Virginia Johnson

11/02/2015 - 9:46am
At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper

Hannah is very happy to be moving to London. It’s 1665, and for a young yet just-grown-up girl, it is surely the center of all that is fascinating and bold. She’s to join her sister, Sarah, At the Sign of the Sugar Plum, where she will help craft delicious confections for gentry and commoners alike. Hannah knows she will be working hard to establish the business, and that suits the red-haired young woman perfectly. Indeed, everything suits her down to the ground, including the handsome apothecary’s apprentice.

But there are rumors that the plague is has struck London again this summer. It’s just a few people at first, and the King’s court is still in town, so nobody minds it too much. Then the disease spreads wildly, until thousands each week die in agony. Hannah and Sarah are both frightened, but leaving London and their business would mean giving up their dreams.

11/02/2015 - 2:40pm

Popcorn was grown by Native Americans long before the Europeans came to the New World. The Aztecs used it, strung into garlands, in their religious ceremonies. Peruvians toasted and ate their popcorn, which was called pisancalla. During the 1830's, it was "discovered" by American farmers who, using a new kind of plow, planted acres and acres of it during the 1850s. By the turn of the 19th century, popcorn vendors could be found in every big city. They'd sell their wares by the bag or the ball and make a profit of about 70 cents on every dollar!

10/21/2015 - 3:16am
Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders

Sometimes, there is more in the garden or orchard than you can use up at the dinner table. The same might hold true if you tend to go a little wild at farmers’ markets or on your co-op order. What to do with the oceans of apples, bunches of mint, or the bushels of berries? Sure, there are pies, preserves, and other delightful things that might be made from the bounty, but another possibility is to take at least some of your harvest and bottle it.

10/20/2015 - 3:16am
Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

Some people today fear going under the surgeon’s knife. It’s mostly a dread of the unknown. What might happen while they are knocked out, unaware of what is going on around them. They may not realize how fortunate they are. In Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, readers are swept back in time to a period before anesthesia was generally used. A good surgeon was a swift, careful cutter who could make the operation as mercifully short as possible for his wide-awake patient. He might even do some good for the patient in the process.

10/05/2016 - 1:25pm

You want to make Halloween sweet and spooky fun for your family. But you’re too clever (and too strapped for time and cash) to make a plan that will haunt your wallet and your sanity. You need Better Homes and Gardens’ Halloween: 101 Frightfully Fun Ideas.

10/12/2015 - 3:11am
The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley

We never outgrow fairy tales. It’s just that as we get older, we want there to be more to the story of a princess who kisses a frog. Who does that?! And what about those 12 dancing princesses? Couldn’t they do –anything- to keep each other from a terrible fate?

10/01/2015 - 12:11pm

The first colonists at Jamestown found life on the swampy tip of an Indian hunting ground by the James River to be grueling and often deadly. The Virginia Company hoped to make a start in this new world that would ultimately bring profits to King James, the men who ventured there, and, of course, the Virginia Company itself. But the coming of “the Starving Time,” sometimes hostile tribes, and sickness turned a dream into a nightmare.

09/23/2015 - 7:19am
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

After reading CRRL librarian Joy O’Toole’s great write-up on Agatha Christie, I thought I’d give one of her series a try. I’m not sure why I had been avoiding them. I like British stuff, historical novels, and mysteries. But what I had glimpsed of Inspector Poirot and Miss Marple did not immediately grab me. I decided to try one of her lesser-known series, Partners in Crime, which starts with The Secret Adversary.

Friends since childhood, charming, young, and starving Tommy and Tuppence meet at a London tea shop to catch up, only to discover that they both face the same problem—chronic unemployment! In London after the Great War, there aren’t a lot of jobs to be had, so for the price of an advertisement in the newspaper, they decide to create The Young Adventurers, Ltd., a firm that will take on very nearly anything.

10/13/2015 - 9:42am

Get the creepy crawlies with R. L. Stine. He's a master of conjuring things that go bump in the dark—and lurk in dark waters. In The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Sarah has found a way to get even with her mean bunkmates, but she's the one who's in for a shock. Think you're beyond all that? So did Courtney. She tells everybody how brave she is, and Eddie is tired of it. He knows there's one thing she is afraid of. The monsters at Muddy Creek. Too bad for Eddie that Courtney is right again in You Can't Scare Me

Welcome to R.L. Stine's world. It's easy to make friends here. But they're usually the wrong kind of friends.

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