Frequently Asked Questions

Exactly who are you, anyway?

Good question. You can't be too careful about information you find on the Internet.

I have a B.A. (from Boston University) in Latin, with a minor in English, and an M.A. (from Fordham University) in Latin. I taught classics in translation and introductory literature courses at the college level for four years, and college composition (introductory and advanced) for seven years. In the late 1970s I completed the course work, though not the dissertation, for a doctorate in English and American literature. 

In summer 2011, I completed a Ph.D. in psychology. This is not as drastic a change as it may seem because I finally realized that, for me, literature IS psychology. My studies concentrated on the areas in which literature and psychology intersect. My primary interests are life narratives (particularly women's), mythology and archetypes, the therapeutic uses of journal writing, and the psychology of both reading and writing.

My mother insists that I began pretending to read my Little Golden Books as soon as I could sit up in my crib. I've been reading ever since. Over the years I have participated in many book groups. I started Notes in the Margin for two reasons:

  1. to teach myself HTML 

  2. to share my love of books.

My favorite color is purple. I always wear at least one article of purple clothing, although you may not be able to see it. My nails are always purple.

I have two favorite books:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Whenever I get to feeling down on humanity, I reread this book and take heart again.

  2. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. This novel, which I read in either 8th or 9th grade, was the one that made me realize how powerful a well-crafted work of fiction can be.

My favorite movie is North by Northwest. A cluster of second-favorite movies includes The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects, and The Spanish Prisoner, all of which demonstrate that things aren't always what they seem.

I've learned that true friends are rare and that I should cherish each one. I've also come to realize that making other people feel bad does not make me feel good.

I am old enough to speak my mind.

Thanks for asking.

Where did all this information come from?

From books. From library databases. From many years of education in literature and literary criticism. And from many, many years of reading and enjoying literature, both on my own and in book groups.

Who pays you to do this?

Nobody. This is a labor of love. You will not find any advertisements or affiliate programs on Notes in the Margin because I prefer to keep it completely noncommercial.

May I quote you?

Yes, with proper citation

There are several different citation formats. Two of the most frequently used are MLA (Modern Language Association) style, used mainly in the humanities, and APA (American Psychological Association) style, used mainly in the social sciences. Your instructor will tell you which style to use.

Will you answer specific questions or help me with my term paper?

No and no.

Can you help me contact a particular author?

No. I am, just like you, an ordinary reader. I don't have any contacts in the publishing industry.

There are two ways you can attempt to contact an author:

  1. Write in care of the author's agent. You can sometimes find out who an author's agent is by looking at the acknowledgements page of the author's latest work. Or do a Web search using the author's full name and the word agent.

  2. Write in care of the author's publisher. You should be able to find this information, including the publisher's address, in the front pages of the author's latest work.

May I send you my book for review?

Probably. But before you contact me, please be sure to check out my review policy. If you ask me to review a type of book that I almost never read, I'll probably ignore your request.

Will you review my book if I pay you?

Absolutely not. See the third question above.

How can I help you promote books and reading?

Let me count the ways:

  1. Spread the word. Tell your friends about Notes in the Margin.

  2. Model reading for your children. Let them see you reading. Let them know that reading is important to you.

  3. Read to your young children. Encourage your older children to become independent readers. Discuss the books they are reading with them.

  4. Join a book group at a bookstore, a library, or online. Discuss books and the ideas they contain. 

  5. Use and support your local library.

  6. Support literacy programs.

  7. Give books as gifts, especially to children.

  8. Fight censorship attempts in your community.


© 2007 by Mary Daniels Brown

All material on these pages is © as indicated by Mary Daniels Brown