I've devoted space in the Bookhouse lately to subjects as seemingly varied as Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and Titanic. But to me they are variations on a theme.

I have to admit, I was taken somewhat aback when I first read of the popularity of Mad Men. The clothes! they said. The culture! The good old days!

What??? What??? Read more about Nostalgia



I know I'm an old lady now, but really. How many writers who published this year can you rattle off the tip of your collective tongues? We'll throw in 2011, just to be fair. I can name George R.R. Martin in fiction and Garry Wills in non-fiction, and I know most of my readers can name several others - including, perhaps, Barbara Stoner - but how many of them can most of us recognize immediately as household names? Read more about 1962



I think was my introduction to Loren Eiseley. I was working at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and managed to return quite a bit of my paycheck to them via their well-stocked bookstore.

One particular idea of his has stuck with me. Searching for a meaning for human beings in the world, he struck upon memory. We are the memory of the Earth, he said. We are here to record, to bear witness. Read more about Eiseley


Caleb Carr

It's a mystery to me (and a large reading public) why Caleb Carr has not followed up on his two wonderful novels (1994) and (1997). Maybe it's because the two more recent novels, and were so badly received. Nevertheless ... Read more about Caleb Carr


Dead Presidents

Full disclosure. I haven't read these. Or not very many anyway. But they are all on my list of books to read. Someday. If there's time.

- I have read this. Bought it at the Old Manse in Concord, very near the

rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

It doesn't cover Washington's presidency, but you get an idea of who he was and of how very close we came to losing that war. Read more about Dead Presidents


The Singing Wilderness

I must have been all of 12 or 13 when I first picked up my mother's copy of Sigurd F. Olson's and it has stayed with me ever since. Literally. I spotted that same old ratty copy on the bookshelf a couple of days ago.

Even now the chapter headings ring familiar bells, and I am almost back in my early teens, dreaming of canoes and long tramps in the north woods and magical encounters. The Way of a Canoe, Easter on the Prairie, Pools of the Isabella, Farewell to Saganaga. Read more about The Singing Wilderness