The Magic of Cookbooks in Fiction ‹ CrimeReads

Lucy Burdette on the long tradition of weaving cookbooks into the plots of mystery novels.

August 29, 2022, By Lucy Burdette

from article…

When one of my writing pals sent me a link to a vintage Key West Woman’s Club cookbook published in the 1940’s, the plot for my 12th Key West mystery, A DISH TO DIE FOR, finally took off. First, a little background. Food critic Hayley Snow and her dog find a body on the beach about ten miles north of Key West. It’s a shock of course, and she’s still reeling from the emotional fallout of her discovery when she remembers she’s agreed to help sort donated cookbooks for the Friends of the Key West Library.

When I reached this point in the novel, I’d been talking with my writing friends about struggling with the plot. I loved the opening scenes, but how did this man’s body end up on the beach, and why? And how could I weave in the food angle that is expected with a foodie protagonist? Could something about the donated cookbooks contribute to a murder solution?

Soon after our meeting, my friend Angelo sent this email, along with a photograph of the Key West Cookbook: I don’t know if this would be of any use to you, but I thought you’d find it interesting. I belong to the Historic Florida Page and this came up today. I wonder if they have a copy of the cookbook at your library? It was done by the Key West Woman’s Club. What’s cool is that the book was written out in longhand. 

Source: https://crimereads.com/cookbooks-fiction/

‘I just wanted my life to end’: the mystery of Agatha Christie’s disappearance | Biography books | The Guardian

In 1926 the world’s bestselling author vanished for 11 days. Did she really go into hiding to frame her husband for murder? Historian Lucy Worsley reopens a case still shrouded in mystery

By Lucy Worsley, Sat 27 Aug 2022 04.00 EDT

Illustration: Eleanor Shakespeare

Agatha Christie was sitting quietly on a train when she overheard a stranger saying her name. In the carriage, she said, were “two women discussing me, both with copies of my paperback editions on their knees”. They had no idea of the identity of their fellow passenger, and proceeded to discuss the most famous author in the world. “I hear,” said one of the ladies, “she drinks like a fish.”

I love this story because it sums up so much about Agatha Christie’s life. They both had her paperbacks. Of course they did. Christie wrote more than 80 books, outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible, so the cliche runs. And she wasn’t just a novelist, either: she remains history’s most performed female playwright. She was so successful people think of her as an institution, not as a breaker of new ground. But she was both.

And then, in the railway carriage, there’s the watchful presence of Christie herself, unnoticed. Yes, she was easy to overlook, as is the case with nearly any woman past middle age. But she deliberately played on the fact that she seemed so ordinary. It was a public image she carefully crafted to conceal her real self.

Source: ‘I just wanted my life to end’: the mystery of Agatha Christie’s disappearance | Biography books | The Guardian

Panic at the Library | Lapham’s Quarterly

The sinister history of fumigating “foreign” books.

By Brian Michael Murphy, Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Chained books in the Hereford Cathedral library, c. 1860. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

In late spring 1928 librarians in the rare book collections at the Huntington Library in Southern California noticed that something was feasting on the volumes in their care. Rail and utilities titan Henry E. Huntington had established the library in 1920, spending a small fortune to gobble up a number of the largest and finest rare book collections in a relatively short time, and creating a truly priceless set of artifacts.

Though Huntington died in 1927, he intended his collection to live on long after him, but as the librarians discovered, the volumes were literally too full of life. The problem with assembling a massive collection of books is that you necessarily collect the very organisms that feed on books.

Variously known as Anobium paniceum, the bread beetle, or the drugstore beetle, bookworms had been known to eat their way through “druggists’ supplies,” from “insipid gluten wafers to such acrid substances as wormwood,” from cardamom and anise to “the deadly aconite and belladonna,” wrote the librarian Thomas Marion Iiams, who led the preservation effort at the Huntington Library. He noted in an account of his struggles in Library Quarterly that the bookworm displays a “universal disrespect for almost everything, including arsenic and lead.” Iiams was new to the librarian profession and was certain that more experienced overseers of fine collections would have a solution to his bookworm problem.

In haste, Iiams wrote letters to much older libraries and repositories—the Huntington itself was only eight years old—to learn precisely how they rid their precious books of the pest. He was alarmed to find that no one, not librarians at the Vatican nor at the oldest libraries in Britain, could offer a definitive prescription for how to protect books against the hardy insect. A number of the librarians he consulted thought bookworms to be a myth, and thus offered no help at all.

Source: https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/panic-library

On Learning to Separate Romantic Love from Happiness ‹ Literary Hub

Carrie Jenkins on Love, Polyamory, and Living Publicly

By Carrie Jenkins, August 26, 2022

from article…

When I set out to write a book about love in 2017, I was not happy. I was pretty sad. But I was still in love, or at least so I thought. All the messages from the culture around me were telling me what they had always told me: that being in love was about being happy. Being happy ever after. Happy with someone. Happy together.

I had questions. What if I’m not happy? What if I’m sad—or worse, depressed? Does that mean I’m no longer in love? Am I now unloving? Unlovable? I desperately hoped the answer to the last two was “no.” And I strongly suspected that was the answer.

Even though I wasn’t happy, and didn’t know when, how, or even whether I would become happy in the future, I didn’t seriously doubt that I was in love with my partners. So instead, like any good logician, I questioned the other assumption: the one about how being in love means being happy.

Source: https://lithub.com/on-learning-to-separate-romantic-love-from-happiness/

‘Star Trek’ Cast Deaths: Who Has Died Over the Years | Heavy.com

By Robin Zabiegalski, Updated Jul 7, 2021 at 11:48am

International Space Station astronaut Terry Virts make the Vulcan salute from “Star Trek” and the character Spock,, who was played by Leonard Nimoy, while orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station in space. NASA by Getty Images

The “Star Trek” family has endured for almost 55 years. Many of the members of that family are still alive and well. Some of them are still working in the Trekverse. Others have moved on.

However, several members of the “Star Trek” family have passed on. These great losses were felt by both the actors in the “Star Trek” family and the fandom. Luckily, their legacies will never be forgotten.

These are all of the major “Star Trek” cast members who’ve died over the years.

Source: https://heavy.com/entertainment/star-trek/cast-deaths-who-died-not-alive/