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Jim Cox Report: October 2022

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

From January 1, 2022 to April 30, 2022 there have been more than 1500 incidences across the United States of books being banned (and even stolen) from school and community library collections by racial bigots and homophobic protestors. And the numbers of banned books from libraries is steadily increasing as the political polarization of American society continues to threaten the very foundations of our Madisonian Democracy based Republic. This pernicious practice is one of serious concern for authors, publishers, librarians, and the general public who support the freedom of expression as manifested in the publishing of books and the traditional mission of the library.

That's why this month I want to give a plug for something called the EveryLibrary Institute. This non-profit organization operates exclusively for educational and charitable purposes, including primarily research, writing, publishing and related activities concerning public, academic, and school libraries in the United States for the purpose of public education, strengthening the civic life of communities, bridging social and societal gaps, and for the future of the profession of librarianship. It is chartered in the state of Illinois as a non-profit corporation and received its 501(c)3 nonprofit designation as a charitable organization in June 2018.

The EveryLibrary Institute is a companion organization to EveryLibrary, the first national political action committee for libraries. The EveryLibrary Institute’s mission of research, training librarians, and programmatic support for libraries is closely aligned with EveryLibrary’s 501(c)4 mission of building voter support for libraries.

The EveryLibrary Institute NFP is chartered in the State of Illinois as a nonprofit corporation and has received its 501c3 designation from the IRS. The EveryLibrary Institute is ready to partner with foundations, philanthropic organizations, associations, non-profits, and academic institutions to enhance public perception of libraries and librarianship through research-driven direct engagement across American society. Their hope is to see benefits for library funding accrue at the ballot box, and at all levels of government, from their partnership-driven work.

In anticipation of the Banned Books Week (9/18-9/22), the non-profit EveryLibrary Institute has commissioned a public opinion poll of American voters to better understand political support and opposition to book banning. Results of the poll show that voters want to make their own choices about what they read. The survey shows that most voters oppose banning books due to race, sexuality, and other concerns. Voters are opposed to legislators that want to ban books and they indicate that they are willing to take that opposition to the polls this November.

Here are some hard facts data driven facts:

The EveryLibrary Institute survey found that the overwhelming majority of voters strongly opposes book banning and, most significantly, that 75 percent of voters will consider book bans when voting for legislators in November. Throughout the previous 18 months, the EveryLibrary Institute has tracked a significant shift in attempts to ban books in schools and public libraries.

The EveryLibrary Institute partnered with Dr. Tasslyn Magnusson, an independent researcher who has been tracking the networks, organizations, and individual actors leading book banning and book challenge efforts in our nation's school libraries and public libraries. Dr. Magnussen has tracked over 1,500 books that have been challenged or banned in schools and public libraries.

Likewise, the EveryLibrary Institute has been tracking dozens of pieces of legislation across a growing number of states. These various pieces of legislation attempt to limit access to books in school and public libraries, require severe regulation of educational databases, control what books Americans are allowed to read, and even look to incarcerate or fine librarians under obscenity laws.

The poll was conducted by Embold Research, a nonpartisan research firm. Embold surveyed 1,123 registered voters from August 31st-September 3rd with a margin of error of 3.4%. The survey examined the differences in beliefs among voters segmented by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and 2020 presidential vote.

Some of the key findings include:

1. Nearly all American voters (92%) have heard at least something about book banning. Half of voters believe there is “absolutely no time when a book should be banned”.

2. 41% think “there are rare times when it’s appropriate to ban books”.

3. 8% think “there are many books that are inappropriate and should be banned”.

4, 31% of Republicans think there is absolutely no time when a book should be banned. 

5. 75% of voters will consider book banning when voting for legislators.

6. 50% of Voters find the legislation created to regulate Americans’ access to books most concerning. Voters have favorable feelings about their libraries (69%) and librarians (66%) and their schools (53%) and school librarians (62%). 

7. 18% of voters support banning books that focus on race and CRT, and only one-third support banning books that discuss sexuality.

I urge your support of the EveryLibrary Institute. Here is a direct link to their website:

Here are reviews of new books that will be of interest to authors, dedicated bibliophiles and anyone else with an interest in the history of publishing:

Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback
Andrew Nette
Anthem Press
9781839982453, $125.00, HC, 254pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback", author Andrew Nette offers the first book-length study of Sydney-based Horwitz Publications, the largest and most dynamic Australian pulp publisher to emerge after World War II.

Although best known for its cheaply produced, sometimes luridly packaged, softcover books, Horwitz Publications played a far larger role in mainstream Australian publishing than has been so far recognised, particularly in the expansion of the paperback from the late 1950s onwards.

"Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback" examines the authorship, production, marketing and distribution of Horwitz pulp paperbacks. It also includes ground-breaking material on the conditions of creative labor: the writers, artists and editors involved in the production of Horwitz pulp. This seminal study also explores how Horwitz pulp paperbacks acted as a local conduit for the global modern: the ideas, sensations, fascinations, technologies, and people that came crashing into the Australian consciousness in the 1950s and 1960s.

Critique: Informative enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of an Introduction (Pulp Jungles in Australia and Beyond), numerous Figures, a fourteen page Bibliography, and a seven page Index, "Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback" by Andrew Nette is highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in the history of paperback publishing. Offering a wealth of detailed historical information, "Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback" would well serve as a template or example of similar studies of American paperbacks as that segment of the publishing industry has evolved over time. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.49), "Horwitz Publications, Pulp Fiction and the Rise of the Australian Paperback" is unreservedly recommended as a unique addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Publishing History collections.

Unpacking the Personal Library
Jason Camlor, editor
J. A. Weingarten, editor
Wilfrid Laurier University Press
9781771125680, $89.99, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: Collaborative compiled and co-edited by the team of Professors Jason Camlot and J. A. Weingarten, the contributors to "Unpacking the Personal Library: The Public and Private Life of Books" collectively explore libraries at particular moments in their history across a wide range of cases, and includes Alberto Manguel’s account of the Library of Alexandria as well as chapters on library collecting in the middle ages, the libraries of prime ministers and foreign embassies, protest libraries and the slow transformation of university libraries, and the stories of the personal libraries of Virginia Woolf, Robert Duncan, Sheila Watson, Al Purdy and others.

"Unpacking the Personal Library" also shows how the history of the library is really a history of collection, consolidation, migration, dispersal, and integration, where each story negotiates private and public spaces.

"Unpacking the Personal Library" builds on and interrogates theories and approaches from library and archive studies, the history of the book, reading, authorship and publishing. Collectively, the chapters articulate a critical poetics of the personal library within its extended social, aesthetic and cultural contexts.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of an Introduction (Private, Public, and Persona Libraries in Situ and in Circulation); an eighteen page Bibliography; a four page Author Biographies; a two page listing of Copyright Acknowledgements; and a ten page Index, "Unpacking the Personal Library: The Public and Private Life of Books" is a seminal, informative, and fascinating work of collective scholarship that will be of immense relevance and interest to authors, publishers, and bibliophiles with respect to the history, diversity, and continuing relevance of libraries. While especially recommended for community, college, and university Library Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "Unpacking the Personal Library: The Public and Private Life of Books" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $27.99).

Editorial Note #1: Jason Camlot ( is Professor of English and Research Chair in Literature and Sound Studies at Concordia University. His recent books include Phonopoetics (Stanford, 2019), CanLit Across Media (MQUP, 2019) and Vlarf (MQUP 2021). He is also the director of the SSHRC-funded SpokenWeb research partnership that focuses on literary audio collections.

Editorial Note #2: J. A. Weingarten is a Professor in the School of Language and Liberal Studies at Fanshawe College. He is also the author of Sharing the Past (UTP, 2019), as well as more than three dozen articles, book reviews, and papers on Canadian arts and culture. His web page is at

Artfulness: Formula-Free Creative Writing Explorations for Secondary ELA Classes
Andrea Yarbough
Alexandrite Publishing, LLC
9798986014609, $32.50, PB, 202pp

Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services

Artfulness: Formula-Free Creative Writing Explorations for Secondary ELA Classes is a study in the finer art of writing which returns 'creative' into the writing mix for secondary ELA teachers who are tired of using the usual formula approaches to writing.

It promotes the concept of 'Writing Wednesdays', providing teachers with lesson plans that target key ELA skills while building student attraction to the writing process itself.

ELA teachers are already too aware of the formula-driven focus on writing and ELA achievements which challenges not only students, but instructors. Those leaders who would approach writing and reading in a different way receive 20 lesson plans which are flexible and can be adapted to a range of classrooms and student interests.

Chapters are broken down into quarters, with each quarter reflecting a writing goal. Exercises supporting these efforts are clearly explained: "This activity highlights to students the clear connection between visual and written art through a common concept—color. Color Your World challenges students to develop their abstract thinking skills by requiring them to consider how best to convey a sense of color without literally employing that color in their narrative. What mood is created by a particular color or color combination? How can mood evolve through the pairing and progression of the (metaphoric) incorporation of various colors into a narrative?"

Extension activities are designed to build upon the initial foundations of success, featuring routines for helping students build and expand vocabulary lists and anticipatory activities that build impetus for expression through student Writer's Notebooks and different approaches to adding to them.

Artfulness creates a series of lessons so inspiring and lively that instructors may wonder why formula approaches ever became the standard for teaching the fundamentals of effective writing and reading.

The focus on activities that lend to both group and individual pursuit, which return 'lively' and 'compelling' into the task of teaching writing and reading, makes for a top recommendation for secondary ELA teachers who want to achieve their goals in a different, more effective manner.

Libraries catering to educators who would take a step in a different direction to enhance the learning experience for their students and the teaching process for themselves will find Artfulness: Formula-Free Creative Writing Explorations for Secondary ELA Classes packed with strategies for success. Each has been tested in the real world and found to be a concrete route to engagement and learning.

"The Midwest Book Review Postage Stamp Hall Of Fame & Appreciation" is a monthly roster of well-wishers and supporters. These are the generous folk who decided to say 'thank you' and 'support the cause' that is the Midwest Book Review by donating to our postage stamp fund this past month:

K. Kuhens
Kenneth Kales
Amy Dunkleberger
Douglas Whipple -- "The Great Kulling"
Matthew C. Lucas -- "Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock"
Janice S. Petrie - Seatales Publishing Company
Jennifer Swanson Books
Eileen Lynn Duhne PR
Donovan's Literary Services
Elizabeth Frazier -- Waldmania! PR

In lieu of (or in addition to!) postage stamp donations, we also accept PayPal gifts of support to our postage stamp fund for what we try to accomplish in behalf of the small press community. Simply log onto your PayPal account and direct your kindness (in any amount and at your discretion) to the Midwest Book Review at:

SupportMBR [at]

(The @ is replaced by "[at]" in the above email address, in an attempt to avoid email-harvesting spambots.)

If you have postage stamps to donate, or if you have a book you'd like considered for review, then send those postage stamps (always appreciated, never required), or a published copy of that book (no galleys, uncorrected proofs, or Advance Reading Copies), accompanied by a cover letter and some form of publicity release to my attention at the address below.

All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website at If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.

So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!

Jim Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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