Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries: Delectable History through Southern Regional Food

About this time, the editor, who is spending a total of three weeks in Morocco, is probably sick and tired of Moroccan food and is yearning, yes, licking her lips over the prospect of returning home to the South and eating a great big bowl of grits. Seems like a good time to revisit this […]

Rounding Up the Western Genre

“Go West Young Man,” along with “America’s Manifest Destiny,” was a motto that stirred Americans to dream of traveling to the wild west—an intriguing place away from civilization. Although knowing little to nothing about the “real west” themselves, novelists quickly fueled the flames of the public’s fascination with their stories. New Jersey born James Fenimore […]

Children, Love, Villains and Allies – The Case for Fairy Tales

Part One Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending with Butterflies, Flames, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things. She is young and blonde (or raven-haired) and beautiful – always beautiful. That is unless she’s old and grey and stout. She sleeps or runs or tiptoes through the […]

Eloise Living Large at the Plaza

“I am Eloise.  I am six.  I am a city child.  I live at the Plaza.”  And so begins the intriguing, zany, wonderful story of Eloise, written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight.  This book was given to me in the late 50’s, and, I’m delighted to report,  has become a three generation must-read for me, […]

Dying To Be Noticed

Sadly, many creative people aren’t recognized in their field until they are six feet under. Of course, back in Plato’s day fame wasn’t such a big deal because it didn’t exist as it does today. In fact, before the Industrial Revolution authors were said to be doing well when they were simply recognized in their […]

Mapping the Fictional Universe

The history of fantasy maps in books goes back at least as far as Jonathan Swift and Gulliver’s Travels. Swift’s satirical account of adventures in imaginary lands was modeled on the real-life exploration narratives that were popular in his day, and like many of these travelogues, it included engravings of maps. Two centuries or so later, […]

Victorian Smackdown: Five Little Peppers v. Four Little Women, Part 2

Last week, I speculated about possible tension between Louisa May Alcott and Harriett Lothrop (“Margaret Sidney”), who, along with Nathaniel Hawthorne, lived in The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the week between that first post and this, I was delighted to discover a book by Patricia West, Domesticating […]