Reading Room Blog
Memories of special holiday cooking can be life-long treasures. You’ll find many choices in Sharon Bowers’ Sweet Christmas. It’s a collection of tried and true Christmas classics to make for and with your family and friends.
Having grown up in the South, the author naturally includes a number of Southern specialties: Divinity (don’t try it on a humid day); Pecan Pralines; and Pamelas—orange peel that has been cooked, lightly sugared, and perhaps given a dip of good quality chocolate.
Plum pudding, carolers in the snow, holly and ivy, mince pies, candles on a fir tree, wassail, and Christmas crackers—all of these and more live in my mind’s eye as a result of all of the English Christmas stories I have read and re-read over the years. The quintessential English tale of Christmas is probably Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Sara Thomas is brilliant, lovely, and socially awkward. She knows a committed relationship won’t work out for her in the long-term. They never do. So, Sara isn’t looking for romance when she takes a job decrypting an old manuscript. Yet that is what she finds in Susanna Kearsley’s A Desperate Fortune.
May 1893: The opening of the Chicago’s World Fair. The overall purpose of the celebration was to recognize the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World in 1492. Designed by a group of talented architects, the fair attracted over 27 million people from 46 different countries, constructed over 200 new (but temporary) buildings featuring neoclassical architecture, along with large water pools and lagoons. The exposition became an emerging symbol of American Exceptionalism.
It also became a hunting ground for one of the first documented American serial killers, Doctor Henry Howard Holmes, better known as H.H. Holmes.
No. 7 Ocean Drive is just like any other handsome, well-to-do Hamptons McMansion. With its grand arches, towering peaks, and high windows, No. 7 is every tourist’s dream.
At least, that’s what it looks like from the outside.
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.
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.
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.
Every year the holidays start sooner and sooner with advertising bombarding us about all the great deals and discount gifts, but you don’t have to plan a big shopping trip to spoil your loved ones. Handmade gifts can be more fun, exciting, and thoughtful to give than the newest gadgets and gizmos.
When you first approach reading Shakespeare, it can be a daunting experience. Even though I grew up reading books with similar language, I still found Shakespeare difficult unless I had a teacher holding my hand every step of the way. I could just about understand the basic plot line and even some of the language, but many of the jokes, the history, and the language went over my head.
Over the years, I have found several things helpful in reading Shakespeare’s plays. With these aids, I am able to enjoy Shakespeare so much more than before as well as understand the plays at a deeper level.