Biltmore and the Vanderbilts

Photo by Dillon Groves on Unsplash

The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan

Some books I appreciate for their plot. Some for their character development. In others, I’m awed by the scope of the story, and sometimes I’m fascinated by the uniqueness of the concept.

Denise Kiernan’s nonfiction book, The Last Castle, wowed me with the enormity of its research. Beginning in the…

Pulitzer Winner Accused of Plagiarism — Twice

Alex Haley, Author of Roots: “Alex Haley Heritage Square — Knoxville, TN” by (aka Brent) is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Publication of Roots

Forty-five years ago, August 17, 1976, Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley was published by Doubleday and shot straight into the hearts of the people. …


Amazon Prime & Rapunzel

Rapunzel waiting in her castle. Photo: Shutterstock

Was Amazon’s New Ad Targeting Me?

When was the last time you laughed out loud when you saw a commercial?

It happened to me today, a commercial so perfectly executed to hit my funny bone and my belief system that when I saw it, I laughed out loud. …

Nandini Patwardhan’s book

Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Radical Spirits: India’s First Woman Doctor and Her American Champions

I admit it. This was a different kind of book for me to read, but when a friend of a friend wrote it and it was nominated for a nonfiction award, I knew I wanted to get it.

I am so glad I did. Reading Radical Spirits expanded my understanding…

The current state of covers

Photo by Pj Accetturo on Unsplash

Saturday morning seduction

When I was young, my dad would take my sister and me to the library on a Saturday morning — just for fun. We were a reading family and got a thrill from picking our stack of books for next week’s reads.

My sister and I would run downstairs to…

The blaze that burns within

Photo by Ryan Cryar on Unsplash

“White-Hot and Passionate…”

It’s a quote I keep pinned in front of my desk where I can look at it daily:

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace…

Stretching the bibliophile’s budget

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

If you’re a bibliophile with a limited budget, you know how hard it is to cover your book purchases when you have to have a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear….not to mention insurance, internet, transportation, utilities, appliances, cleaning products, and home maintenance.

I’m not where…

I’m failing my own Pulitzer Project

Photo by Hans-Jürgen Weinhardt on Unsplash

Do you make reading goals?

Every year, (heck…every month, every day) I vow to read more. My New Year’s Resolutions, for decades on end, have included the phrase, “Read More.” I have a passion for human stories and interesting innovations. History fascinates me. Science intrigues me. Books turn me on. …

Mating, molting, and the joy of making music every 17 years

Holes made by emerging periodic cicadas in Central Illinois. Photo: Melissa Gouty

“Listen. Just Listen.”

I stepped outside and walked into the yard on a late May day. Finally, after a cool, rainy spring, the weather was beginning to warm and the sun was starting to shine. My husband ran up to me, smiling, pulling the headphones off my head, saying,

“Listen. Just listen. …

Great publicity for around $50

Book cover postcards: Photo by Melissa Gouty

Book cover art as postcard promotion

You spent hours deciding on your book cover. You may have paid to have it professionally designed. You might have done it yourself, playing with color, font, spacing. Deciding how big to make your name.

But no matter how it came to be, your book cover is the best way…

Melissa Gouty

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Creative content for the literary world. Follow me at, Twitter, or Facebook.

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