Friday, August 30, 2013

Picture Day Friday: Simon Marmion Book of Hours from Bruges

The Simon Marmion Book of Hours from Bruges, Belgium (c. 1480). Folios 103v & 104 depict the Vespers with The Massacre of The Innocents in Marmion Style, with borders in Fitzwilliam 268 Style

From Wikipedia: "Left page shows King Herod ordering his soldiers to kill the firstborn, with one soldier in the foreground killing the baby of a woman who pleads for its life. Through the doorway onto the courtyard beyond is another soldier doing the same thing. Page on right of gothic style text with illuminated initial letter D with large golden flower device in gold on black. Borders of both pages with decorative flowers, leaves, acanthus, in gold on a deep blue ground with figures of knights, a mermaid, a soldier killing a child, and a seated woman."

Image copyrighted by Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jane Austen on £10 Banknotes

"The Bank of England is has shown sense and some sensibility after revealing Jane Austen could become the new face of the £10 note." This will go into effect in 2015, and the decision hasn't been made yet.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Documentary on Illuminated Books of Hours from Bruges

The Public Library of Bruges, Belgium presents the following documentary-style brief video about its various medieval Books of Hours. The Biekorf branch of the libraryis known for its collection of Cistercian manuscripts from Ten Duinen en Ter Doest has 21 medieval Books of Hours.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Picture Day Friday: Irish Garden

Thursday, August 22, 2013

National Read-a-Romance Month

So, better late than never, right? I'm a huge romance reader as those of you who read my blog know. And yet, today's the first day I found out that August has been deemed as the National Read-a-Romance Month.

This movement was led off by Bobbi, who reviews for Kirkus and writes for NPR, mainly, on romance. "I decided to launch an event where romance writers and readers could come together and celebrate this wonderful genre!"

What a great idea! So this entire month of August, three big names in romance have been blogging daily on Why Romance Matters. Check the schedule to find out who's blogging when.

A few highlights by authors that totally reflect who they are as people...

-Christina Dodd
-Jane Porter
-Sherry Thomas
-Barbara Samuel (O'Neal)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dessert Recipes from the 17th Century

A seventeenth century dinner party may've included some of these foods.

Sugar Cakes

From the recipe book of Lady Ann Fanshawe, the wife of Charles II’s ambassador to Portugal and Madrid, compiled 1651-1707 (Wellcome Library MS.7113, p.286)

Take 2 pound of Butter, one pound of fine Sugar, the yolkes of nine Egs, a full Spoonfull of Mace beat & searsed [sifted], as much Flower as this will well wett making them so stiffe as you may rowle it out, then with the Cup of a glasse of what Size you please cutt them into round Cakes & pricke them and bake them.

Icy Cream

Take three pints of the best cream, boyle it with a blade of Mace, or else perfume it with orang flower water or Amber-Greece, sweeten the Cream, with sugar let it stand till it is quite cold, then put it into Boxes, ether of Silver or tinn then take, Ice chopped into small peeces and putt it into a tub and set the Boxes in the Ice couering them all over, and let them stand in the Ice two hours, and the Cream Will come to be Ice in the Boxes, then turne them out into a salvar with some of the same Seasoned Cream, so sarue it up at the Table.

To find out more about historical food, visit the Wellcome Library's online collection of nearly 20,000 recipes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bulwer-Lytton Howlers 2012

Since 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The contest's tagline says: where "WWW" means "Wretched Writers Welcome."

The contest was the brainchild of Professor Scott Rice. Sentenced to write a seminar paper on a minor Victorian novelist, he chose the man with the funny hyphenated name, Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, Baron of Lytton (1803-73), who was best known for perpetrating The Last Days of Pompeii, Eugene Aram, The Coming Race, and Paul Clifford, whose famous opener has been plagiarized repeatedly by the cartoon beagle Snoopy. No less impressively, Lytton coined phrases that have become common parlance in our language: "the pen is mightier than the sword," "the great unwashed," and "the almighty dollar."

Baron of LyttonIn his researches, Dr. Rice unearthed this pearl of an opener...

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness." —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

And so was born the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Here are some of the winners for 2012...

Historical Fiction
The "clunk" of the guillotine blade’s release reminded Marie Antoinette, quite briefly, of the sound of the wooden leg of her favorite manservant as he not-quite-silently crossed the polished floors of Versailles to bring her another tray of petit fours. —Leslie Craven

Purple Prose
William, his senses roused by a warm fetid breeze, hoped it was an early spring's equinoxal thaw causing rivers to swell like the blood-engorged gumlines of gingivitis, loosening winter's plaque, exposing decay, and allowing the seasonal pot-pouris of Mother Nature’s morning breath to permeate the surrounding ether, but then he awoke to the unrelenting waves of his wife's halitosis. —Guy Foisy

"I'll never get over him," she said to herself and the truth of that statement settled into her brain the way glitter settles on to a plastic landscape in a Christmas snow globe when she accepted the fact that she was trapped in bed between her half-ton boyfriend and the wall when he rolled over on to her nightgown and passed out, leaving her no way to climb out. —Karen Hamilton

Friday, August 16, 2013

Picture Day Friday: Beeton's Complete Letter Writer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Three Things Meme

From TheDiaperDiaries.wordpress.comAll good things come in threes, right?

So, here's this meme that I had first done five years ago.

1. What are the last three things you purchased?
- School uniform tights
- Watermelon and bananas
- Sippy cups

2. What are the last three songs you downloaded?
- None, because I buy CDs, rip them, and put them up on the iDevice

3. Where were the last three places you visited?
- Ocean Shores, WA
- San Diego
- Brazil

4. What are your three favorite movies?
- Pride & Prejudice (2005)
- My Fair Lady
- Jungle Book (Disney)

5. What are your three favorite possessions?
- Laptop
- Red backpack purse
- Black Merrell shoes

6. What three things can you not live without?
- Books
- Books
- Books

7. What would be your three wishes?
- Clean drinking water for everyone
- Compulsory vaccinations for all children
- Happiness for every member of my family

8. What are three things you have not done yet?
- Sold a book
- Read a book that changed my life profoundly
- Read outside the historical and contemporary sub-genre of the romance genre

9. What are your three favorite dishes?
- Nutella (what? that's not a dish? I challenge you to prove otherwise!)
- Chicken Caesar Salad
- BBQ Babyback Ribs (it's only a once a year treat! boo hoo hoo!)

10. What three celebrities would you want to hang out with the most?
- Dalai Lama
- Maggie Smith
- P.D. James

11. Name three things that freak you out.
- Heights
- Public toilets
- Crunchy cockroaches

12. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
- A Loyal Friend

13. Name three unusual things you are good at.
- Laughing at every joke (don't believe me? try me!)
- Putting both feet into mouth at the same time
- Meeting the most wonderful people everywhere (not that I have anything to do with it; they just appear)

14. What are three things you are currently coveting?
- iPhone
- Trip to Tibet
- The first sale

15. What are the three things that you like best of the place you live?
- Tall, evergreen pines
- Low humidity
- Snow-capped mountains

Monday, August 12, 2013

Find me on Pinterest

Come and take a look at my boards on Pinterest. I have the following ones: Georgian-Regency Britain, Medieval Period, Reading, Beach, and Modern Interiors. This is a new—and so totally fun and cool—hobby for me, so my boards are still evolving.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Picture Day Friday: Desert Island Bookstore

A desert island full of outdated and obsolete items including a brick-n-mortar bookstore. A New Yorker cartoon by Mort Gerberg.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jane Austen Weekend in Character in Vermont

[Photo copyrighted by The Governor's House in Hyde Park.]

What: Jane Austen Weekend in Character
Where: The Governor's House in Hyde Park, 100 Main Street, Hyde Park, Vermont 05655
When: August 9–11, 2013
How: Reservations 802-888-6888 or 866-800-6888

A leisurely weekend of literary-inspired Austenesque and Regency England diversions. And what a perfect location for it: Hyde Park.

Test your knowledge of Jane Austen, her books, and the Regency period and possibly take home a prize. Here's what they have to say about the weekend:

"Each guest will choose to be a character from any one of Austen’s novels. Period dress is optional, but guests will interact in character throughout the weekend. The activities will depend somewhat on the weather and participant interest, but may include a Regency dinner party, an evening of games, letter writing, fencing, English Country dancing, crewel embroidery, tatting, rolled paper decoration, a game of croquet, a very long walk, riding, carriage driving, archery, shooting, fly fishing, and a picnic with or without Colonel Brandon."

How I would've loved to have gone to this. I have the requisite Regency gown sewn in authentic Regency period-style by the mother of a friend of mine. I also have a matching bonnet and reticule; gloves and fan complete the outfit. With the outward clothing and the inward mind stuffed with Austen works, this would be heaven-sent holiday.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Learn to be Charismatic

Joyce Newman, President of the Newman Group, leads high level media, speaker, and executive presence sessions for top executives, celebrity spokespersons, athletes, and authors. (Note the last!)

Joyce's mantra: "Everyone can be charismatic. We are not born charismatic—we cultivate it in many ways."

Here, according to Forbes contributor Denise Restauri, are the top tips for developing your charisma.

1. Be Self-Confident

If you value yourself and project that, others will value you, too. Be consistent, enthusiastic, optimistic. You don't need bang on your drum, but being quietly assertive, with the self-knowledge that you can handle come what may, gets conveyed very easily to others.

2. Tell Great Stories

Most points are made better through stories than through bulleted lists. Use #1 above, humor, and relevancy to current culture to entertain people and hold their attention.

3. Body Language

It's a simple thing: If you wanted to be approached, be approachable. What that means is make eye contact, smile, shake hands, and be direct while also being warm. Everybody can spot a fake smile at ten paces. Be genuine.

4. Make the Conversation About Who You’re Talking To

A person prosing on about himself is a boring person, but at the same time, people like to talk about themselves. So in order to make yourself be more interesting, make the conversation be about the person you're talking to.

5. Be a Good Listener

This goes hand-in-hand with #4. People can always tell when someone is tuning them out, either from the expression on their face or from the follow-up questions and comments. Since people like talking about themselves, ergo, they like good listeners. So be one. "Listen with interest. Pay attention. Engage. Be empathetic," according to Forbes. Don't look at your cell phone or check out the crowd to see who else is more interesting.

According to Fast Company, "Remember, even Steve Jobs came across as awkward and shy during his first Apple presentations—it took him time and effort to re-create his persona and become one of the most charismatic CEOs of our time."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Picture Day Friday: c.1800 Georgian Pendant

Georgian Gold Amethyst Ruby Emerald Pearl Pendant c. 1800