Sunday miscellany

  • FloridaCurrently Reading: I’ve finally gotten around to reading Lauren Groff’s Florida (2018), a collection eleven well-crafted stories set in the state where I grew up. I like the stories’ strange characters. The New York Times called the stories “haunting,” and they certainly are that. 
  • Are We Learning Anything in School? Jesse Watters, a conservative commentator, interviewed a bunch of people on the street for Veterans Day in a manner similar to what Jay Leno used to do on the Tonight Show. He asked such questions as “Who did we fight in World War II,” “Who bombed Pearl Harbor?” “Who did we fight in the revolutionary war?” and othe facts that seem basic to understanding the country from a history and civics point of view. There were a lot of wrong answers. Too many. Watters and I don’t agree on many things, but my take on this poor showing of knowledge is that it demonstrates one of the reasons everything is so polarized: we don’t seem to have a common base of information.
  • May be an image of 5 people, people standing and outdoorsLiving Jackson Magazine. This short-lived Georgia magazine brought great articles with high production values and crisp writing to the readers of Jefferson, Georgia in the northeast section of the state. I wrote most of the magazine’s book reviews, focusing on local and regional authors. I felt a bit of nostalgia when I came across this old photograph that appeared with an article on Georgia writers, “A Truck Load of Authors” published in 2006. When I posted this picture on Facebook this past week, that 1961 Studebaker pickup truck got more attention than the people.
  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone: A Novel (Outlander Book 9)Diana Gabadon: When Diana published the first of the nine novels (counting the one about to be released) in 1991, we were both members of the CompuServe Literary Forum. She posted snippets of Outlander (the first novel) on the forum and these created a lot of discussions about writing. The books are long, detailed, and require a great deal of research. However, I don’t think any of us thought then that the series would still be in progress thirty years later. Go Tell The Bees That I’m Gone comes out on November 23. I appreciate her work as well as the fact that as long as the forum was active, the help that she offered the aspiring writers there was a godsend. I was lucky to meet her once at a book signing in Atlanta. Plus, she wrote a blurb for one of my novels!

Have a great week.

Malcolm

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