|Love those eyebrows!|
Today is the 150th Birthday of Rudyard Kipling, the writer of poems, short stories, and novels loved around the world. I love Kipling’s works. Jungle Books, Gunga Din, Boots. They’re not just for kids, as many people believe. I enjoy them to this day. I was thrilled to visit his home, Bateman’s, in England. I guess you could say he is one of my favorite poets and writers. I read of his birthday this morning on The Writer’s Almanac, one of my best sources for writing ideas. As usual, they ended the piece with a quote. This one really made sense to me:
"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten."
True, true, true! I’ve been saying for years that I’ve learned more history from my adult reading than I ever did in school. (Well, let’s hope so! When you stop learning you might as well curl up and die.) And it is soooo much more interesting. I’ve written about this before – here – but this week it really strikes home.
We spent our Christmas holiday up in New York with some special people who bought our house when we moved south. I had left books for their future reading – about 12’ worth – and this trip I brought all the books back south with me. The house is being remodeled, and that shelf will hold other things.
I spent a lot of yesterday sorting out the books, deciding what ones to keep, and just delighting in seeing them again. The majority of them are historical novels – Middle Ages, Renaissance, and so on. Europe, India, America, and do on – with some Brit mysteries too, of course.
Many of the books, such as Dorothy Dunnett’s The Lymond Chronicles, a series of six historical novels set in the mid 1500’s, are some of the sources of my historical education. All are a source of some little tidbit of information that I’ve tucked into the grab bag of my memory. One never knows when one will need to know that a sovereign is a pound, or a crown is 5 shillings, or that a flock of crows is a murder.
Try a historical novel, history in the form of a story – you’ll learn a lot, and enjoy it all too.