Earlier this summer, I told you about reading Wendy McClure’s The Wilder Life, N. John Hall’s Correspondence: A Novel in Letters, and Charles Everitt’s Adventures of a Treasure Hunter. All three were entertaining and about books. Since then, I’ve added a couple more good reads to my list. The first is Louis Bayard’s School of Night. A biblio-mystery that takes place in both past and present and that involves a present day disgraced scholar, an eccentric bibliophile who fakes his own suicide, and English scientist Thomas Harriot (1560-1621), this story held my attention. Minor characters include Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. And what would any good biblio-mystery be without a bit of alchemy and The Plague thrown in? This book was an entertaining beach read while I was on vacation.
I also began reading David Pearson’s The Book as History: The Importance of Books Beyond Their Texts. This book has reinforced my thinking when it comes to printed books as intrinsically interesting objects — objects whose meaning and value is altered (and not necessarily for the better) when their contents are presented in a different format. It’s also led me to consider some new avenues for collecting books.
And for some inexplicable reason, I had a hankering to re-read a book I read for History when I was a sophomore in high school: The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. I have no idea why I wanted to re-read this book. I just remember that I enjoyed reading it in high school. I also remember a particular rhyme from the book:
“They seek him here,
They seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere,
Is he is heaven?
Or is he in hell?
That demmed elusive pimpernel.”
I couldn’t remember much else about this book before I began re-reading it. I recalled that the hero was British and that the story took place during the French Revolution and Reign of Terror. I could, however, recall the above rhyme; I just couldn’t get that rhyme out of my head. So I picked up the book and started reading. I haven’t finished it yet, but I will soon.
One of my favorite things about summer is that I have time to truly dig into the stack of books to be read (also known as the TBR stack). Now that I’ve read these, I’ll be compiling a new TBR stack for the fall.
See you in the stacks!