Thursday, November 28, 2013

In Which I Begin My Four-Day Retreat

I am taking advantage of this four-day Thanksgiving weekend to retreat from my everyday schedule. I am not going anywhere - just staying holed up at home - but taking a break from my computer screen, errands, smart phone, and email. I do have Thanksgiving dinner plans but after that the only company I will be keeping is my own. 

Some folks plan a Writing Retreat in which they take a few days off for solitary, uninterrupted time to work on a creative project. I am switching that up. As of today, I am on a No-Writing Retreat. 

Here are my simple rules:

Screen time - None. That means no blog entries, no checking email, no online reading, no mindless surfing, no phone calls. I am putting my laptop in the closet and turning off my phone. And no television. Oh, wait. I don't have one. Well, I won't be watching any movies on my laptop either.

Writing - The only writing I will do is by hand. That means I can catch up on handwritten correspondence, brainstorm some plans for 2014, continue with entries on my book card catalog, and perhaps do a bit of sketching. I am looking forward to having my fountain pen in my hand.

Reading - Oh my. I have so many books in my To Be Read pile that I don't really know where to start. Perhaps with At Home
(that seems appropriate) by Bill Bryson, Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and As We Were by E.F. Benson. 

Domestic projects - There are a few projects here at home that I would like to work on before the end of the year - a bit of filing, decluttering, rearranging, etc. I also plan to take some time to sort and sift through books that I might be willing to send to another good home - donated or gifted away. (Perhaps this means a book giveaway or two from Belle, Book, and Candle. Stay tuned!)

In preparation for these four days, I have stocked up on food. I bought a new blend of herbal loose tea to sip on while I think. I have some yummy oatmeal/cranberry cookies from a local bakery to munch on. And I made a pot of vegetable-lentil soup that should last me a while and provide warmth and nutrition.

I don't plan on going anywhere in the car except to the park (five minutes away) where I walk every day. I kind of have a schedule in mind as to how I will spend each day but nothing written in stone. Let it unfold. Lots of naps. I want this time to be relaxing and quiet and not governed by a mighty To Do List.

So I will see you back here on Monday, December 2. I trust I will be rested, refreshed and refueled.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Making a Gratitude List

Here in the United States, tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. A quiet day to spend with friends and family. 

I am grateful everyday and don't really need a special holiday to remind me of the many treasures in my life. But I began a tradition long ago that I still practice. For years, I have begun Thanksgiving morning by getting up early, sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, and making an ABC gratitude list in my journal. I note the A-B-Cs down the side of the page and then quickly fill in with something that I am grateful for.

Apples, Baseball, Coffee, Dandelions

For instance, from last year's list, November 21, 2012:

Elvis, Friends, Goats

And, an oldie from almost 25 years ago, November 23, 1989:

Hope, Intuition, Joy, Kindness

If you love lists like I do, you've got to love making a gratitude list. I think the ABC list is carefree and casual and spontaneous. I simply write whatever pops into my mind and sometimes surprise myself.

Lemonade, Magic, Nightingales, Ohio River, Paris

You could also use the ABCs to guide your list to include only foods or animals or people. Or you could go for a list of totally non-material things.  One year I listed authors:

Quiller-Couch, Rhinehart, Simenon, Thirkell

Even a non-gratitude list will give you gratitude if you can just flip the list around.

For example, I may not be grateful for floods, plagues or pestilence, but I am grateful that I am not experiencing any of those right now. I may not be grateful for all the torn-up streets that plague the city right now – construction, utility company updates, repaving, bridges – but just think how grateful we will all be when eventually the streets are clear and smooth.

Umbrellas, Vegetables, Writing

It seems to me that having a grateful heart wards off resentment, envy, self-pity, and despair. Gratitude is the cornerstone of a spiritual life. And the only way I know to foster gratitude is to say “thank you” often.

Say '”thank you” out loud. Whisper it before falling asleep. Say it to your family and friends. Write it on your check to the electric company. Wave it to the stranger who lets you out in traffic. Write thank you every morning in your journal.

Buy a small notebook to keep by your bedside and every evening record those people, places, events, and things that you are grateful for. 

Take a few moments in the morning and start your day with gratitude. 

eXcellence, Yellow, Zinnias.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Book Fool

Nicholas A. Basbanes is an author and former book review editor for The Sunday Telegram in Worcester, 
Massachusetts. He spoke with Brian Lamb in a 1995 interview on Booknotes about his book, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books. The following quote comes from Booknotes: America's Finest Authors on Reading, Writing, and the Power of Ideas and explains the books title:

I coined the title myself, actually. It was a description made of Isaiah Thomas, a great nineteenth-century American bibliophile and collector. When he died, his grandson Benjamin Franklin Thomas, said, "Grandfather was afflicted from the earliest age with the gentlest of infirmities: He was a bibliomaniac." And when I saw that description of him, I said, "There's my title."

On the cover of the book, it is, in fact, a woodcut - a very famous one. It's 500 years old. It was executed by Albrecht Dürer. It's called The Book Fool and it was in Das Narrenschiff, the original Ship of Fools. And the first fool of the whole story, the fool at the helm, was the bibliomane, the book fool. And I've always loved that particular engraving, and I chose it for the dust jacket.

His title, A Gentle Madness, could be used to describe a condition that afflicts many of us. I have not read any of Mr. Basbanes' nine books that cover authors, libraries, and book-collectors. His latest is On Paper: The Everything of Its Two Thousand Year History, by a Self-Confirmed Bibliophiliac.

I best be updating my To Be Read list!

Are you acquainted with Mr. Basbanes and his bibliomania?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Brian Lamb and Booknotes

Brian Lamb

Back in the day when I owned a television set, Sunday evenings at eight o'clock would find me watching Booknotes, hosted by Brian Lamb on C-Span. 

I have a huge crush on Mr. Lamb. I could be president of his fan club. He introduced me to so many authors and non-fiction books from 1989 to 2004 when he spent an hour with one author, one book. He sat in his chair facing his guest. They were separated by a small coffee table. The backdrop was a black curtain. No distractions. 

He asked his succinct questions and then shut up. He let the interviewee talk and never interrupted or tried to prove how smart he was. (Although I think he is brilliant.) I knew, that unlike some other interviewers, he had actually Read the Book. 

When Mr. Lamb retired from Booknotes in 2004, he began a show called Q&A in which he interviews not only authors but other "interesting people," journalists, corporate leaders, film directors, editors, and, in 2005, President George W. Bush.  This program is shown on Sundays at 8 p.m. on C-Span.

I have two books that have been culled from Booknotes interviews: Stories from American History - Leading Historians on the Events That Shaped Our Country (2001) and American's Finest Authors on Reading, Writing, and the Power of Ideas (1997).

The first holds eighty diverse tales told by current historians including a look at, among others, The Cuban Missile Crisis (Donald Kagan), The Roosevelt Dynasty (Peter Collier), The Harlem Renaissance (Emily Bernard), and Modern Presidents' Mothers (Bonnie Angelo). 

In the second book, Mr. Lamb has compiled answers from his guests to such questions as "Where do you write?" "Do you use a computer?" "How did you research this?" "Why are these folks in your dedication?" He gets answers to these and other questions about the writing process from 120 authors including David McCullough, Thomas Friedman, Shelby Foote, Betty Friedan, bell hooks, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Margaret Thatcher.

In the introduction to each book, Mr. Lamb writes a bit of the behind the scenes look at Booknotes including the time 10,000 viewers sent self-addressed envelopes to C-Span for the giveaway of 500 brass bookmarks celebrating the program's fifth anniversary. 

All 10,000 of them got their bookmark, because, as he wrote, "How can you turn away friends?"

Mr. Lamb retired as founding CEO of C-Span last year, and he donated his entire library from the Booknotes program to George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He still conducts the Q&A program interviews. The videos and the transcripts of the Booknotes interviews (here) and the Q&A interviews (here) are available online. 

Thank you, Mr. Lamb!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Power of Light


Winter came swooping in overnight and the temperature plunged to 20 degrees. It plans on staying there all day. So I found myself this morning settled in with a cup of coffee and a copy of Jean Hersey's book, The Shape of a Year. I have been faithfully reading this book - month by month - containing Ms. Hersey's observations of life in and around her Connecticut home and small farm. It was published in 1967. 

I was enjoying her comments on the colors and fragrances of November and how she put together a terrarium made of moss, tiny ferns and plants, and a bit of lichen-covered rock or bark picked up on a walk in the woods near her house. I was tempted to try my hand at making her recipe for herb bread. 

And then the lights went out. And the heat. 

It didn't take long for my house to become quite chilly. And it was just a bit too dim to continue reading. 

After about 45 minutes, power was restored.  Then it went off for another 20 minutes and then came back on. Finally, I picked up Ms. Hersey again and in a moment, this is what I was reading:

I am thankful for light -- all kinds, man-made and natural. How lovely is dawn light, starlight, sunlight on green grass, candlelight, house lights on stormy nights, or on any night, street lights, and firelight. And the first streaming sunlight after a week of gray days and showers.

There is the magic of shining car lights on wet pavements on rainy nights. The mysterious lights on bridges like necklaces of diamonds in the gloaming. One of my favorite lights is the yellow beam of our outside light that greets us from down the road when we have been away for the evening. 

Well, I couldn't agree more. And what a pleasant meditation to read after sitting in the gloomy morning waiting for electric light - and heat - to return.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Edition, 1947

This is the dictionary that we used when my grandparents and I played Scrabble. I was quite young and they were kind enough to let me look up words before I made a play. I still have their original Scrabble game with its real wood letter tiles. In the box are the scores recorded from some of those early games written in my grandfather's hand. As a civil engineer, he was the one good at math and we trusted his addition skills.

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Edition has a copyright date of 1947. The cover is dark brown with decorative embossing and the title is stamped in gold. The letters are thumb-indexed and a black-and-white portrait of Mr. Noah Webster graces page one. It was printed by H.G. Houghton and Company, Electrotypers, Printers, and Binders in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is based on Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, copyright 1934.

My grandfather wrote his name in pencil on the inside cover. Underneath that, in pen, my grandmother had written his full name, their address, and noted Christmas, 19--. I wonder why she didn't know the year that it was given as a gift? Perhaps she wrote this entry after my grandfather died and couldn't remember the date but wanted to make note of the circumstances. 

Weighing in at 1276 pages, this is a hefty book of words. It contains 1800 illustrations, a listing of Colleges and Universities, a biographical dictionary, and a pronouncing gazetteer. So in case you should ever want to untangle the pronunciation of Tsinling Shan, a mountain range in China, this is your book.

I love the dictionary's illustration of this little fellow.

There is a list of Common English Christian Names - both men's and women's. And who could do without the section on Foreign Words and Phrases including Proverbs, Colloquial Expressions, and the Mottoes of the States and Leading Nations. 

And here is something a bit outdated: a section titled Preparation of Copy for the Press advising that your "Manuscript should be kept and mailed flat. If necessary, it may be folded, but it should never by rolled." The editors have kindly included an explanation of proofreading marks and have used them to correct a proof of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Seven pages of New Words include definitions for air condition, jam session, newscaster, and televise. 

In the Preface, the dictionary user is told that Lowland Scottish terms, which formed a separate glossary in the previous edition of the Collegiate, have in this book been made an integral part of the general vocabulary. The selections of these terms, based on their use by such authors as Burns and Scott, has been made under the supervision of the Editor in Chief.

Remember, this was back in the day when Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott would have been household names. No need to identify them by first name!

I wrote about three other of the seven dictionaries that sit on my shelves here and here. Getting to know my word companions and writing about them is proving to be quite a nostalgic project.

Thank you, Mr. Webster.

Friday, November 22, 2013

James Tobin and Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the Library

Author James Tobin 

It's been a big week for books and author events. Last night, as part of its Author Lecture Series, James Tobin spoke at the public library about his new book The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency.

He began by telling that his interest in Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) began when he was a child and his grandmother told him the story of Roosevelt's "act of great courage" as he struggled to walk across the stage at the Democratic National Convention in 1924. This public appearance came just three years after he was stricken with polio, at the age of 39, which left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. He was never able to walk unaided again.

That night in New York, FDR was giving the party's nomination of Al Smith for president. Mr. Smith lost the national election, but Mr. Roosevelt went on to win the governorship of New York four years later. In 1933 he became the 32nd president of the United States and served an unprecedented four terms in the White House seeing Americans through the Great Depression and World War II. He died just a month before the war in Europe ended.

In his book, Mr. Tobin asserts that FDR's response to his polio transformed his character and strengthened his resolve to pursue his political career. That his rehabilitation showed him as a fighter and proved to people that a crippled man could be strong. He was not a man to pity but a man to cheer. 

Over the years, it has been reported that there was a great cover up of the president's disability. That the press didn't write about his health and photographers were forbidden to take pictures of him. This is not true, said Mr. Tobin. There was no conspiracy. The issue of his disability was discussed by him and others. His only objection to being photographed while walking or getting in or out of a car or boarding a train, was that he was worried about falling in front of an audience. And although he fell often in private, he didn't want people to think of him as a figure to be pitied. 

Mr. Tobin asserts that FDR's courage and determination to overcome his own personal ordeal is what gave the American people a reason to hope during the Great Depression and the war. 

The event was well-attended and as an added bonus, a crew from C-Span was there filming the presentation to be shown on BookTV at some future date. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eureka! A Reading Pillow That Works

The Pyramid Reading Pillow  

I have written a few times about the frustration of not being able to find a comfortable pillow designed for reading in bed. 

That quest has come to a successful end. I am not one to tout products, but I do want to tell you about the Pyramid Pillow from Instead of holding me, this pillow is designed to hold a book - paper or electronic - in my lap, on a desk, or in bed.

I love this pillow. It has a canvas cover, is filled like a beanbag, is lightweight, and has pockets to hold reading glasses, phone, or pen and paper. It even comes with its own screen-cleaning cloth. It measures about 10 inches wide by 12 inches deep by 9 inches high. 

I can snuggle down in my bed, covers up to my chin, with my head propped up on pillows and rest this gem on my chest. My Kindle fits perfectly on the 'ledge' on one side of the pillow and is held at a comfortable angle for reading. I like my Kindle for reading in bed as I can increase the font size and can actually see the words on the page, er, screen. 

A plus for me, besides the above, is that this small pillow sits on my bedside table holding the Kindle when I am not using it. I never could figure out where to put those bed rest pillows during the day. They were not very attractive and were so bulky they were difficult to store. 

If you are interested in this companion to your nighttime reading, it is item number FA4235. It also comes in a tan/gray color (which isn't as attractive as my black/gray one). It costs $39. Levenger seems to always have some sort of sale going on so you could keep an eye out for a bargain. When I bought mine a few weeks ago, it was on sale and I got it for $34 including shipping.

Who knew that a little pillow could make me so happy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Historic Kentucky Kitchen

Handwritten recipe for Logan English's Zucchini and Eggs* 

The event Monday night with Deidre A. Scaggs, author of The Historic Kentucky Kitchen:Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook was quite entertaining...and delicious. Ms. Scaggs began by telling the 100 or so people in attendance that she had fond memories of growing up in a small Kentucky town and eating her grandmother's cooking. She inherited her grandmother's cast iron skillet and uses it today. Her father was the other cook in her life and he still fixes her breakfast when she visits him. He is the 'egg sandwich expert' mentioned in the book's dedication.

She had some funny stories about trying to modernize the handwritten recipes that she discovered in the archives of the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections where she serves as associate dean. Many times she had to figure out that the measurement for 'butter the size of a hen's egg' equaled 3 to 4 tablespoons and that '1 tumbler full' and '1 coffee cup full' each equal about 8 fluid ounces.

When it came time to try out Mary M. Peter's Hickory Nut Cake (1889), she discovered that hickories were a hard nut to crack. She ordered them and was frustrated when they arrived in their shells. No amount of pounding would crack the shells until she finally wrapped them in a tea towel and beat them with her grandmother's iron skillet. Then she had to spend time separating the nutmeats from the shell pieces and barely had the one cup of nuts that the recipe called for. 

Lesson learned: when ordering hickory nuts be sure to specify 'shelled'. 

One of her failures involved the White Mountain Cake. Ms. Scaggs tried all sorts of ways to make and bake this vintage dessert - to no avail. Therefore, it never made it into the book. I found a recipe for the cake in one of my mother's cookbooks from the 1940s and I will send it to Ms. Scaggs. Perhaps it will help.

Out of two hundred recipes that were discovered, adapted to today's measurements and oven temperatures, and taste-tested only 100 of them made it into the book. 

The cookbook also contains biographical sketches of the Kentucky women and their families whose recipes were discovered and converted which makes it part cookbook, part history book, and part collection of Southern classics - fried chicken, pound cake, mayonnaise, egg nog, and mint tea. 

Ms. Scaggs thoughtfully brought her own refreshments, the recipes for which were taken from the cookbook. There was Frances Jewell McVey's Spiced Tea (1920s) which I did not imbibe and Seaton Family's Buttermilk Cake (1880s) which of course, as I love cake,  I had to eat. It was heavenly.

It was a fun evening and now I am ready to tie on my apron and try out some of these recipes.

*There was a note in the book that this zucchini and egg recipe was difficult to decipher as it didn't specify how to cook the eggs - poached or hard-boiled?. She decided to poach the eggs and the rest of the ingredients were treated as a salad to sit under them. I could do without the anchovies!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Out of Print - The Documentary

Independent filmmaker
Vivienne Roumani
Sunday night I attended a showing of the documentary "Out of Print" that explores The Book - its past, present, and future. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take very good notes in the dark. 

The documentary was directed and produced by Vivienne Roumani who was in attendance. She is a former librarian; a creative and animated woman. The film, narrated by Meryl Streep, was presented free of charge as part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. Maybe 50 people attended.

The documentary looked at:
the real book, the ebook revolution, the availability of knowledge online, libraries (past and future of), the attention span of young people and adults, learning by 'snippets of information', reading whole books versus reading a synopsis and calling it reading the whole book, culture in capsules, books as tools, mistaking information gathering for knowledge, copyright issues, the future livelihood of authors, digital self-publishing trends, and the savagery of Amazon.


Lots of well-known people with all sorts of views - teachers, librarians, readers, authors, parents, and entrepreneurs - gave sound bite opinions on all of the above. So you had Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon (who was just a bit creepy); Author Guild president Scott Turow; Fred Bass, owner of Strand bookstore in New York City; Harvard librarian Robert Darnton; author Alberto Manguel; and others. 

Nothing that we haven't been talking and reading about, but interesting to have all these ideas presented in one, fifty-five minute piece.

It was brought out that The Screen Generation - teens, college students, and younger and younger children - don't read whole books. When presented with having to do any sort of deep research involving critical thinking and using printed resources (versus what they can find out online), they balk.

There was a panel discussion after the screening with a university librarian, an independent bookstore owner, and Ms. Roumani.

The librarian has embraced online research journals, periodicals, and other online source materials for the university's students. The bookstore owner is optimistic. She feels that the pendulum is still swinging between the novelty of ebooks and the usefulness of paper books and will eventually settle. She doesn't see the demise of books or bookstores. Ms. Roumani says that the issues raised in the film - authors' rights, pricing, availability of knowledge - are being addressed. Her concern is that people no longer read long-form texts or even read at all - in whatever format.

Actually, the film made me sad. I felt as if I was someone on the edge of extinction. That my way of learning and reading and meeting the world is quickly disappearing. I don't know what is going to capture the imagination of generations of non-readers if not the characters, ideas, and worlds both real and imaginary, that are to be found books.

Excuse me while I trudge off to the nearest tar pit - book in hand.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Faces at the Kentucky Book Fair

The ever-popular Sue Grafton. Fans lined up all day to get her autograph in her latest Kinsey Millhone mystery, W is for Wasted.

Poet, essayist, and novelist Wendell Berry has a faithful following. He was kept busy all day long signing many of his books. I met him at last year's Book Fair. This year I just waved as I walked by.

Mystery writer Duffy Brown looked great in her 'Crime Scene Do Not Cross' scarf. She was signing her entertaining puzzlers set in Savannah, Iced Chiffon and Killer in Crinolines. Her next mystery starring amateur sleuth Reagan Summerside, owner of the consignment shop, The Prissy Fox, is due out in March. This time Reagan will be investigating a crime involving Pearls and Poison. Ms. Brown is very friendly and genuine. I met her last year and have become a fan.

Alecia Whitaker is the author of Queen of Kentucky which I wrote about here. I was delighted and surprised to meet her as she was not listed in the online brochure of authors who would be attending. She was so gracious and like 14-year-old Ricki Jo, the girl on the cover, she had on her cowboy boots. Her new book is Wildflower, a story of a young songwriter/singer's experiences with fame.

Alison Atlee is the author of The Typewriter Girl, the story of Betsey Dobson who is trying to make her way as an independent woman in Victorian England. I wrote a bit about the book here. I spoke with Ms. Atlee about the clever chapter headings in her book concerning the rules of typewriting that she culled from an 1890's book How to Become an Expert in Typewriting. I found the advice to be applicable in life as well as when sitting in front of the typewriter.

 Deidre A. Scaggs is author of The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook. I will be seeing her and her taste-testing co-author, chef Andrew W. McGraw, at another book event tonight. She highly recommended the Parrish Family's Lemon Custard Pie, circa 1850s, and assured me it is a recipe that even I - a non-cook - could follow. "It's super easy!"  Sure enough, the recipe has only five ingredients. I may have to dig out my apron!

This dapper fellow is Dan Andriacco, writer of the Sebastian McCabe-Jeff Cody series. His latest, The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore takes place in London, a favorite location of mine. Mr. Andriacco has been a Sherlock Holmes fan since he was nine and incorporates some of that famous detective's methods in his mysteries. 

Bryan S. Bush is a local historian and lecturer on The Civil War. His book, Louisville and The Civil War, takes a look at the role of my hometown in that conflict. Mr. Bush partipates in reenactment events as a Confederate artillery soldier and leads tours through the portion of historic Cave Hill Cemetery where Union and Confederate soldiers are buried. He told me the fascinating story of accused Confederate spy Elizabeth Temms who died in a Union prison in Louisville. She is the only woman buried with the Confederate soldiers in Cave Hill.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Books from the Book Fair

I must admit I suffered a bit of sticker shock when I checked out with the cashier at the Kentucky Book Fair yesterday. Three books: $68.78.

For someone who enjoys shopping and buying at used books stores, paying new book prices is quite a leap, but I am comfortable with my choices: a cookery, a mystery, and a history. Plus I had a blast seeing and talking with many authors even though I didn't always buy their books.

The Cookery
I certainly wouldn't consider myself a cook - not by a long shot - but I was fascinated with The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook. It contains more than a hundred recipes from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that were taken from handwritten diaries and journals, scrapbooks, and out-of-print cookbooks. They were collected, modernized a bit, and taste tested by Deidre A. Scaggs who is with the University of Kentucky Libraries of Special Collections and Andrew W. McGraw, chef at the County Club restaurant in Lexington. Together they searched the Special Collections for recipes that everyday people would use.

So you have recipes for Lucy Hayes Breckinridge's Corn Soup, early 1900s; Frances Jewel McVey's Pumpkin Pie, circa 1920s; and Nanny Clay McDowell's Egg Nog, 1882. Copies of the original handwritten lists of ingredients and cooking instructions are included in the book.

As part of my book cataloging project, I just came across - tucked in a cookbook of my mother's - a few handwritten recipes of my grandmother's. One for fruit cake. No cooking instructions - she knew those by heart - just the list of ingredients. These family gems were on my mind when I saw this book.

As a value-added piece, the authors are speaking tomorrow night at an event at the local historical society and I plan to attend. Although I met and spoke with Ms. Scaggs, I will look forward to hearing some cooking tips from Chef McGraw.

The Mystery
This crime novel takes place in London, England - always a favorite location of mine. Fictional mystery writer Sebastian McCabe, his friend Jeff Cody, and Cody's wife, journalist Lynda Teal, are all swept up in solving The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore. Mr. Phillimore is an investment banker and member of the Sherlock Holmes Society. It looks to be great fun. Author Dan Andriacco told me that this was the fourth in his series that rely on Holmes-like investigations. I don't usually start in the middle of a series, but I was attracted to the London location and the Holmes connection. 

The History
Louisville and The Civil War takes a look at the role my hometown played during that conflict. Author Bryan S. Bush is a local historian and lecturer. He has participated as a Confederate artillery soldier in many reenactment events and he attended the Book Fair in uniform. He was quite an interesting character and I am always looking for ways to find out more about my city's history.

So those are the books. Tomorrow I will share with you the faces of the authors I met. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kentucky Book Fair 2013

Cost of books bought today at the 32nd Annual Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort:  $68.78

Cost of lunch at Gibby's on Main Street in Frankfort:  $9.53

Two hours; two hundred authors:  Priceless!