Object Lessons: #7

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I don’t remember my grandparents having this wooden bowl, but it was with their things when they died, so they must have used it for something. Although it reminds me of something suitable for the medieval table and thus I’d really love to eat out of it, I’m not sure how food-safe it is, nor how best to clean it, and so for now it just holds garlic.

Nonfiction by women writers

Tonight my friend Maureen over at BySingingLight asked for recommendations for excellent non-fiction by female authors, with a focus on history and biography.

Well, you can’t ask for book suggestions within earshot of a librarian without getting a detailed list back, so without further ado:

A Royal Experiment: the private life of King George III, by Janice Hadlow. I just finished this and I learned so much.

How To Be a Victorian, by Ruth Goodman. Detailed and incredibly well-researched – everything you need to know about daily life in Victorian times.

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickons’ London, by Judith Flanders. Are you seeing a theme here? I’ve read a lot of books about England/English history in the last six months. A lot.

A Journey Through Tudor England: Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Thornbury Castle, by Suzannah Lipscomb. Here’s another.

And now for a few that aren’t about English history:

Twelve Little Cakes, by Dominika Dery. I absolutely loved this one, but it seems like it’s slipped under everyone else’s radar. Dominika Dery has a charming way of writing and even though life was very difficult growing up in communist Czechoslovakia – especially if your parents were dissidents – each tale of her childhood is presented with such love and humor that it really is a “feel good” book.

And Then There Were Nuns, by Jane Christmas. I’m never entire sure how II feel about Jane Christmas, but this is by turns funny, deep, and thought-provoking.

A Homemade Life: stories and recipes from my kitchen table, by Molly Wizenberg. Yes, it’s recipes … but it’s a lot more than that.

Consider the Fork, by Bee Wilson. You don’t have to be food-obsessed to enjoy this, but it probably helps.

As Always, Julia, edited by Joan Reardon. This is a collection of letters between Julia Child and her good friend Avis. Both women are so intelligent and funny, and their personalities shine through their correspondence.

I could go on … and on … and on, but I’ll leave it at this for now. Basically, if you like food or British history, you’ll probably find something on this list to love.

Object lessons: #3

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In January of 2011, I was in Goshen, Indiana for a family funeral. It was a sad time, but also intensely beautiful. I spent lots of time exploring small shops (and coffee shops), walking around in the falling snow.

I particularly loved Graber|Found. I had a lovely chat with the owner about traveling the world (as he does to collect the things he sells – lucky duck).

I wanted to buy a handpainted Ethiopian Orthodox icon; instead I bought this tiny paper crane.