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books to read
music for your eyes::

"I'm always making
a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I've been."
- Billie Holiday

If you listen
to serious blues and jazz
and are looking to read
about one of the
greatest legends in music,
Word Smitten editors
suggest you begin
with this book by Farah Griffin, an author whose own sense of style, witty observations, and
thoughtful correlations
about today's artists and the legendary Billie Holiday are bringing new insight to this celebrated and elegant woman's singing career. Like Ms. Griffin, we are great fans of Lady Day.

If You Can't Be Free, Be A Mystery:
In Search of Billie Holiday

By Farah Jasmine Griffin

Hardcover: 288 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.86 x 9.56 x 6.43
Publisher: Free Press; (May 2001)
ISBN: 0684868083

Excerpt from a Publishers Weekly review:
"This rumination on the famous jazz singer is a mix of hagiography, music appreciation and criticism of past biographers, yet on its own terms, it works.

Griffin is determined not to see Holiday as a tragic victim. Probably the best-known book about Holiday is her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, written "with" William Dufty (Griffin claims that Dufty actually created the book from talks and previously published interviews with Holiday).

Griffin repeatedly points out errors in that work (e.g., it opens claiming that when Holiday was born, her mother was only 13, when in fact she was 19) and speculates as to why such errors might have been made intentionally (e.g., to portray her mother not as promiscuous but rather as the young victim of an older man).

Griffin writes in a pleasant, easy tone, and many of her observations about the litany of notorious stereotypes applied to Holiday are astute... Griffin compares Holiday to other artists, like Bessie Smith, L'il Kim and Mary J. Blige, only to decide that none can compete with Holiday." Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Griffin's agent is Loretta Barrett.
::More on Billie Holiday::
Poetry~Saint Billie

Suddenly it's summer and time for flash fiction. For writers who are not yet familiar with the form of fiction known as "flash" or "sudden" fiction, we recommend this book (on the the publisher's backlist, but very available):

Flash Fiction - 72 Very Short Stories
Edited by James Thomas, Denise Thomas and Tom Hazuka
1992 / paperback / ISBN 0-393-30883-9
W. W. Norton & Company Inc.

It's Word Smitten's recommended read. More praise:

"Flash Fiction is purely and simply a delight. Lots of stars are mustered here, but best of all for my money are the newer names and voices that speak well to and for the future." —George Garrett, Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing, University of Virginia
Word Smitten recommends "Flash Fiction" by James Thomas, et al

Recommended excerpts from the book:

By Margaret Atwood

August Evening
By Joyce Carol Oates

The Widow
By John Updike

[James and Denise Thomas live in Ohio, where he teaches at Wright State University. Tom Hazuka teaches in the English Department at Central Connecticut State University.]

Looking to read an excerpt?
Don't know which book to buy?Word Smitten recommends BookBrowse

We recommend BookBrowse.com for a great read and for up-to-date book launch information.

Looking for knowledgable book proprietors? We suggest supporting local independent bookstores. We do.

Word Smitten is a proud supporter and member of CLMP.

Native Shore Fiction (Short Stories)
Archived submissions: Honorable Mention from last year's Storycove writers and the winning entry for Storycove and for The 1010 Fiction.


Read our exclusive interview with
Book Editor Brenda Copeland, who says,
“Atria has all the energy, enthusiasm, and imagination of a start-up with the tradition and the muscle of Simon & Schuster.”

Interviews Book Editor Brenda Copeland & Agent Eric Simonoff
Short Stories/Flash Fiction Motion & Definition of a Russian Quartet
Commentary Tips for Writers
Flash Fiction Competition The Storycove - Next year's deadline is May 1, 2004
Short Story Competition The TenTen - $1,010 award - TBA soon - Fall Edition!
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