It's maybe my favorite thing about Christmas -- snuggling up after the dinner's over and the dishes are done to try to read all my new books at once.
The first one I opened was a bit of a treasure - The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys -- forty vignettes "based on events that actually took place each time the historic Thames froze solid" -- events that span seven centuries, from 1142 to 1895.
This is an amazing and unexpected sort of book and I got right into it because our present opening was delayed by Justin's dog Ali Ali (who is really living up to his nickname 'Trouble Monkey') going outside and getting sprayed by one of our many skunks.
While Justin was bathing Ali with tomato juice followed by soap, all present-opening was suspended and I began reading this little gem. I finished it the next day and can recommend it highly.
I've also paged through this fantastic book on apples, filled with tempting recipes and beautiful pictures and through a beautiful little book of woodcuts and nature meditations by Gwen Frostic. (My late dear friend Eileen used to give me Gwen Frostic notecards, saying that they reminded her of me. I love it that my niece said this book, called For Those Who See, made her think of me.)
I can't wait to get into the Tim Powers book -- having a special fondness for Blackbeard, as I've mentioned before.
And for an old English major, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew is a particular delight. I began leafing through it on Boxing Day night and found I couldn't stop reading. Everything I always wanted to know from the order of precedence at a formal dinner to how to address a marquis in direct written communication to what exactly the dance called 'Sir Roger de Coverly' is. (Turns out it's pretty much like our square dance called "The Virginia Reel" -- the same one I learned in fourth grade.)
In a Dark Season, we usually put clues on our family gifts so that the recipient can have the fun of trying to guess what's in the package before ripping it open. Another present, also from Ethan and Aileen, had this cryptic little cartoon. Herodotus -- the first historian . . . hmmm. . .
History of the Ancient World and kept a copy for myself.
If you wish you remembered more of what you learned in high school, here's a wonderful way to brush up your history I.Q. Highly, highly recommended!
LV - January 2012
5 years ago