American Writer Spotlight: Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald is a complicated woman, no matter how you slice it. She’s been painted as both the hawkish wife who is the downfall of her husband and the thwarted creative spirit; both the inspiration for the Eagles’ “Witchy Woman” and a victim of the patriarchal views of the time that frustrated her artistic […]

Giving Back to Our Favorite Writers

American literature and I have had a rocky relationship, and I hope you’ll bear with me as I tell you about it. I’ll admit, I am more likely to turn to British or Russian fiction when I have the time to read for pleasure. The first Steinbeck I ever read, Of Mice and Men, I […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 10

Virginia – Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron (1951) Published when he was just 26 years old, William Styron’s first novel immediately launched him to literary fame, receiving extremely enthusiastic reviews. Following the dysfunctional Loftis family, this Virginia-set novel borrowed numerous elements from Styron’s childhood hometown in Newport News, Virginia. Washington – The Absolutely […]

Reading Writers’ Letters & Diaries: What’s the Draw?

When we are young, our diaries and journals are filled with the silly and the dramatic, heartbreak and humor. Our letters to pen pals and grandmothers are much of the same, recounting our adventures and missed opportunities, sharing our crushes and cringe-worthy moments. But at some point in our lives, our private notes and correspondence […]

Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Horrors of Salem

On images of the Salem Witch Trials in historical romance, horror, and collective memory. Nathaniel Hawthorne famously complained, in the Preface to his novel The Marble Faun (1859), about “the difficulty of writing a romance about a country where there is no shadow, no antiquity, no mystery, no picturesque and gloomy wrong.” It’s easy, and […]

50 States, 50 Novels – Part 9

South Dakota – The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1940) Laura Ingalls Wilder’s much-celebrated Little House series started out entirely in the realm of children’s literature, but as the series progressed it gradually became darker and its focus began to drift more towards adult literature. The Long Winter is right on the cusp of […]