World Book and Copyright Day: April 23rd

World Book and Copyright Day: April 23rd

World Book (and Copyright) Day is relatively new (about 20 years old) and celebrates books, literature, authors, writing–and most importantly, READING, worldwide. Because of loose literary connections in history, April 23rd, each year, is the official day. What will you do to take note of this holiday?

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“Nineteenth Century Problems”

“Nineteenth Century Problems”

“Nineteenth Century Problems” is a bit of poking fun at today’s “First World Problems” tongue-in-cheek humor…the challenges we face today because we have a life of ease. I came across the Nineteenth Century practice of allowing barnyard animals free run of the surrounding neighborhood–not a problem until their presence (and eating habits, and messes)–became an inconvenience of that growing town. Read vintage newspaper clippings about this challenge and the dangers it posed, along with a separate, serious threat of the late Nineteenth Century; now that’s a serious problem!

Hat Etiquette of the Victorian Era

Hat Etiquette of the Victorian Era

Etiquette governed much during the Victorian Era: courtship, marriage, mourning, letters, social calls, dancing, engagements and breaking of engagements, clothing…and men’s hats. When reading fiction and nonfiction alike, I’ve wondered about men tipping their hats to ladies, removing their hats (or not), giving their hats over to the butler (or not), wearing a Stetson inside or during a business meeting… What did good manners demand? How did a cowboy show respect? How did a lady know if a man hoped to stay awhile when he paid a call?

Paralyzed Bridegroom: January 15, 1888

Paralyzed Bridegroom: January 15, 1888

PARALYZED BRIDEGROOM: A vintage newspaper article published on January 15, 1888 in The Sunday Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, shows the superstitious nature of one (Kentucky) widower…and a very odd set of circumstances. Note that the article takes care to explain both the effected bridegroom and the new bride are frugal, hard-working, well-respected people of common sense. Amazing what a bit of folklore, threats from a dying first wife, and “the power of suggestion” can do.

How to Attract Men: April 6, 1894

How to Attract Men: April 6, 1894

A vintage newspaper article (123 years old), dated April 6, 1894, was published in a Hamburg, New York newspaper (The Sun and the Erie County Independent). Titled HOW TO ATTRACT MEN, the brief advice encapsulates the late Victorian-era’s social expectations for men and women–and sheds light on the etiquette of courtship…or how a woman might properly persuade a man to notice her (so a courtship might commence).

BOOK REVIEW: Frankly, My Dear: Creating Unforgettable Characters by Melinda Curtis

BOOK REVIEW: Frankly, My Dear: Creating Unforgettable Characters by Melinda Curtis

My book review of Melinda Curtis’s new title for writers, Frankly My Dear: Creating Unforgettable Characters. This “craft” book on the art of fiction is a unique approach (as far as I’m aware), steeped in current psychology, to instruct, inform, and enable novelists to create believable, unforgettable, and consistent characters whose reactions to conflict ring true to readers. 5 stars!

Victorian Blizzards, Nonstop in the 1880s

Victorian Blizzards, Nonstop in the 1880s

The decade of the 1880s proved among the most disastrous, desperate, life-threatening (and life-taking)–as winter in North America was at an extreme, the whole decade long. Climatologists have theories we understand today, but were unknown to our Victorian American ancestors. If you read a fictional book set in the 1880s, that touches on a mild winter, be surprised. Today, March 11th, is the anniversary of “the big one”.