Monday, September 30, 2013


Romance Conference at Princeton University




The 2013 romance conference at Princeton University celebrates the romance author in his or her various guises. "One of the most important developments in the popular romance genre in the last thirty years is the emergence of the individual author as a figure of note in the genre and its community."

Possible topics will include:
–Romance authorship and gender
–Romance authorship and the constraints of genre writing
–The author in the romance genre’s publishing history
–Particular authors / careers / oeuvres
–Iconography of the romance author in pop culture
–Romance authorship and translation
–The romance author as romance reader/critic
–Romance authors and their readers
–Romance authorship and digital media


Friday, September 27, 2013


Picture Day Friday: King Richard III T-shirt


Here's a T-shirt by Skreened making fun of Richard III's tomb's current resting place.



[Thanks to author Amanda McCabe for the link.]


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Richard III's Bones...Take 2


Image copyrighted by English Monarchs I blogged here about how the last Plantagenet medieval king Richard III's remains were found late last year beneath a car park by the scholars at University of Leicester.

At the time, it was unanimously agreed that Richard would be reburied at the Leicester Cathedral. As a result, "Leicester Cathedral has begun a £1m rebuilding project to accommodate the king's tomb while the city council plans to build a £4m visitor center commemorating his life," according to the BBC.

Unfortunately for these plans, the Plantagenet Alliance, which includes 15 of Richard III's relatives, want a York Minster burial, claiming it was King Richard's wish. In other words, a royal argy-bargy brangle! They have challenged the decision of the Ministry of Justice, which granted the University of Leicester the right to dig and thus also the right to choose where to re-bury him.

"Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave said he would grant the review 'on all grounds' but warned the parties against beginning an 'unseemly, undignified and unedifying' legal tussle. He urged the parties to 'avoid embarking on the legal Wars of the Roses part 2'." Heh. Love an erudite person, don't you?


Monday, September 23, 2013


Lectures at the Hampton Court and Kensington Palaces


The historic royal palaces of Hampton Court and Kensington offer lectures on various topics during the year. In the fall, here are some of the conservation talks you can attend.

Face to Face with the Emperors
Tuesday, September 3, 6:30–8:30pm, Hampton Court Palace
Eight terracotta Emperors have looked down from Hampton Court Palace gatehouses on important historical events since the time of Cardinal Wolsey in 1521. You will be able to learn more about these remarkable survivals and see them face-to-face on a scaffold tour.

Royal Wedding Dresses
Monday, September 30, 6:30–8pm, Kensington Palace
Learn more about the conservation challenges in caring for, displaying and conserving royal wedding dresses. Following a talk by conservators you will have the unique opportunity of a private view of Queen Victoria’s wedding dress, on display as part of the Victoria Revealed exhibition and learn about the material and construction of this very special item in our collection.

Caring for the Tapestries
Thursday October 17, 6:30–8pm, Hampton Court Palace
Find out from the conservators how our magnificent collection of tapestries has been cared for over the past 100 years.


Friday, September 20, 2013


International Book Week


I just found out that this week is International Book Week, so I'm breaking with tradition and writing an additional post for Friday.

Here's how it goes: Open your current book, read the 5th line on page 52, and share the sentence. I'm adding sharing of the title of the book and the name of the author to that.

Title: The Conquest of Lady Cassandra
Author: Madeline Hunter
Line: "Aunt Sophie has purloined the letter right out of his library, after all."



Picture Day Friday: Wells Cathedral in Somerset



[Click on the picture to see a bigger, beautifully detailed picture.]


Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Richard Armitage Reads Georgette Heyer


Armitage and Heyer in one package is like eating too many sweets. Oh, the joy! His sexy voice and various character roles couched in excellent stage diction make Heyer's words come alive. Her humor carries well, as well as the subtle witty repartee between the protagonists.

Armitage has read three of Heyer's works: Venetia, Sylvester, and Convenient Marriage. If it has to be just one, oh, let it be Venetia. Damerel and Venetia are heartstoppingly lovely.


Monday, September 16, 2013


Edwardian-Built Tudor-Style Manor For Sale



(Click on the image to see a larger size.)

Hamptworth Lodge Estate is a Tudor-style manor built in Edwardian times (1913—a hundred years ago) by Oxford professor Harold Moffat. It sits on 1,100 acres of New Forest National Park in Wiltshire and is available for sale for 11 million pounds. That comes out to be an expensive 10,000 pounds per acre.

Mr. Moffat, one of the foremost experts in Tudor furniture, tore down the existing Georgian manor on the land to erect this fantastically-detailed edifice. The history of the estate itself can be traced back to at least the 11th century, with various manors built on the site through the centuries.







[Photos courtesy of real estate agents Chesterton Humberts and the Daily Mail Online.]


Friday, September 13, 2013


Picture Day Friday: Admont Monastery Library


Library at the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Multitasking Negatively Affects Learning


Sally Roy of Visual Academy reached out to me after reading my post on unitasking vs. multitasking.

Visual Academy is Online Schools' novel attempt at furthering education and creating a hunger for more knowledge through the use of visual learning techniques.

Sally Roy has done detailed research on the effects of social media (texting and Facebooking, in particular) on online learning of students. She has condensed her findings in an informational graphic. (Please see the image below.)

Roy's research shows that in the general populace, only two percent of the people can effectively multitask. The rest of the people simply perform poorly on all the tasks they're attempting to cycle amongst. Using social media in the midst of homework, studying, and attending online lectures affects short-term memory recall and long-term memory retention. This naturally translates into drops in GPA.

Thus, it clearly shows that unitasking is the way to go; multitasking is just another way of procrastinating.

Roy's mantra, which I support wholeheartedly, is: Want to accomplish more? Do less.

Online Learning and Multitasking image copyrighted by onlineschools.org
[Online Learning and Multitasking image copyrighted by onlineschools.org and used with permission.]


Monday, September 9, 2013


Poet William Blake's Cottage is For Sale


William Blake image copyrighted by UNC.edu Out of the blue, I blogged on June 19 about two of William Blake's poems: Eternity and Auguries of Innocence. I had picked up a copy of Blake's selected works, and was seized with a desire to share how much joy I was deriving from my reading.

Image made available by Wikimedia Commons In a case of cosmic coincidence, I found out today that Blake's cottage is up for sale. He lived in this house in Felpham, West Sussex, England from 1800 to 1803.

The home is on what is now known as Blake's Road. It hasn't been on the market since 1928 and is listed for a song at $978,000.

Of his house, Blake wrote, "Sussex is certainly a happy place and Felpham in particular is the sweetest spot on earth," to his friend Thomas Butts in 1801.

You can now experience some of the joy Blake experienced here.


Friday, September 6, 2013


Picture Day Friday: New Forest National Park, England


The Hamptworth Lodge Estate is set within 1,100 acres of land in the New Forest National Park.

Click to see a larger picture.


[Image copyrighted by real estate agents Chesterton Humberts and the Daily Mail Online.]


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Regency Dance Music Kickstarter


A project after my own heart. The 200 Dances Project is looking for seed money to "create historically accurate recordings of the music for 200 carefully researched dances from the English Regency Period."

The music will come out on sixteen CDs spaced out over a few months and will also be available for individual MP3 downloads. The music will be performed by concert musicians experienced in early music, on period instruments, and in ensembles that would've been found at Assemblies 200 years ago.

The project owners, from Winchester, England, also run Regency Dance, an educational website that specializes in detailed information on dances from the Regency era. Visit the website to vote for your favorite dances from the list. Of those, 200 will be chosen for this project.


Monday, September 2, 2013


The Janeiac Brainiac



[Click to see the details—they're hilarious. Illustrations by Peter and Maria Hoey; game by Mary Jo Murphy and Jennifer Schuessler; all copyrighted by The New York Times.]

The NYT came up with the game to join in the wave of Janeophilia that's been going on in America, the UK, and elsewhere in the world on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride & Prejudice.

I would like to confess right away that I succumbed, too. I'm the recent owner of a Pride & Prejudice board book—the story in 12 words.

Over the past two decades, prequels, sequels, retellings, fan fiction, switching point-of-view characters around, changing period setting around, zombiefying and vampiring of the stories, and so on have kept numerous writers very busy. The consumption rate of the reading public has been voracious and this year, more and more writers are joining the Janeites.

These two interesting nonfiction books take a look at the phenomenon: Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom by Deborah Yaffe and Global Jane Austen: Pleasure, Passion, and Possessiveness in the Jane Austen Community by Laurence Raw and Robert G. Dryden.

Other than a publishing cottage industry, there have been a spate of other related Jane activities. The most notable among these was Kelly Clarkson's quarter of a million dollars at an auction for a gold and turquoise ring owned by Austen. Unfortunately, the British culture minister refused to allow the ring to leave the country, because he says it's a national treasure. The other notable event was the issuing of the 10 pound banknote with Austen's face on it that I mentioned on August 28.

You can even get Austen-themed teas from Bingley’s Teas by Julia Matson. Wicked Wickham and Mr. Knightley's Reserve are especially popular. And for those of you suffering from borderline personality disorder, Christine Shih uses Austen's works in her counseling practice. More such fan extensions can be discovered HERE.