Showing posts from October, 2020

The Tower of London

 The Tower of Lo ndon: A Historical Romance, by William Harrison Ainsworth, illustrated by George Cruikshank  This was a fun read -- I got it from Gutenberg.  It's an early Victorian historical novel, published serially in 1840, and it's all about Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days' Queen.  The story starts with her entering the Tower as Queen (July 1553), and ends with her execution (February 1554).  But really, the main character of this story is the Tower itself; Ainsworth wrote his story so that he could talk about the Tower of London, and at least half of the illustrations are of specific rooms in certain towers.  Only the other half show the action of the story, all of which takes place in the Tower.   Jane's reign and imprisonment are the setting of the story, but much of it involves intrigue behind the scene, both "upstairs and downstairs," as you might say.  The Spanish and French ambassadors plot against Jane and each other, along with a complicated cast

Welcome fall!

 I pulled one of my periodic disappearances, just because everything (in the world) has been so overwhelming.  I have read virtually nothing but the fluffiest of Golden Age mysteries for the past couple of weeks -- mostly Georgette Heyer and Christie -- and I haven't found time to blog about the things I was reading before my sudden vacation.  I'm way behind on reading blogs, too!  I've done a good bit of embroidery, though, and I finished my lunatic labyrinth quilt project.  There are so many quilts I want to make, and so many embroidery projects to do!  Also, autumn has finally arrived, the smoke is gone, and the weather is glorious -- cool and breezy.  How lovely to be able to get too cold and put on a sweater!   I'm going to try to pull myself out of it this week so as to be ready for Witch Week, which is coming soon!  You'll find a post from me in the lineup, and I'm participating in the readalong discussion for The Graveyard Book.   I hope you'll join

The Golden Bough Readalong, Part the Tenth

 I'm getting so close to the end!  Only about 3 weeks to go, assuming I manage to stay on track.  This section of reading focused on scapegoating, transference of sin or evil, and some more about the principle of contagion, I guess you could say.  Also, it's no wonder that this book annoyed religious folks. LV.  The Transference of Evil. The Transference to Inanimate Objects: Now that we've established that societies would often kill a god, let's talk about the practice of laying "the accumulated misfortunes and sins of the whole people" upon the god, who bears them away.  First let's have examples of transferring sickness, pain, or sin to an object which is then thrown away, or perhaps left for someone else to encounter and take the pain upon themselves. The Transference to Animals: Animals might be used to take away pain or evil, too, just like a scapegoat.  Lots of examples! The Transference to Men: The job of absorbing another's pain or sin might e

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible

 Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia, by Peter Pomerantsev It's been a while since my brother recommended this book to me.  But boy it was a worthwhile read -- if not exactly the kind of thing designed to cheer me up at this particular time.  In fact, I laid it aside for a few days when the world got to be a bit much for me. Peter Pomerantsev is Anglo-Russian, his parents having emigrated from the USSR to the UK in the 1970s.  In the early 2000s, he was a young man getting into media and documentary video right as Russia was going through enormous changes, and he worked in television and shot film and generally did a lot.  He published this book in 2014 -- six years ago, which is a long time in terms of what's changed! -- and it contains his observations and stories about what it's like to live in the new Russia, which, he thinks, has now reinvented itself so many times so quickly that nothing feels real; everyone just puts on wha