Friday, November 30, 2012

TCR Story of the Month for November: An Intrusion by Tim Wirkus

Tim Wirkus
The Committee Room is proud to present "An Intrusion" by Tim Wirkus as TCR Story of the Month for November. In this brief, intense, and precisely rendered story a young couple find their marriage unraveling after discovering mysterious photographs.

Tim Wirkus's short fiction has appeared in Gargoyle, Cream City Review, Sou’wester and Ruminate Magazine. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, been recognized on the list of Other Distinguished Stories in Best American Mystery Stories 2011, and been selected as a finalist in Narrative’s 30 Below contest. He’s currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reading and Writing of U.S. Presidents

Federal Hall, New York
The Committee Room marks the recent presidential election by taking a look at the reading and writing done by a few of the American Presidents.

In 1789, when the U.S. capital was New York City, President George Washington, famed for never telling a lie, borrowed a volume of transcriptions of British House of Commons debate and The Law of Nations by Swiss philosopher and legal scholar Emerich de Vattel from the New York Society Library. He never returned them. The library and the national government were both housed in Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan. Washington's overdue books became known to the library in the 1930s when a detailed "charging ledger" covering 1789 to 1792 was discovered in a trash pile in the library's basement.

In more recent years a conservation project on the ledger brought the missing books to the attention of the New York Daily News which published a brief article on Washington's debt to the library. In 2010, the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, which could not locate the borrowed books in its own collection, settled Washington's account at least in part by purchasing a copy of the same edition of The Law of Nations for $12,000 and giving it to the Society Library.

Charging Ledger (New York Society Library)
George Washington wrote between 18,000 to 20,000 letters but no books. He is sometimes credited with writing Rules of Civility, excerpts of which he copied into his notebooks as a youth. According to scholars at the Papers of George Washington, Rules of Civility was probably composed in the late sixteenth century by Jesuits in France and the young Washington copied from a seventeenth century English translation.

John Adams, serving as Washington's Vice President, borrowed a volume of Elements of Criticism by Scottish Enlightenment philosopher and jurist Lord Kames from the New York Society Library. Adams returned it  Despite having the Society Library's collection available to him Adams in 1789 wrote to his wife Abigail in Massachusetts to send him items by Hume, Johnson, Priestley, Livy, Tacitus, Cicero and Plutarch from his personal library. Adams knew Latin and Greek believed that knowledge of the classics was and should remain the mark of a learned man. He especially liked Cicero's essay on growing old, De Senectute, and turned to it throughout his life. Apart from the classics, Adams' favorites were Shakespeare, Swift, and Cervantes. "On board all day, reading Don Quixote," is the entry in Adams' diary for May 18, 1779 while he waited in Nantes, France to sail back to America.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Update on TCR Story of the Month Author Edward McWhinney

Edward McWhinney
Edward McWhinney, the talented Irish writer whose story "To Ipswich" was TCR Story of the Month for June, has three new stories published --

"On a Barge," a brief and searing portrait of man in an existential crisis, in Contrary (Summer 2012)

"After Mass," a work of creative non-fiction exploring an individual's place in the scheme of things, in Word Riot (August 2012)

"Adrift in the Ghetto," a mesmerizing tale of a stranger trying to find his bearings in an alien city, in Juked (8 November 2012)

TCR Story of the Month series locates and links to some of the best new fiction published online.

The Committee Room.  Interesting Articles for Interested Readers.  Since 2011.