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Tag Archives: Charles Dickens


eatingC.S. Lewis really nailed it. I’m someone who’s never thrown herself out of bed for eating crackers, and I’m a chronic eater/reader.

The idea for this post came when I was getting ready to watch Call The Midwife (brilliant series) and I was compelled to drink tea (nothing unusual about that) and eat a slice of bread and jam. Why? Because they’re the flavors of my childhood and that show evokes the time and place so brilliantly.

Chocolate and romance is something of a cliche, but check out this review I received for my book Improper Relations in which the reviewer says she:

… sat down in the snuggliest corner of my couch with a cup of earl grey and a piece of shortbread. Upon beginning the book, however, I realised that perhaps I should have started with a glass of claret and a plate of figs.

I consider that a terrific compliment to the book and I’m wondering if it’s possible to enhance your reading with the appropriately chosen food. Think about it: a very alcoholic hot punch, boiled ham, plum pudding for Dickens. Dickens was very keen on telling us what people were eating so you have many choices. For Austen, it’s not so easy. She rarely describes food: the nectarines and grapes and peaches served at Pemberly are there to remind us again that Darcy is super rich with an estate similar to Edward Knight‘s; and Lydia’s cucumber salad may be, as Freud famously said, only a salad.

hepburn I’ve just read a book with lots of ex-military alpha males with tats and I think a big rare hamburger with fries would have been excellent. Or else a huge all-American hot dog. Dripping with … condiments.

If you’re into food and books, and planning a trip to the Baltimore Book Festival this weekend, I’ll be at the Maryland Romance Writers’ tent at 7 pm on Saturday evening on a panel about Sex & Sensuality (condiments optional). It’s a great festival, books, beer, and naturally food, down at the Inner Harbor this year. And also check out the Maryland Romance Writers Online Auction. I’m offering a critique and tea-related goodness and there are all sorts of fantastic items. Check it out!

What have you been reading recently? What food would have gone with it? Or suggest an author-food match!

Are you tired of spoiled celebrities and nouveau riche wannabes behaving badly in the news? Yes, I know they’d fit right in with the Regency, but I’ve had enough. I can find better things to do online and I have just discovered some major timesucks that I hope you’ll enjoy too.

First, since we’re heading for Christmas, here’s a fabulous opportunity to take a look at Dickens’ editing process and enter a contest. The original manuscript of A Christmas Carol, owned by the Morgan Library and Museum, usually has one page at a time on display, but has entered into an agreement with the New York Times to photograph and display the entire manuscript, side by side with the final version, so you can compare the two.

City Blog is sponsoring a contest for readers to choose what they think is the most interesting edit and the winner will be invited to tea at the Morgan with blogger Alison Leigh Cowan (but you’ll have to get yourself up to NYC!). You can see the manuscript here.

Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks in 1843. He needed the cash, with six children and an expensive lifestyle to maintain, and his current serialized novel Martin Chuzzlewit was not selling well. The first printing of six thousand copies sold out, but Dickens made no money on it, having decided to splurge on hand-colored drawings by John Leech, a well-known illustrator.

If you’re planning a trip to the Morgan, there’s an exhibit A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy now through March 14, 2010 which includes manuscripts, personal letters, and related materials.

And back to Dickens–if you care to splurge on a Christmas present to yourself Sothebys is auctioning off a complete set of his Christmas books in original cloth bindings. I’ll be blogging tomorrow at History Hoydens about auctions of writers’ manuscripts and possessions, so I hope you’ll come on over and say hello.

Has anyone seen the Austen exhibit yet or visited any other museum recently? Tell us what you’ve seen! I’m planning to go to Written in Bone at the Natural History Museum in Washington DC this weekend. I visited the exhibit very briefly last summer but want to go back and linger over the bones.

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