the saturday books…4…

After enjoying a breakfast at Mickey D’s, which involved way too much coffee, I was off to the library, then the book store. My body continued to debate what to do with all the coffee, as caffeine rarely affects me, but it could have an effect on my digestive system, that’s for sure.

I’m also on my second day of wearing my contacts and new sunglasses regularly, as I’ve been extremely lazy about putting my contacts in, lately. I think it’s because I broke my last pair of “sunnies”, so what was the point? At least that’s what my early morning thought process tells me. So, for the first hour or two after putting my contacts in, I’ve been going through a stage where I feel like I’m cross-eyed, but keeping telling myself that “this too shall pass”. And it does.

Fortunately, none of these ocular or bodily issues caused any interference with my driving skills, so I checked out a copy of Anne of Windy Willows from the library, and then drove to Blossoms. Yes, you heard that right. If you’re an L.M. Montgomery fan, and you live in the U.S. or Canada, then you’re familiar with this book by the title of Anne of Windy Poplars. Apparently, Montgomery’s original choice of a name was Anne of Windy Willows, but the American publisher thought it could become confused with The Wind in the Willows. A book about talking animals, or a book about a red-headed girl living on Prince Edward Island? Yeah, they’re too similar to tell the difference, Mr. Publisher.

So, they changed the name for us North Americans, AND supposedly edited out some of the more “risqué” stories, but everyone else got the originals. Because Americans and Canadians can’t handle a few darker stories, in the Anne books? Honestly. Montgomery’s books were not all light and fluff. Consider Emily’s taste of the second sight, in Emily of New Moon, or all of Montgomery’s short stories that were collected into a book called Among the Shadows.

So, now I have to find out if this is true, that my American copy is an abridged form of the original book. I’ve read it enough times to be able to tell if something’s new in the Windy Willows book. So, that’s something for you all to look forward to me talking about, soon.

Anyway, back to the bookstore. As someone who always likes to read about the Titanic, and considering that in April, it will have been a century since the ocean liner went down, I immediately found and bought Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic: The Ocean’s Greatest Disaster, by Marshall Everett. I already find the tales of Titanic to be fascinating, the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor, all on one ship. The heroes and villains of the story, with some men barging into the lifeboats with the women (or even dressing as women), while others refused to abandon their loved ones. And of course, the horror of the steerage passengers being kept from escaping.

This book, with it’s gold-edged pages, is a reproduction of the 1912 edition, which was published immediately after the Titanic sank. I think this will be a fascinating read, both from the immediacy of the book’s writing, to how people expressed themselves in 100 year old books. It is advertised on the back cover as “a Graphic and Thrilling Account of the Sinking of the Greatest Floating Palace Ever Built, Carrying Down to Watery Graves More Than 1,500 Souls”. Fifteen hundred people. The number is still shocking. Yes, the Titanic will always be of interest, because it was a “floating palace” of extremes, and we’ll never see the like again (and for the sake of many lives, I hope we won’t).

Having satisfied my occasional need to buy an actual book, and continuing to resist the lure of buying Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (do you have any idea what that might cost me to ship home?), I determined to buy no more books today (and I held to that resolve!). And then crossed paths with a copy of The Midwife of Venice, by Roberta Rich. I still think that the UK publisher does a better job on cover illustrations, sometimes. Looking it up on Amazon, I wasn’t as much a fan of that cover.

But the story still looks fascinating. In the late 1500’s, Hannah Levi is a Jewish midwife, living in a time when Jews are forbidden to attend the births of Christians. And yet, in the middle of the night, she is offered a fabulous sum to attend a woman who has been laboring for days. The money is enough to save her husband from imprisonment, but what will happen to her if it is found out? Torture and death could be waiting for her, but she will do anything to save her beloved husband. The reviews say that this book is a page-turner, and one that just can’t put down. If I can’t get to it any time soon, perhaps someone else could read it, and tell me what you think?

From there, I picked up a hilarious little book, called The A-Z of Unfortunate Dogs, by Adam Elliot. If you’re a dog lover, or even if you’re not, the rhyming lines about each funnily drawn canine will make you chuckle. They are beset with the trials of having a long tongue, fleas, gout, short legs, and all sorts of problems, but the drawings are so cute, you want to chuckle and make the poor puppy feel better about himself, at the same time.

I was intrigued by The Usborne Cookbook for Boys, which advertises itself as being an easy cookbook of things that boys will actually WANT to eat. The implication being that other cookbooks are usually full of fancy, fluffy recipes that girls (and cooks) will adore. I can see the point, because I’m not much into cooking from cookbooks. I like my home favorites, and all the usual recipes call for things I don’t understand or care to even try. Too fancy, too complicated, what happened to simplicity, with ingredients I’ve heard of? So, I’d be tempted to buy this book myself, if I was in the market for an easy cookbook, and I had a boatload of guys to feed.

And finally, I noticed (and wanted!) Jane Austen’s Sewing Box (Craft Projects & Stories from Jane Austen’s Novels), by Jennifer Forest. Full of beautiful illustrations and artwork from Austen’s times, not only does it have directions on how to make many Regency-style needlework projects, it contains descriptions of the history behind the craft work. Discussion of the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the printing press & the availability of novels, the advent of new fabrics and designs, and the results of all these changes on the lives of women in the home, are all covered here. As I find the history behind the novels just as interesting as the novels themselves, I found this part of the book even more interesting than the actual projects. I think I will have to get myself a copy, once I get home.

By the way, speaking of an interest in Regency history, I’ve already read (and loved) Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, by Jennifer Kloester. Whether you love Heyer’s books or not (and you should), she followed in the footsteps of Austen and Bronté, perfecting the Regency novel. And Kloester’s book delves into all areas of Regency life, showing you what it would really be like to live back then.

Now, I’ve just checked Amazon, and found that Elizabeth Kantor’s The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After will be released on April 2. I’m not sure if it’ll be on Kindle, and since I’ll be home soon, I probably don’t need to get an e-book copy, anyway. But I’ve been looking forward to this one, as Kantor uses an in-depth study of the Austen heroines (Lizzy Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, Anne Elliot, etc.) to give us suggestions on how to survive the area of dating and relationships in our modern-day world. I look forward to this read, not just because of the subject matter, but because I’ve enjoyed previous books of hers.

So, I hope I’ve livened up your Saturday and given you a few ideas on what books you might like to take a gander at. And now, I’m going to get back to reading Crucible of Gold, the latest Temeraire book, by Naomi Novik.

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