Archive - September 2015

1
Review — Ripples in the Pond by Michael Stake (India 1966–68)
2
Novel Writing 101–What Genre Is Your Novel? #1
3
Review: AD NAUSEAM by Jeff Koob (Jamaica)
4
RPCV Oral History collection at the John F. Kennedy Library: Update
5
George Packer (Togo 1982-84) in recent issues of The New Yorkers
6
New books by Peace Corps writers — August 2015
7
An Open Letter to Readers of Our Website
8
Review of Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) Novel Forty Wolves

Review — Ripples in the Pond by Michael Stake (India 1966–68)

  Ripples in the Pond: Reflections of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from India by Michael Stake (India 1966–68) Inkwell Productions, 2014 371 pages $17.00 (paperback), $8.00 (Kindle) Reviewed by Barbara E. Joe (Honduras 2000–03) • ALL PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS HAVE a story to tell — a highly personal series of adventures to share. Thankfully, many are contributing to an archive about this unique historical experiment, with which fellow Volunteers can compare and contrast with their own experiences. Michael Stake has added his memoir, dating back to Peace Corps’ earliest days, a very readable book about that heady time when the agency was still feeling its way. Much has changed since, including less-ready acceptance of non-college graduates and no more assignments in India, where Stake was sent as a neophyte Agriculture Volunteer and where President Carter’s mother Lillian also served. Stake interrupts his college career to join because of uncertainty . . .

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Novel Writing 101–What Genre Is Your Novel? #1

Novel Writing 101 Session One This short series of blogs will be on writing your novel. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post Novel Writing 101, blogs on writing and publishing your novel. All of you who were smart enough to major in business or international affairs or science while in college now have a chance to take an on-line creative writing course. If you are thinking of writing a novel, here’s a quick course ( no credits, but it is free!) on how you might go about writing your book. We will begin with What Genre Is Your Novel? What Genre Is Your Novel? We’re all drawn to certain genres. In fact, some of us only read one type of novel. What are the books that you read? There are basically two types of fiction when it comes to novels: Genre Fiction and Literary Fiction. We’re going to focus . . .

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Review: AD NAUSEAM by Jeff Koob (Jamaica)

Ad Nauseam: How Advertising And Public Relations Changed Everything by Jeff  Koob (Jamaica 1991–93) iUniverse March 2015 196 pages $16.95 (paperback), $3.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Gerald Karey (Turkey 1965–67) • “If you read no other book this year, read Jeff Koob’s Ad Nauseam. It will change your life.” There you have it: the hyperbole and the promise to make you a better you, a claim I can’t possibly substantiate. It’s advertising. It’s propaganda. “Propagandists use emotion and unfounded assertions rather than logic and fact, selecting emotionally loaded words and images to create a desired feeling, or combining facts and half-truths or outright lies — with emotional triggers,” Koob writes. “Many ads are unburdened by anything resembling truth.” Most Americans, if asked, would say propaganda is something that happens elsewhere, Koob writes. “We’re so steeped in propaganda techniques that most of us don’t notice them in advertising and public relations campaigns.” . . .

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RPCV Oral History collection at the John F. Kennedy Library: Update

One of the many hidden treasures of Peace Corps history is the RPCV Oral History Collection at the JFK Library, begun more than fifteen years ago by RPCV Robert Klein,(Ghana I). Bob interviewed members of Ghana I for his book, Being First: An Informal History of the Early Peace Corps Robert Klein (Ghana 1961-63) Wheatmark, 2010* and realized how valuable those taped interviews were. He decided to expand to interview as many RPCVs as possible, at his own expense. For years, he crisscrossed the country, interviewing RPCVs and teaching them how to interview others. The JFK Library agreed to archive the tapes. There are now APPROXIMATELY 400 individual RECORDED interviews, one to three hours long. Years of service represented go from 1961 through 2015. All RPCVs may participate. Sadly, Bob died in 2012.  His partner, RPCV Phyllis Noble, (Nigeria 65-67) has continued his work. In an email, Phyllis wrote: “I’m delighted . . .

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George Packer (Togo 1982-84) in recent issues of The New Yorkers

The two recent The New Yorker magazines (August 31st & September 7th) contain articles by George Packer (Togo 1982-84), both worth reading. In the August issue is a long, long piece entitled “The Other France” that is subtitled, Are the suburbs of Paris incubators of terrorism? The article goes onto saying that “Although the alienated, impoverished immigrant communities outside Paris are increasingly prone to anti-Semitism, the profiles of French jihadists don’t track closely with class. Many of them have come from bourgeois families.” The second piece is a short The Talk of the Town comment entitled “The Populists” that begins with a 1910 quote from Thomas E. Watson, a populist from Georgia, who had a long demagogic career in American politics. Packer writes that Watson “ended his career, as a U.S. senator, whipping up white-Protestant enmity against blacks, Catholics, and Jews.” (Does this sound like someone we know today?) Watson . . .

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New books by Peace Corps writers — August 2015

To purchase any of these books from Amazon.com, click on the book cover, the bold book title, or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support the site and the annual Peace Corps Writers awards. • Autobiography of a Black Sheep Eddie James Girdner (India 1968–70) CreateSpace August, 2015 482 pages $16.95 (paperback) . • Historical Ecology of Malaria in Ethiopia: Deposing the Spirits James C. McCann (Ethiopia 1973–75) Ohio University Press June 2015 216 pages $75.00 (hard cover), $26.40 (paperback), $14.39 (Kindle) . • Travel Tales of a Feisty Fifty-something: All Roads Lead Home Joanne  Nussbaum (Mongolia 2010–12) BookBaby January 2015 116 pages $3.99 (Kindle) . • How to Write a Novel (a novel) Melanie Sumner (Senegal 1988–90) Vintage August, 2015 304 pages $14.95 (paperback), $7.99 (Kindle), $29.95 (MP3 CD) • The Peace Corps, . . .

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An Open Letter to Readers of Our Website

The editor and publisher of Peace Corps Worldwide have decided to narrow the focus of this blog, and limit articles to only those pertaining to the written works by PCVs and RPCVs, and those about the Peace Corps itself — much as was the case in the past when we began producing the newsletter RPCV Writers & Readers in 1989, and subsequently the website Peace Corps Writers. This decision is based on the fact that with 50+ years of the Peace Corps, numerous books and other works are being published by RPCV writers, and we are overwhelmed with material, need to sharpen our attention, and bring the purpose of the site back to our original efforts to fulfill the Third Goal. We especially appreciate, and thank, all of those RPCVs who have written blogs for Peace Corps Worldwide outside these criteria that we have discontinued, but it is time for . . .

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Review of Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978-80) Novel Forty Wolves

Border Crossing, an annual online literary and arts journal, has published a review of Mark Jacobs’ Forty Wolves in their Fall 2015 (vol. 5) issue: Forty Wolves by Mark Jacobs reviewed by Audrey Hutchison Mark Jacobs’ novel, Forty Wolves (Talisman House, 2010), is a story of intrigue and international politics. Since his service abroad in the Peace Corps, Jacobs has written five books, two story collections and three novels, including the critically acclaimed A Handful of Kings (Simon and Schuster, 2004). Jacobs has had over 100 stories published in various magazines, such as The Atlantic and The Southern Review. Border Crossing has published two of his stories:  “Reading the Cup” (vol. 2) and “What She Wants, What She Gets” (in the current issue). Like “Reading the Cup” and many of Jacobs’ other stories, Forty Wolves has an international setting. The novel begins when Christofo Alessi, an American man, is told by his dying mother that his . . .

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