Did You Study Bacon?

Did You Study Bacon?

On The Bookshelf #2

At the end of October when I linked up with F.M.F. (Five Minute Friday’s) the surprise word was “bacon.” Everyone seemed to be discussing meat. Given my propensity to think unconventionally I originally thought of Francis Bacon (1561-1626). His essays are some of his most popular works. A nice copy graces my bookshelf.

My favorite of the essays is “Of Studies.” It is in describing the virtue and value of studies that Bacon applies his wit to great effect.

Biography.com
Biography.com

Francis Bacon encourages us to, “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”

“Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested…”

I find that I swallow novels. I chew and digest history and I taste many books before deciding if they will suit me. In fact, essays like Bacon’s are very suitable books to taste.

Forgive the pun, friends, I could not resist.

Do you choose books based upon their popularity, friends’ opinions, theme, genre or availability? I find different criteria suit different purposes. I find a work of history needs more time to chew and digest, while a volume of verse may be consumed in a brief evening.

I am more particular in selecting a work of historical fiction than I am in choosing contemporary fiction. I am not well able to tolerate a poor understanding of the history in a work of historical fiction. A well researched work by an author with a good grasp of the era can be most compelling, while an engaging story and style will make an effective contemporary work alone.

This month I am devoting time to writing my own piece of historical fiction. I am finding that historical fiction can be more challenging to write than historical fact. The need to keep the drama and pace falls squarely upon the shoulders of the novelist, while the scholar can rely upon the fact that history tends to provide its’ own drama.

Sweater Weather

Sweater Weather

imageSweaters, Merriam-Webster lists them as knitted or crochets garments.

The first use of the term comes from the 15th century. That is about the time that knitting first began. Prior to this if you needed some extra warmth you were dependent upon a cape or shawl.

With the development of knitting it first became possible to have a garment that had some stretch. Trying to move your arms and shoulders freely was difficult unless you wore a loose-fitting garment. Conversely, loose-fitting clothing for warmth, like a cape, allows quite a bit of air flow up into the garment decreasing its ability to keep you warm.

In the 21st century we have threads that have stretch and we love materials that have fibers like Lycra and spandex woven into them.

We have the advantage of being able to keep warm and comfortable without considering how for centuries those were mutually exclusive objectives.

When they first came on the scene a sweater was a marvel of new technology.

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Today a sweater is a symbol of coziness. It resonates as comforting.

Sweaters can be works of art or works of love when they are hand knit. Or they may be called, “ugly” when they are mass-produced gaudy.

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The sweater depends upon who made or purchased it and how they fit the wearer. It is easy to take a sweater for granted. Most of us have drawers full of cardigans and pull-overs with which we keep ourselves warm and comfortable.

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If you are a knitter you know they extent of the labor involved in making a sweater. It does not consist simply in the sheer quantity of the thousands of stitches, but also in the complications involved in shaping the piece to fit the body.

Let it be sufficient for me to say that if you ever happen to be the recipient of a hand-knit sweater you are extraordinarily loved.

imageA completed sweater no matter how poorly made is a masterpiece of hope, plan, labor and hopefully skill.

To knitters who wish to attempt this Everest of knitting, tell the recipient, make sure they like the design and take repeated measurements and fittings throughout the process.

To attempt a surprise is tempting fate and will like result in a complete waste of your time and considerable money.
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A well-made hand-knit sweater will fit the recipient exactly. Unlike ready to wear it is a personal  garment.

Treasure the sweater for the love that it represents, even if you hide the offending item when the maker is not around.