The Library of Things, the Inconstant Gardener and How We Lived Then

Dear Reader,

Have you checked if your local library has a mono library? Many branches do. This is a great way to satisfy your insatiable desire to try (for example) cotton candy machines, banjos, telescopes, and more. Nothing brightens my day like discovering hot new products on the shelves. Soil scales… novelty cake pans… trekking poles… can you (temporarily) own them all for “free”? Another reason why libraries are sacred and must be protected.

If you don’t have Library of Things on your branch, perhaps I can suggest a trial and help get you started. And while you’re there, check to see if we have the following books in stock. Recommended.

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday.


Nonfiction, 1981 (originally 1967)

Where did the table fork come from? When did wallpapers become popular? Why did 17th-century Spanish soldiers despise beer?*

If you want answers to such humble questions, you’ll be happy to run through Fernando Braudel’s study of everyday actions and objects from 1400 to 1799. Cimmerian tobogganing lore, better look elsewhere. I enjoy soaring like an eagle across the world’s economic, religious, moral and artistic traditions. after that Pursuing every detail calls for closer scrutiny.

Braudel’s project is to evoke context, and in writing about the slow rhythms of being: chairs, paper, keys, money, mail, cigarettes, bread, etc. Create a photographic image of life. By the way, this book will gobble up at least three months of his reading time, so it’s a solid choice if you want to stick to a tight 2023 budget.

*1) The forks come from Venice. 2) Wallpaper became popular in the 1700s as a cheaper alternative to woven tapestries. 3) Then, as now, wine drinkers tended to hold their noses high against beer. One Spanish soldier claimed that beer “always looks like sick horse urine to me.”

Please read: Illustration of Ariel and Will Durant, painter Jan Steen, metallurgy, diorama, trade route
Available from: Check out libraries and used bookstores

Fiction, 1984

When an author’s sense of fixation intensifies, we go back to that person’s first book and proceed in strict chronological order. This brings a warm sense of intimacy as I understand their evolution as writers, especially when I am fortunate enough to come across a fascinating weakness.

I couldn’t resist a novel titled According to Mark, so I broke the chronological rule with Lively. had Like twinkling. A vibrant type of writer is the type that takes an obscure biblical reference and makes it even juicier. The famous Mark is at the height of his mid-life crisis when he meets a gardener named Carrie and ends up in a devastating love triangle (the other vertex of the triangle is his wife). Carrie has a bubbly personality, quirky hair and a strong feeling for dwarf conifers. She is also the granddaughter of a minor celebrity whose biographer Mark is studying. This one has a lot of plot, but not too much. just the right amount.

Please read: melodramatic weather, Barbara Pym, Elisabeth von Arnim, Pattering, Hiding Secrets, Arranging Flowers
Available from: Check out libraries and used bookstores

  • Pour the vino into a glass and crack open Mario Puzo’s The Godfather (even if you’ve already seen the movie). bite your fist Are you in awe of the addictive speed and vulgarity of prose?

  • Ever wondered what the late Lucy Greeley’s face meant? You’ll never see mirror same way.

  • Voyage to Oahu’s North Shore Surfer EthnographyWipe your feet at the doorstep, know your place in the lineup and always yield to the locals.? Mahalo.

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