Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Red Letter Day

Today is truly a Red Letter Day for me. Last night I finished my


book of the year. For the past few years I had trouble breaking 80, which I finally did in 2008 so this is really a great achievement for me. Will I ever do it again? Who knows, but I'll have a bit of fun bragging about 2009.

You might be wondering what book was my 100th of the year. That honor goes to Persephone's The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme. I'll be honest and tell you I didn't know a thing about author Thomas Carlyle before I began this book but that mattered not a whit. What I am interested in, and what this book provides, is a peek into everyday life in a Victorian home.

From finances to home renovations, illnesses, noisy neighbors, and particularly servants, Thea Holmes has woven a picture of the day to day life of the Carlyes. The most prominent subject in the book are the servants that revolve through the Carlyle's door. One after another they arrive, some are competent, others steal, some stay a few weeks, others a few years. Jane adores some of them, but that adoration almost always turns into distaste. Jane Carlyle would surely have agreed with the sentiment 'good help is hard to find.'

I've read here and there that the Carlyle marriage was famously unhappy. That is not evident here. Perhaps I shall have to read the sections on the Carlyles in Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages which has been sitting patiently on my shelves.

It was fortuitous that Persephone published a picture of Jane Carlyle on their daily blog recently(page down to December 2). Isn't she lovely?

I'll end today with a little, okay a BIG treat. I came across this post on Smitten Kitchen (great recipes) the other day, and having all the ingredients in the house I made this crazy delicious yet super easy butterscotch sauce. OH MY. Is this stuff ever amazing. I found the last box of jars at the grocery store, and my yearly neighbor gift giving quandary has been solved. I bet you wish you lived next door right about now, no? ;-)


Thomas Hogglestock said...

Congratulations on reaching 100. I did that for the first time myself this year.

I also own this Phyllis Rose book with a slightly different cover and the Peresphone The Carlyles at Home, but I haven't read either of them.

Here is a link to a post on my blog that shows the other Phyllis Rose cover. (You must have noticed the same picture was used for the Persephone endpapers.)

Eva said...

Congrats! So happy for you! :D

JoAnn said...

Congratulations, Tara! That's quite an accomplishment!!
The butterscotch sauce sounds delicious...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congratulations on 100 books!

Staci said...

Glad that your 100th was so enjoyable!!! I wish I liked butterscotch!!

bermudaonion said...

Congratulations on reading 100 books!!

Anonymous said...

Yea, Tara! 100 books is a lot! The butterscotch sounds amazing. Totally yummy. Wish I had some right now. :-)

Mandy Maria said...

Man! 100 was my goal, but I only reached 50... Good work!

Ti said...

Congrats to you! You picked a good book to hit the big 100 with. I have yet to read it but I'll get there someday.

That sauce looks absolutely divine! I am drooling, which isn't pretty.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Congratulations! That's a wonderful accomplishment!

Anna said...

That's awesome! This year was the first time I cracked 100, too.

Diary of an Eccentric

Chrisbookarama said...

Congrats! That's a big accomplishment.

I'm 15 books shy. I think I'll make it my goal for next year.

Bonnie said...

Congrats on reading 100 books!! I am hoping to hit that one year! I have to splurge and buy a persephone book. They all look so beautiful and sound like wonderful stories. I just got a catalog and am trying to decide which persephone book to start with..any suggestions?

I wish that I was on of your neighbors...yum, that butterscotch sauce looks divine! Thanks for sharing that link as I've not heard of the smitten kitchen and have added it to my google reader along with the persephone blog.

Unruly Reader said...

Congratulations on your 100 books this year! That's wonderful.

I'm wondering if you read while cooking? (I do, sometimes. When stirring, for example.)

Les said...

Hooray for your 100 reads! I'll be lucky to hit 50 this year. Too busy with work and blogging, I suppose.

That butterscotch recipe looks fantastic! Yes, I wish I lived next door to you. :)

Off to bookmark Smitten Kitchen's site. Looks like a great foodie blog.

Nan said...

I'm slowly realizing that a lot of the Persephone titles do not appeal to me, but this is one of the ones I really want to read. I studied him in college a little, but that was a long time ago, and I'm intrigued by this book. And afterward, I may want to read Parallel Lives, too. 100 books! Geez Louise, and you have a job and a child at home! Whew.

Tara said...

Thomas, congratulations yourself then! I actually own the same Phyllis Rose edition as you - I was just being lazy when I chose this cover online! I love the cover/endpapers. I found a photograph online of the Carlyle house today and the room looks just the same.

Eva, thanks!

JoAnn, thank you!

L.Diane Wolfe, thanks!

Staci, I bet you would like this - if you like caramel.

Kathy, thanks!

Kay, I think so too - thanks for popping by!

Tara said...

Mandy Maria, thanks for stopping by! 50 is an awesome amount!

Ti, thanks!

rhapsodyinbooks, thank you!

Anna, congrats to you too!

Chris, thank you! It's been many years coming!

Bonnie, browsing the persephone catalog is so much fun. An unbelievable amount of time can be spent with it! What to start with, good question. I think my 2 favorites have been Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple and Miss Ranskill Comes Home. Both are excellent. Smitten Kitchen is amazing! I want to eat everything she makes.

Stacey, thanks! Do I read while cooking, hmm. Not really while I'm actively cooking (except for the cookbook), though I do sometimes read while I'm waiting to get to the next step. You must be very coordinated! Unlike myself.

Les, thanks! I'm nuts for Smitten Kitchen, have fun there. I think I have >50 of her recipes bookmarked in my reader.

Nan, I've noticed that (about you and persephones). I suspect you would like this one, and doesn't Parallel Lives look interesting? One day I will read it! Yes, I have really impressed even myself this year!

Ali said...

I guess it's old news by now but still: 100 books! Good job!

I recently discovered Smitten Kitchen and I'm...well...smitten. That recipe looks fabulous.