Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Princess on my blog

Toad in person - I have some sort of fever/malaise/cold thing and am calling it a day very shortly. I came in to go to the post office and mail books out, check on the shop and water my plants, and make a brief appearance here. I'm continuing on with my reading project of the month, the 1948 edition of The Reader's Encyclopedia, one letter a day, for anyone just hopping onto the lily pad. My editorial comments appear in parentheses. Up to the letter K, already:

ka. In Egyptian mythology, a sort of double which survived after a man's death if a statue of him were made into which it might enter, and sundry other rites were performed; hence, such a statue, placed usually near the mummy in the tomb. (p.575) (After visiting and revisiting the Egyptian rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and always feeling my skin prickle, I do not doubt the existence of the ka. Also, it's a very handy two-letter Scrabble word.)

Kennaquhair (Scot., "Don't know where"). Any imaginary locality. See also Weissnichtwo. (p.582) (This would be a good name for a blog. Will read about the other term when I get to the Ws - no skipping ahead...)

kenning. In Anglo-Saxon poetry, a figure of speech by which a descriptive circumlocution is used in place of the common noun; as in "whale-road" or "gannet's bath" for "sea," "wave-traveler" for ship, and "ash-wood" for "spear." Beowulf contains a number of excellent examples of kennings. (p.582)

kriegspiel. A game with blocks, pins, flags, etc., representing contending forces, guns, etc., moved about according to rules representing conditions in actual warfare. H.G. Wells adapted it as a floor game. (p.595)

Kristin Lavransdatter. A trilogy of novels by Sigrid Undset, published as a whole in English in 1929 and dealing with the devout Catholic Norway of the 13th and 14th centuries. (p.596) (Has anyone read this series? I sell every set I can find, in hardcover or paperback. I bet I've sold five or six sets since I opened my shop - which may not sound like a lot, but in my little shop it sure is. I haven't read it, but I remember that my parents had it in one of the bookcases at home, long ago, and I know it has something of a following.)

A few long entries worth looking up: king, and the Kit-cat Club. I am now heading home to nap. I may be back tomorrow, I may languish at home instead and save any stray customers from possible infection.

Oh, and the snowstorm yesterday was very very lovely, particularly because I could watch it from indoors, with a book in my lap and a cup of tea nearby.


I've read Kristin Lavransdatter; I picked up a battered old copy of the trilogy in a church booksale in New York a few years back and read it, knowing absolutely nothing about it (unusual for me). It it one of those books that transports you entirely to a different time and place, a snowy, atmospheric, and unforgiving place of great beauty, nobility, and sadness. It's the kind of story in which, when you come to the end, you reminisce about the journey you've taken with the main character, remembering back to her younger days and the decisions she's made throughout her life. I highly recommend it, *particularly* in winter!

Hi Anne, thanks for your comments and description. The book sounds wonderful. This is what I've heard from customers - usually when I sell a set it's to someone who's read it and wants another to give away. Always a good sign.
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