From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Book-ish Christmas

Reading with Dennis


Quite a few books were given at our house this Christmas. I received my own little stack of books, and I'm looking forward to reading and studying them. They include a new encyclopedia of tree information, three books of Great Plains and Kentucky history, and a volume of Willa Cather with several stories I haven't read before.

I worked last weekend, so I haven't had a chance yet to read more than a few pages in any of my books. However, Dennis has dived into his new book about the history of the Natchez Trace and has been sharing all the best parts with me and providing commentary. By the time he finishes a book, I always feel I'm well-educated on its topic.

Today, I heard all about the Horrible Harpes. They were brothers -- a pair of thieves and cruel serial murderers who operated in western Tennessee and Kentucky in the late 1790s. They worked the Natchez Trace at one point in their career of evildoing.

Dennis is not reading the books that he told me he really wanted for Christmas -- the brand new books, reviewed in his history magazines, that I had to order from university presses. No, he's reading the used book that I picked up at a thrift shop because I thought he'd like it. It certainly proves that I know his kind of book when I see one.

5 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

The holidays always seem conducive to wrapping oneself up in a good read. I always feel that good books are our friends.--barbara

Michael Leddy said...

Is your Willa Cather book Obscure Destinies? (One of my favorite books.)

John Ruberry said...

Haven't read Willa Cather...I should remedy that.

Genevieve said...

We have a bookcase or three in most rooms of the house, Barbara. (That includes the hallway.)

Genevieve said...

About Willa Cather --

I looked up Obscure Destinies, Michael, and I have read two of the three stories in it. "Neighbour Rosicky" is one of my favorites. The book I got for Christmas is titled Great Short Works of Willa Cather, edited by Robert K. Miller.

John, yes, you should definitely make time to read some of Willa Cather's stories. I have especially enjoyed her stories about the homesteaders and prairie settlers -- my ancestors were there among them. Willa Cather is not difficult to read, but you will be surprised at the insights she offers.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.