Skip to main content

Auld Lang Syne and Typhus

Ah, a new year. Welcome to 2012, book bloggers! If the world ends this year, I'll be a little disappointed, but in case it does, let's all try to have just a bit more fun. And I guess be nicer to people.

You know what's lovely? Reading books that belong to people we love. More specifically, parents or grandparents, because most of the time, they're books they enjoyed when they were closer to our age and reading them can make you feel like you understand them just a bit better.

All my grandparents have passed away, as my parents skew a bit on the older end of the spectrum, and we got most of their books. These, and a bunch of my parents' older books reside in their basement. When I visit home, I like glancing around down there, and I usually pinch at least one and bring it up to Chicago (shh — don't tell them; only my dad apparently reads this, so Hi Dad! I'll return them!).

Last Christmas I found this completely fantastic gem from 1935, reprinted in 1967 (when my dad was 27, i.e. the age I'm going to be this year):


It's a biography of typhus by a bacteriologist! Who is kind of wandering and funny, with lines like "Having written the preceding paragraphs, we read them over and came to the conclusion that there was little in them that mattered very much."

Oh, and check this out: "But having ascended to these cold heights by laborious upward paths of reason, they sit down in their metaphysical toboggans and swish back into the warm and comfortable vales of theology."

Anyway. I am delighted by it.

Hoping you've all started out with similarly fun books. HAPPY 2012! I leave you with a gif of Alex Kingston and Matt Smith having a grand time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.




The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…