, history or biology textbook. Don't miss John's latest post on his blog, "Lazy Saint," at blog.
The latest idea in crowd-sourcing: Erik Corr's The Kingdom of Assassins now available. It's also at amazon.
A beautiful Arabian Princess comes to identify one of the dead from an assault on a safe house. Later during the investigation a Saudi Diplomat is also found dead, as well as another man with no identity. Tensions rise between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From the concrete canyons of New York City to the searing oceans of sand in Arabia, Detective Mike Maclaymore purses the truth to its terrifying conclusion.
Just out from Ohio University Press: Every River on Earth: Valerie Nieman's second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy , is now available from Press 53 and on Amazon. Joseph Bathanti says, "There abides in its pages an uncanny past wrought into poems that spring from a memory — from a vast, liturgical acumen — that unites the dead with the living, restores the abandoned, returns the missing. This is a startling book. The language — its lyric nuance, its plaintive harmonies, its ceremonial beauty — is unforgettable.
Jane Hicks has a new book of poetry, Driving With the Dead. It's from The University Press of Kentucky, published the last quarter of I hope to have a review of this one soon. Long-time editor Juanita Torrence-Thompson is donating Mobius so it can stay alive. If any group, poet, editor, college, etc. She is available to offer limited assistance as a consultant the first year. Moving the magazine online is okay. Write Juanita Torrence-Thompson at poetrytownjtt gmail.
Full details and guidelines are listed here: Two poems from Barbara Crooker are up in the new issue of Verse-Virtual: From friends, from students in my classes, from these newsletters, from other books and publications-- I discover books to read. Hyde" , plus a book of poems, Driving with the Dead by Jane Hicks. Jane Hicks's poems, published as part of the Kentucky Voices series of Kentucky Press , are described as having the "idiom and flavor and humor of the mountains," by Richard Taylor, a former Kentucky poet laureate.
They also have wonderful black and white photographic images from Hicks' own family—a graveyard, men in World War I uniforms or snappy fedoras and cigarettes, women in sandals and dresses or "lunch lady" outfits.
The images don't always refer directly to the poems, but add texture to them. The poems often take off from places like her great uncle's store and people like a teacher who loved Gerald Manley Hopkins. There is a demented grandmother who runs away in her slip but carries a Styrofoam pitcher for a purse.
It all works together create a powerful sense of a world that is sometimes in the past and sometimes in the present, but always in the poet's heart and soul-- and always conveyed to the reader's as well. For example, the poet goes out in early spring to find creecy greens to use, as her grandmother did, for cleansing the blood:.
The first poem in the book, "Summer Rain," sets up a lot of the themes to come: There is always also the sharp perception of the present moment: So obvious, so fresh and new. There are poems with Elvis and a poem about the Carter Family, a draft lottery poem, and a stunning poem about the collapse of a mined mountain that killed a little boy:.
It's a wide-ranging beautiful book that may or may not be about the world you live in or grew up in, but feels just as real. Then there was Anne by Constance Fenimore Woolson. Woolson, a close friend of James and a relative of James Fenimore Cooper was a reasonably successful American writer who work seems today sometimes melodramatic, as her audience expected, but always interesting.
The first part of this novel is set in a bucolic, idealized Mackinac Island in Michigan, where lovely, intensely good Anne cares for her nearly-destitute father and siblings. The rest of the book takes place in the East-- with loyal Anne going away after her father dies to try and make a living to support her half-siblings. Before leaving, Anne gets engaged to her childhood friend and would marry him, even though later on she loves another--but he runs off with her little sister!
This little sister-- actually, all of Anne's half-siblings-- demonstrate a lot of common prejudices of the time.
Apparently closely related to the fact that little sister Tita is dark and part French and part Indian, her personality is passionate and selfish and untrustworthy-- although she ends not as a villain but as a somewhat frivolous but happy wife. Meanwhile, Anne struggles in New York Society's faddish summer places and later in border cities during the civil war. One thing that is remarkable about this book is how widely its Victorian era heroine travels.
The story line includes novel-of-manners parts when the girl is taken up by a sadistic great aunt and lives among people who look down on her. She falls in love with probably the best character in the novel, Ward Heathcote, a languid, spoiled, self-absorbed figure who is wildly attractive to women.
He goes through many changes in the course of the novel, largely through his soldiering as he leads a regiment in the Civil War. He also, in his lackadaisical way, loves Anne. Ward is a lady killer finally captured by a strong woman, but only when he learns how weak he is. It seems that men's imperious natures improve immensely when they learn something about suffering viz. Rochester in Jane Eyre. Anne becomes a volunteer nurse for a while, near the battlefront, and experiences a full-scale melodramatic coincidence when Heathcote is wounded near where Anne is serving.
He pretends he is free rather than married to her best friend, and thus elicits her declaration of love for him. Then, in a turn that is what makes Heathcote such an interesting man, he confesses the truth.
Righteous Anne, of course, walks off and returns to her lonely suffering. There are scenes of our heroine poor and walking through New york in the snow while she sees her wealthy former-friends nearby. There is-- in the final section-- a murder and a murder mystery that is solved ostensibly by the "intuition" of Anne and some other women characters, but, in fact, they reason just as well as the men, only working from a different starting point.
Woolson is well worth reading, as long as you're willing to set aside some melodrama and coincidences and casual prejudices of the time. You can get most of her work free as e-books: Daniel Levine's version takes the form of Mr. Hyde's confession in which Mr. Hyde, who embodies evil in Stevenson's story, is in Levine's book the victim of the upper middle class Dr. Jekyll and his machinations.
Victorian London is beautifully recreated, especially in the small bits of material culture. The cloaks and the vials and foggy streets pull you in, but the thing that makes the book really work isn't the complexities of Levine's version of plots and twists but rather the pathos of Hyde's hunger for life. He has been powerfully repressed, and his world view is sadly limited.
He spent "their" childhood and youth three-quarters asleep, with limited experience, limited hopes and dreams-- yet he was a full sufferer with Jekyll in the grim abuse they were subject to as a boy. This plausible backstory gives a solid basis for the increasingly dark events and the dreamy horror that infuses Hyde's new freedom. I found myself feeling terribly sad for this unfinished man who knows suffering and the beginnings of pleasure, but can't hold on to them because of the "body" and because of the personality he shares it with.
I kept waiting for something to happen, the big reveal, and it never came. I felt sorry for the 'bad' kid named after the minister. And the minister came across as so righteous he got on my nerves.
When I have a reaction like this, so different from the rest of the world's, I start to wonder what's wrong with me! In doing some research for writing a possible mystery novel, I did a fast read of Nancy Drew: This was really badly written "Nancy Drew, a tall blonde girl of eighteen.. Although in reference to the latter, I have to say that I get it: Nancy was beloved of girls in the 's because of her perky sleuthing and how, while staying a lady, out-thinks and out-heros all the male characters.
In this one she even saves her father from a kidnapping. Too many people are crashing into their graves with their gifts still inside them. I am a firm believer that our main purpose on earth is to leave the world better than we found it. That painting, novel, or song you cannot stop thinking about— that is your purpose, create it now! Steven Pressfield is harsh, he nudges you along with tough love, he unveils and exposes all of the ways we sabotage or delay our progress as artists.
He builds up the grandness and necessity of your work of art and then he introduces us to 'Resistance' an opposing and equally grand force that looms over you every step of the way.
He states that "Its target is the epicenter of our being: I feel that by naming this force and describing its qualities with such detail he personifies it and in doing so he takes away its ethereal power, making it something we can overcome. Steven Pressfield gives you the courage to act on your visions, he makes you forget about all of the reasons why it won't work and highlights the one reason why it must, because your life and sanity depends on it.
All 12 are available as e-books. Thought about you and Politerature when I read this review of a new novel: Keefie by Ken Champion. Dump your creaky old stereotypes about spittin' and whittlin' and feudin' and fussin' and read some top notch short stories.
It's been a busy beginning of summer. I just finished teaching an online class with all the interesting work-in-progress that teaches me how prose narrative works.
My only problem with these online classes is that, unlike face-to-face teaching, they take the same sit-at-the-computer energy as writing and putting out newsletters. So it's been a while since I did However, lucky for me and those of you looking for books to read--I have a lot of help with reviews.
Also, be sure and take a look at t he new contemporary Appalachian story collection from Bottom Dog Press, Appalachia Now. The novel has remained in print for sixty-five years and is cited in many encyclopedias of Black literature. One of our members read the novel years ago and was not impressed by it. This review summarizes our reasons.
The quotes are verbatim opinions of some of the members. Published in , Beetlecreek has been in print for over half a century. At the same time, it powerfully addresses universal issues. Demby applies the theme in a unique way to the black experience and in a particular to blacks isolated in a small community.
It is a unique coming-of-age story about a Black teenage boy, his uncle, and an old White man. Trapp has lived as a hermit for years; and in the opening scene, he starts to chase away some Black boys who are stealing apples from his apple tree. An alternative title under which the novel was published at least once is Act of Outrage. And there are outrages of many kinds and at many levels in the story.
One of the most obvious is the outrage of racism. He decides to have a picnic for the local children, both Black and White. In the privacy of their shack, they look at pornographic pictures and masturbate. Though Johnny is reluctant to join in, his sexuality is part of the story, too. The page is from an anatomy book, but she and the adults who see the picture consider Trapp to be a pedophile. The story ends in violence and even greater betrayal, as well as questions about the destiny of all three main characters.
An only child born into a family of story-tellers, Pleska paid attention to the nuances of daily life. Like the proverbial "little pitcher with big ears" Pleska captured the life of her extended family.
She didn't always understand what she heard and saw, but like a camera obscura, she recorded it to ponder. The men drink and smoke too much but hold on to their repetitive jobs. They carouse, hunt, and fight with each other while the women bond and worry about the men and each other. Depression rears its ugly head. Little did they know the child in their midst would preserve their lives and share them with the world in a truthful, sometimes humorous way.
She recalls their superstitions, folk sayings, and quirky habits. One of the most humorous incidents related in the memoir is told first by the grandfather, then by the father, and finally by the daughter.
Each voice is unique and each version has its own flair. There are poignant chapters about the mundane realities of death: Pleska writes about the fears as well as the joys of childhood, about her father's life long curiosity and her mother's love of books. Thankfully, all the monsters under her bed proved imaginary and harmless and she survived to record this legacy of love.
Reading Mitch Levenberg fills me with despair. I wish I could write like Mitch Levenberg. In killer two-word sentences. With dark side-splitting humor. I wish I could be Mitch Levenberg. This reminds me of when I was a young art student and I wanted to be Matisse. But no matter how much I flattened out the nude model into great languorous shapes, no matter how I pared her down to essential sinuous lines, no matter how I surrounded her with decorative fabrics purchased at discount stores on 14th Street, no matter how I tyrannized my classmates putting her into odalisque poses, I couldn't be Matisse.
It was , not Abstract Expressionism had come and gone, the locomotive of art history had roared on to Conceptualism, which I didn't even like, and nobody cared about Matisse any more.
Furthermore, instead of being a fat old genius who lay in bed all day and drew on the walls with his charcoal attached to the end of a long stick, I was an ordinary girl of mediocre talent, who would never change the course of art history, who would have a few shows and a couple children, who would give up the art world in disgust and start a second career in an equally farfetched endeavor and write a novel that wouldn't be funny and dark like a Mitch Levenberg story but rather just another divorce story.
And even my divorce wouldn't have half the existential angst I see in every Mitch Levenberg paragraph. Maybe you have to be Jewish to have angst? Just a few minutes ago while reading Mitch Levenberg I was struck by the irresistible urge to write about Mitch Levenberg, but first I had to extricate my laptop from under the tray table in the middle seat of a cross-country Jet Blue flight.
Perched on the tray table next to my Kindle was of course a cup of hot coffee. Who can read Mitch Levenberg without being filled with a craving for hot coffee? In the words of Mitch Levenberg, "I always think coffee. First I think, 'Am I still breathing? Not always in that order. As I lifted the tray table a mere fraction of an inch and wrestled my laptop out from under my feet, naturally I spilled hot coffee on my lap. This excited the passenger beside me at the window seat, a woman my age who was doubtless familiar with rescuing beverages left in precarious positions by children and grandchildren, and she instinctively swooped in to grab my coffee.
Thus further humiliating me after an earlier humiliation when trying to lift my excessively heavy carry-on bag into the overhead bin, I resisted help from a kindly gentleman in the row in front of me and chose instead an elaborate acrobatic feat of climbing onto the armrest of a seat not even my own.
When I was still unable to raise my carry-on I finally acquiesced to the offer of help. My embarrassment was increased when I was sure I overheard the passengers in the row in front of me discussing the fact that I had nabbed a spot in the overhead bin that was in fact not my spot.
It was a row ahead of my spot. This I had done in an effort to stow my bag in front rather than behind my seat, so that I wouldn't have to wait for the entire plane to unload before retrieving my bag. So I move on to Mitch Levenberg's story "Redemption" because I am feeling in need of some redemption myself and I'm hoping to pick up some wisdom beyond just the wonderful effects of hot coffee. When I was in art school there was a lot of discussion about the word painterly, which we used rather a lot in critiques.
What do you mean, painterly, some combative fellow student would ask, probably a sculptor—the sculptors were all conceptual artists at the time. How can you make painter into an adjective? Is there a word sculptorly? I offer my ripost forty years later in writerly.
How his stories become characters as he presents them to an audience. While I think of my stories as my children—to be nurtured and supported and sent out into the world to stand on their own two feet—Mitch Levenberg thinks of his stories as lovers. He must prove himself worthy of them over and over, and only then will they reward him by delighting and seducing his audience, only then will they redeem him. Or would she find me out as the imposter I am.
Now that I have written my own version of a Mitch Levenberg story, I suggest you read the real thing. This novel of the London Blitz splendidly captures real life on the ground mostly through the eyes of a bright and creative working class boy. Young Keith's knowledge of what is going on is limited, but his experience leads us deep into a time and place— and the lives of ordinary people.
Part of what makes the book successful is the narrowness of this slice of reality: Keith painstakingly and with great artistic talent draws the various types of aircraft involved in the bombing and defense of London. He experiences almost nightly interruptions of sleep to go to the bomb shelter. Otherwise, his life and the lives of his friends are made of family, play, and conflict just like any child's. He has a proud worker father and a middle class-aspirational mother, along with a new baby brother.
Life on his street is full of urban games and neighbor kids and a lot of colorful aunts and uncles. I would have been satisfied to spend the novel in London with these people, hurrying down to the shelters when the air raid sirens go off, going back to bed when the all clear is rung.
There's a real beauty to the way the British defiantly continued their lives, the children hardly understanding at all why it was all happening, even a bright, imaginative boy like Keith. Keith is, however, sent to the countryside for his safety, where he lives with two Americans in a troubled marriage.
The male American, Robert, and the third adult in the household, Norman, are professors much given to discussions about sociology and psychology. They focus their attention on the psyche of poor Keith, whose father is perhaps distant and cool, but hardly anything out of the ordinary. In the end, all the brainy speculations of the adults collapses into the reality of life: Robert begins an affair with one of his students, the brilliant and beautiful daughter of an African diplomat, and Keith, in a misguided burst of racism and a desire to protect his adult friends, attacks her.
Meanwhile, the bombs fall in the rural areas, too, and in the end, everyone returns to London— as if that great city were for all of them, not only for Keith, the heart of human struggle. I've read stories about crime for years and no other books have had that kind of emotional effect on me. It's been weeks since I read this book and I still think about Katie every day. At the same time I think it is important to know that these brutal, senseless things do happen in America. This is really well written book.
I look forward to reading more William Van Meter in the future. I don't usually read true crime. I enjoyed this book. I couldn't put down. We were interested in this book because my son attended Western when it happened. We purchased it a few years ago, but loaned it and it was never returned. Wanted to read it again. I would recommend buying this, but if you know anything about this murder it is very disturbing to think any human can be so cruel.
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Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. The other 14 fire departments in Louisville-Jefferson County are taxing districts known collectively as the Jefferson County Fire Service. Louisville is home to several institutions of higher learning. The University of Louisville has had notable achievements including several hand transplants  and the world's first self-contained artificial heart transplant.
Two major graduate-professional schools of religion are also located in Louisville. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary , with more than 5, students, is the flagship institution of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was founded in Greenville, South Carolina, in and moved to Louisville in , occupying its present campus on Lexington Road in Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary , product of a merger of two predecessor schools founded at Danville, Kentucky in and in Louisville in , occupied its present campus on Alta Vista Road in According to the U.
Census , of Louisville's population over 25, The public school system, Jefferson County Public Schools , consists of more than , students in schools. The Kentucky School for the Blind , for all of Kentucky's blind and visually impaired students, is located on Frankfort Avenue in the Clifton neighborhood.
Louisville's newspaper of record is The Courier-Journal. The alternative paper is the progressive alt-weekly Louisville Eccentric Observer commonly called 'LEO' , which was founded by 3rd district U. Representative John Yarmuth D. This station was also formerly owned by the Binghams now iHeartMedia , and is a talk radio station which also broadcasts regional sports. As with most American cities, transportation in Louisville is based primarily on automobiles.
However, the city traces its foundation to the era where the river was the primary means of transportation , and railroads have been an important part of local industry for over a century.
In more recent times, Louisville has become an international hub for air cargo. Louisville has inner and outer interstate beltways, I and I respectively.
Since all three of these highways intersect at virtually the same location on the east side of downtown , this spot has become known as " Spaghetti Junction ".
Two bridges carry I and I over the Ohio River, and a third automobile bridge carries non-interstate traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Immediately east of downtown is the Big Four Bridge , a former railroad bridge now renovated as a pedestrian bridge. The Ohio River Bridges Project , a plan under consideration for decades to construct two new interstate bridges over the Ohio River to connect Louisville to Indiana, including a reconfiguration of Spaghetti Junction, began construction in The airport is also home to UPS 's Worldport global air hub.
The historic but smaller Bowman Field is used mainly for general aviation while nearby Clark Regional Airport is used mostly by private jets. The locks were constructed to allow shipping past the Falls of the Ohio. In over 55 million tons of commodities passed through the locks. In addition to regular city buses, transit throughout the downtown hotel and shopping districts is served by a fleet of zero-emissions buses called ZeroBus.
In late , these vehicles replaced the series of motorized trolleys known as the Toonerville II Trolley. Louisville has historically been a major center for railway traffic. Today the city is served by two major freight railroads, CSX with a major classification yard in the southern part of the metro area and Norfolk Southern. Five major main lines connect Louisville to the rest of the region. Two regional railroads, the Paducah and Louisville Railway and the Louisville and Indiana Railroad , also serve the city.
With the discontinuance of the stop in Louisville in for a more northerly route between New York and Chicago, the Kentucky Cardinal no longer serves the city; it is thus the fifth largest city in the country with no passenger rail service. In Walk Score ranked Louisville 43rd "most walkable" of U. Water is provided by the Louisville Water Company , which provides water to more than , residents in Louisville as well as parts of Oldham and Bullitt counties.
Additionally, they provide wholesale water to the outlying counties of Shelby , Spencer and Nelson. The Ohio River provides for most of the city's source of drinking water. Water is drawn from the river at two points: Payne Pump Station northeast of Harrods Creek. Water is also obtained from a riverbank infiltration well at the Payne Plant. There are also two water treatment plants serving the Louisville Metro area: Important events occurring in the city have included the first large space lighted by Edison's light bulb which occurred during the Southern Exposition.
At the time, in , the largest such installation to date. Also, Louisville had the first library open to African Americans in the South,   and medical advances including the first human hand transplant  and the first self-contained artificial heart transplant.
Louisville has nine sister cities as of In addition, Leeds has been recognized as a "friendship city". The two cities have engaged in many cultural exchange programs, particularly in the fields of nursing and law, and cooperated in several private business developments, including the Frazier History Museum.
On April 15, , it was announced that Louisville would be twinned with the town of Bushmills in Northern Ireland. The two places share a tradition for the distilling of whiskey. The choice of Louisville came after a search of U.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Louisville disambiguation and Gateway to the South album. Consolidated city-county in Kentucky, United States. Louisville, Kentucky, in the American Civil War. Geography of Louisville, Kentucky. Cityscape of Louisville, Kentucky. Downtown Louisville ; Neighborhoods in Louisville, Kentucky ; List of parks in the Louisville metropolitan area ; and List of tallest buildings in Louisville.
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. June Learn how and when to remove this template message. Unless otherwise noted, all demographics refer to the consolidated Louisville Metro, including the separately incorporated cities within it.
Religion in Louisville, Kentucky. Economy of Louisville, Kentucky. List of attractions and events in the Louisville metropolitan area. List of museums in the Louisville metropolitan area and List of attractions and events in the Louisville metropolitan area.
Performing arts in Louisville, Kentucky. Theater in Kentucky and List of attractions and events in the Louisville metropolitan area. Sports in Louisville, Kentucky. Historical professional sports teams in Louisville. List of parks in the Louisville metropolitan area and List of attractions and events in the Louisville metropolitan area. Government of Louisville, Kentucky. Media in Louisville, Kentucky. Transportation in Louisville, Kentucky. Roads in Louisville, Kentucky. List of people from the Louisville metropolitan area.
List of University of Louisville people. This replaced a system in which cities were divided into six classes, nominally by population. For more information, see Threadex. Retrieved June 11, A Beginner's Guide to Louisville". The Virgin Atlantic Blog. Retrieved August 10, Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South: University Press of Kentucky. View of downtown Louisville, Kentucky, with buildings submerged by floodwater.
Neon sign on top of building reads: Forde, Pat September 10, United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 12, Retrieved August 16, Retrieved July 12, Office of the Secretary of State. Accessed September 19, Gazetteer file for Kentucky counties Jefferson County ". Retrieved August 26, Retrieved June 23, Retrieved March 31, Archived from the original on November 11, Retrieved November 11, Archived from the original PDF on June 30, Retrieved August 19, American Legal Publishing Corporation.
Retrieved August 22, Archived from the original on February 15, Kentucky Frontiersman, Hero, and Founder of Louisville".
Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on April 25, Retrieved July 19, Two Hundred Years at the Fall of the Ohio: A History of Louisville and Jefferson County 2nd ed. Retrieved July 30, Archived from the original on July 30, The Journal of Southern History. Retrieved October 10, In Kleber, John E. The Encyclopedia of Louisville.
Archived from the original on June 4, Earliest Census to ". Archived from the original on August 6, Retrieved April 21, The Journal of Economic History. Retrieved February 6, Retrieved December 14, Archived from the original on November 27, Archived from the original on September 29, Retrieved July 28, Valley has city united". Retrieved August 15, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Retrieved June 9, Archived from the original on May 12, Retrieved September 16, Retrieved March 15, April 1, to July 1, ". Archived from the original CSV on August 24, Retrieved June 25, Retrieved October 21, Retrieved April 22, Ports for " PDF. Army Corps of Engineers. Archived from the original PDF on January 20, Retrieved September 29, Archived from the original on February 19, Retrieved February 20,
From friends, from students in my classes, from these newsletters, from other books and publications-- I discover books to read. My latest are an old American novel Anne by Constance Fenimore Woolson, a novel called Hyde by Daniel Levine (spun off the old Stevenson novella "The Strange History of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"), plus a book of poems, Driving with the Dead by Jane Hicks. Bluegrass: A True Story of Murder in Kentucky [William Van Meter] on www.playnewzealandgolf.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A shocking investigation into a true crime that tore a town apart—the violent murder of a young coed in Kentucky. Welcome to www.playnewzealandgolf.com! Thank you for visiting our site dedicated to strip clubs. Our goal is to be the best place for information, news, and reviews about gentlemen's clubs on the Internet and we want YOU to join us!