Tag Archives: American Literature

How Extravagant! My Christmas Present to Myself! Everything My Hero Ever Wrote!

[an “aside” in a stage whisper:] “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”–Erasmus, 1469-1536 Mark Twain is the funniest, most original, wholly American literary genius this country has … Continue reading

Posted in American Literature, Humor, Literary Classics, Literary Lions, Literature | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

THE ART OF MEMOIR by Mary Karr (author of The Liar’s Club)

[NOTE: Having just finished editing two massive and interesting/ well written memoirs, ‘The Art of Memoir’ by Mary Karr is of immense interest to me. Questions are raised that can’t be answered conclusively, yet they must be raised. Very intelligent … Continue reading

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Why Every Writer Needs a Good Copy Edit – Great Advice from Freelancers Union!

My lovable, esteemed writing colleagues, most of you know by now that in addition to being an “author” (more than 20 books so far, about half of them ghostwritten on a contract basis for public figures), I am also a … Continue reading

Posted in book critics, Effective persuasive writing, freelance writers, novelists, online communication, poets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“Long Ago and Far Away in a Kingdom by the Sea” – Poe, perhaps America’s most Musical and Cadenced Poet

Annabel Lee By Edgar Allan Poe It was many and many a year ago,    In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know    By the name of Annabel Lee; And this maiden she lived … Continue reading

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“The Frog in my Boot by the Door” a prose poem

Note: I have been so busy editing books for other writers that I have had almost no time to do my regular blogging.  I hope you’ll forgive me dear friends, but I have come up with sort of a makeshift … Continue reading

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“It all comes out of that first line.”– E.L. Doctorow, 1931-2015

Writing advice and memories from prolific, revered literary American Novelist, E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime, The March, Billy Bathgate and more!) From The New York Times (with video interview!) E. L. Doctorow: 1931-2015   (link) By Emily B. Hager | Jul. 22, … Continue reading

Posted in American Literature, American novels, Book Reviews, fiction, Literary Lions, Literature, New Yorl Times Book Review, NYTBR, publishing | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Omit needless words!”–William Strunk Jr.

Patient blogging, book-loving followers, I have just finished editing a 385 page manuscript, and I am here to report that such a long editorial stint is corrosive to one’s own writing. Many of you may be aware that I wear … Continue reading

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Best American Novels? from The American Scholar

[Something to argue about.] One Hundred Best American Novels, 1770 to 1985 (a Draft) A reading enthusiast’s list By David Handlin Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on reddit Share on email About a year ago I put an … Continue reading

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Cold? “The Snowman” by Wallace Stevens – that’s cold

The Snow Man WALLACE STEVENS One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The … Continue reading

Posted in American Literature, Literature, poetry | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

So here we go again! NYT “10 Best Books of 2014”

Something to argue about or totally ignore (NYT) The year’s best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. We should be so grateful for this priceless direction. The Times used to have the best readers/critics … Continue reading

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The Authors William Faulkner Consistently Returned to

Originally posted on Biblioklept:
Unidentified participant: Sir, when you are reading for your own pleasure, which authors do you consistently return to? William Faulkner: The ones I came to love when I was eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old. Moby-Dick, the…

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The Ongoing Angst of Culling My Library – Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter

My long-suffering bibliomaniac followers have endured several of my white knuckled announcements of this or that treasured title that has to take a hike to a new home. Now I’ve stumbled on something I’d forgotten I’d had and darn well … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Elizabeth Hardiwick, Literature, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Reading, The Flowering Judas, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Thanks!” Let’s Mean It When We Say It!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, GUYS! A wee bit of social criticism on our Thanksgiving customs from a renowned poet– “Thanks” W. S. Merwin, 1927 Listen with the night falling we are saying thank you we are stopping on the bridges to bow … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Literature, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments


The following is an excerpt from a much loved Christmas story from my huge anthology of American Christmas classics HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: BEST LOVED STORIES OF ALL TIME now on sale as a Black Friday Special for 99 cents! Christmas … Continue reading

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THE LONG SHADOW: Flannery O’Connor’s Masterful Use of Dread and Foreboding in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

Copyright © 2014 by Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved. THE LONG SHADOW Scholars and critics have poured over O’Connor’s amazing literary achievement in her story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” for decades. The power and inevitability of the … Continue reading

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“The grandmother did not want to go to Florida.” Flannery O’Connor’s Mastery of the Short Story Form

(c) Copyright 2014,  Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved. “The grandmother did not want to go to Florida” is the first line in O’Connor’s short story masterpiece, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” It is a masterful opening line in … Continue reading

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Skeered to Death! The Headless Horseman Rides Again!

     It never fails, every October, in advance of Halloween, I think of this nightmarish freak featured so prominently in Washington Irving‘s timeless tale THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. What a rip roaring hair-raising tale for kids of all ages … Continue reading

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“By Night when Others Soundly Slept”

  I had an fairly elaborate post in the works for National Poetry Day, but alas, life intervened and blew it out of the water for the time being.  I will finish it and post it later, but I ran … Continue reading

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