Archive - July 2014

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Addiction
2
Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65) story in The New Yorker
3
Peace Corps Removing Volunteers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Two PCVs Exposed
4
The NY Times on Jason Carter (S Africa 1998–2000) and his grandfather
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Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996-97) writes about Wm. T. Vollmann
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Travels with Benjamín
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Wise words for new authors
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Review: Church of the Adagio: Poems by Philip Dacey (Nigeria 1963–65)
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US Pulls Peace Corps Volunteers From Kenya
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Gwyn Hyman Rubio (Costa Rica 1971–73) has new novel coming out

Addiction

We’re hooked. We just watched another episode of House of Cards. I could sit and watch it for hours, but I’d feel guilty spending so much time sitting on my duff watching television. The thing is – we just signed up for Netflix, but the story of addiction began a couple of months ago before the start of the World Soccer Cup. My husband bought one of those “smart” TVs, the better with which to watch the soccer matches. With the World Cup behind us, my TV life returned to normal, which is an hour or so a day to keep up with the news on the Chilean channels and CNN, and “The Big Bang Theory” if I happen to catch it. When I heard our three granddaughters were coming to spend the day this week, I suggested to my husband we sign up for Netflix. The girls, on their . . .

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Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963–65) story in The New Yorker

Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65) has a new story in the August 4, 2014 issue of The New Yorker entitled, “Action” which is one of the stories in the collection  he will publish in October entitled, Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories. In the New Yorker John Updike is quoted as saying that  Mr. Bones exhibits Theroux’s “fluent, faintly sinister powers of vision and imagination.” To pre-order Mr. Bones from Amazon.com, click on the book cover or the bold book title  — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support our annual writers awards.

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Peace Corps Removing Volunteers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Two PCVs Exposed

Peace Corps has issued the following press release: WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2014 – The Peace Corps today announced that it is temporarily removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea due to the increasing spread of the Ebola virus. The agency has been and will continue to closely monitor the outbreak of the virus in collaboration with leading experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State. The Peace Corps has enjoyed long partnerships with the government and people of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and is committed to continuing volunteers’ work there. A determination on when volunteers can return will be made at a later date. In recent months, the Peace Corps has provided volunteers in adjacent areas of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea with guidance to ensure they take the utmost precautions to protect their health. Transmission of Ebola . . .

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The NY Times on Jason Carter (S Africa 1998–2000) and his grandfather

The New York Times ran a lengthy, front-page article in its Sunday edition (7/27/14) about Peace Corps writer Jason Carter (South Africa 1998–2000) who is the Democratic candidate for Governor in Georgia, and the close relationship he has with his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter. The article relates that Jason was advised to join the Peace Corps by his grandfather. In 2002, Jason published his memoir of his Peace Corps experience, Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa’s Borders (National Geographic Society) and in 2003 the book won the Peace Corps Writers Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award. Read “Grandson Proudly Squirms in Carter’s Footsteps” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, for insight into the special bond between these two men.

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Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996-97) writes about Wm. T. Vollmann

The August issue of New Republic carries a long (and engaging) piece by Tom Bissell (Uzbekistan 1996–97) entitled, “You Are Now Entering The Demented Kingdom of William T. Vollmann.” Vollmann, as Tom writes, “has been churning out thick, conceptually audacious books faster than New York publishing could keep pace. From 1987 through 1993, for instance, Vollmann published eight books through five difference houses.” It turns out that Tom Bissell first came upon Vollmann’s vast outpouring when he was 26 and an assistant at Henry Holt. Vollmann had sent in his manuscript, Rising Up and Rising Down, on compact disks that translated into 3,800 pages of paper Tom had to print out for his editor. In an interview with Vollman this year, Bissell appears to have been taken back by the strangeness of the man who, among other things, was listed as a Unabomber suspect. Vollmann found out that only when . . .

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Travels with Benjamín

Colombia. 1966. Twenty-three and, seasoned by our two year Peace Corps stint, we were cocky, confident and keen on adventure.  Barbara, Noel and I decided to wend our way back to the United States via Central America and Mexico.  My friends were posted together in the interior; I was on the coast.  We wrote back and forth. “I’m not sure I’m ready for the U.S. yet — after this.” “Me, neither.  I have no idea what I want to do when I get back”. “Let’s just take off.  We can stop to visit Faye in Costa Rica.” “I’ve heard Guatemala is fantastic.” Unburdened by timetables, itineraries or reservations, we would first fly to the island of San Andrés, a Colombian possession in the Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua.  From there we’d travel by any cheap means available. We gave no thought to political unrest, lurking terrorists or precarious modes . . .

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Wise words for new authors

A couple of days ago Brooke Warner at Huffington Post posted an article listing mistakes new writers shouldn’t make. They are: 1. Believing what they want to hear. 2. Not taking advantage of every available digital platform. 3. Deciding that they don’t need a marketing campaign, or starting one too late. 4. Believing that more is better. 5. Going renegade. 6. Not doing enough research on who they’re publishing with. 7. Believing that “traditional” is better, no matter what. 8. Failing to get sample product. 9. Not hiring professionals. 10. Choosing a print run over print-on-demand (POD). NOW, go to “The 10 Biggest Mistakes New Authors Make” to read the whys.

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Review: Church of the Adagio: Poems by Philip Dacey (Nigeria 1963–65)

Church of the Adagio: Poems by Philip Dacey (Nigeria 1963-65) Rain Mountain Press $15.00 95 pages June 2014 Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) Reading Philip Dacey’s poems is like having a conversation with a funny, sophisticated, and insightful friend. You’re laughing, you’re nodding in appreciation, you’re saying, “A-ha. I never saw things that way, but-wow-you’re right.” And you don’t want to say goodbye anytime soon. If you pick up Dacey’s new collection of poems, I guarantee you will: 1. Laugh. At, for example, a poem about a llama who shows up in Dacey’s driveway. “I was all stammer and gawk and disbelief,” Dacey writes. When the llama ventures into the middle of the road, however, Dacey must act: . . . I saw the headline, “Llama killed by truck.” Dropping the rake, I raced to rescue him, who now stood frozen, straddling the centerline, looking this way and that-oh, too much . . .

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US Pulls Peace Corps Volunteers From Kenya

ABC News is reporting an AP story that Peace Corps has pulled Volunteers from Kenya.  Here is the link: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/us-pulls-peace-corps-volunteers-kenya-24696220?singlePage=true Here is the AP story:  Please note that there is an error in giving the beginning of the Peace Corps.  It was President Kennedy, not Senator Kennedy, who initiated the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961 by Executive Order. “NAIROBI, Kenya — Jul 24, 2014, 1:05 PM ET By JASON STRAZIUSO Associated Press The Peace Corps is suspending its programs in Kenya because of security concerns and is pulling more than 50 volunteers out of the country until threat levels decrease, the Peace Corps and State Department said Thursday. A statement to The Associated Press from the State Department said that the Peace Corps “has been closely monitoring the security environment in Kenya … and has decided to officially suspend the program in Kenya.” The Peace Corps will monitor the security . . .

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Gwyn Hyman Rubio (Costa Rica 1971–73) has new novel coming out

Gwyn Hyman Rubio’s newest novel will be published in October. Entitled Love & Ordinary Creatures. Gwyn’s website says this about the book: Love and Ordinary Creatures is told through the eyes of a cockatoo in love with his very human caretaker. Snatched in a net from his Australian homeland as a young parrot, Caruso has adapted to captivity and has learned the lessons of love from his previous owner, Theodore Pinter, who was obsessively fixated on his childhood sweetheart. Now in his new home with the beautiful and talented Clarissa, Caruso has found both love and happiness—until a handsome stranger arrives in town and sets his sights on Clarissa. Smart, passionate, and wildly inventive, Caruso strives to put his human rival in his place before he steals Clarissa away for good. Set in the early 1990s in the quaint seashore town of Ocracoke, North Carolina, Love and Ordinary Creatures is . . .

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