Of all the books this year that pleased me most on a personal scale, my two special volumes were:
"Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management"
Published by: Wardlock and Company Ltd., London
New Edition November 1888
Originally published 1861
Pages with color plates and illustrations: 1644
Here's a bit about Mrs. Beeton and her book:
Isabella Mary Mayson (March 12, 1836 – January 1865), universally known as Mrs Beeton, was the author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and is the most famous cookery writer in British history.
Isabella was born at 24 Milk Street, Cheapside, London. Her father Benjamin Mason died when she was young and her mother Elizabeth Jerram remarried a Henry Dorling. She was sent to school in Heidelberg in Germany and afterward returned to her stepfather’s home in Epsom.
On a visit to London, she was introduced to Samuel Orchard Beeton, a publisher of books and popular magazines, whom she married on 10 July 1856.
She began to write articles on cooking and household management for her husband’s publications.
In 1859–1861, she wrote a monthly supplement to The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine.
In October 1861, the supplements were published as a single volume, The Book of Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort.
After giving birth to her fourth child in January 1865, Isabella contracted puerperal fever and died a week later at the age of 28.
She is buried at West Norwood Cemetery under a simple headstone.
Beeton’s Book of Household ManagementPublished in 1861, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management was a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain.
The 2751 entries include tips on how to deal with servants’ pay and children’s health, and above all a wealth of cooking advice, instructions and recipes. It was an immediate bestseller, running to millions of copies within just a few years.
Perhaps surprisingly, author Isabella Beeton was just 21 years old when she started working on the book, and she died young at 28.
The book gives a charming and historically significant insight into Victorian domestic management.
Although its entries have little practical relevance today the name “Mrs Beeton” still has iconic status in Britain: most people recognize it and know its connotations, although very few have actually come into contact with the book itself.
The phrase, “first, catch your hare”, while popularly thought to originate here, was already proverbial when the book was written.
Today’s superstar chefs (especially Delia Smith) might be seen as the direct descendants of Mrs Beeton, who saw as they did the need to provide reassuring advice on culinary matters for the British middle classes, the Industrial Revolution having sealed the demise of traditional rural cooking skills.
This information was taken from Wikipedia where you can find more details.
Then, my second book favorite for ringing in the New Year was:
Summary: This panoramic work--considered the finest novel in English by many critics--offers a complex look at English provincial life at a crucial historical moment, and, at the same time, dramatizes and explores some of the most potent myths of Victorian literature.
Taking place in the years leading up to the First Reform Bill of 1832, Middlemarch explores nearly every subject of concern to modern life: art, religion, science, politics, self, society, human relationships.
Among her characters are some of the most remarkable portraits in English literature: Dorothea Brooke, the heroine, idealistic but näive; Rosamond Vincy, beautiful and egoistic: Edward Casaubon, the dry-as-dust scholar: Tertius Lydgate, the brilliant but morally-flawed physician: the passionate artist Will Ladislaw: and Fred Vincey and Mary Garth, childhood sweethearts whose charming courtship is one of the many humorous elements in the novel's rich comic vein.
I'm a huge fan of the Penguin Classics volumes shown below. The fabric of this cover with its screen print cameos is beautiful. The paper used is heavy and smooth to the touch, and I love the weight and smell of the book. Beautifully bound. This whole Penguin Classics collection is calling for me. I've been getting a few of the volumes this past year and hope to keep collecting them in 2013. They are a delight to read and reread.
Have to share with you some new books that came in the mail this final week of 2012:
This is one requested by my husband for a Christmas present. About two pilots on opposing "teams" who found a moral obligation to each other that bound them through the fray. They became "brothers" after WWII ended. An amazing story.
A short story collection from my favorite author!! I asked for this one for Christmas from my youngest son, David. I'm nearly finished with it. LOVE it!! JCO never fails to shock and amaze.
Review coming soon on this story of Margaret Tudor who was the daughter of Henry VII of England, and the wife of James IV of Scotland. A queen who influenced both kingdoms!
Did I already tell you about this one? I'm really excited about reading and reviewing it for you. It's the story of women who are confronting the issues of having a child...and friendship.
Sorry about this Amazon enhanced book picture! You know where you can find the book! LOL
This is the story of Miss Havisham before she became the grief stricken and bitter woman of the Dickens novel. I couldn't resist buying it this December. Looks wonderful... Here's the link to purchase the book: Amazon
Share the last best book you received for Christmas!! Which was the last book you bought for yourself?