This is not so much a blog entry as it is a plea on behalf of people in desperate need of escape. As a book critic for several publications I receive, on average, eight-to-twelve books every month. It goes without exaggeration that books have a tendency to pile up. Stacks in every nook and corner of our small home quickly escalate from evidence of a moderate reader to hoarder status. A couple of decades ago when I first started reviewing books I simply gave them to friends or - forgive me - tossed the not-so-great ones into the recycling bin. Occasionally an editor would send me the first edition of a book that I had reviewed pre-publication, and I started donating these to my local library. I still do this, but for some reason I get sent fewer follow up first editions these days.
Sandra Gulland on 17th-century French theater, and a moving people's protest against authority.
Five years ago I went to Paris to research the life of Mademoiselle Claude des Oeillets. It was going to be a challenge, I knew. Claude--or Claudette, as I think of her--was a two-bit-player-turned-lady's maid, and she had lived over 250 years ago. As it is, there is often little in the historical records about the serving classes.