No matter what genre I’m reading, I always pick up new vocab and trivia as I turn the pages. I usually don’t have to go to the dictionary too often, but will definitely visit Wikipedia and Google all the time. For instance, now I know what people are talking about when they say, “She looked finer than a Gainsborough,” or “He was heavier than Prinny,” or “His artfully ruffled hair could have rivaled Byron’s” (in the latter I always imagine Hugh Grant in Notting Hill explaining his nick name as “Floppy”). I just realized those trivia bits give away my love for Regencies, boy do I know a lot about England in the early 1800’s!
Recently I have been reading contemporaries; here are two bits of heretofore unknown trivia I wanted to share:
1. Glenlivet: as in, “Spur consoled himself with a shot of Glenlivet.” Or as in, “Cal’s neighbor always had his favorite on hand, Glenlivet.” (Both quotes are paraphrased)
From the context I could infer that this was some type of liquor, but when it showed up back-to-back in two separate books I knew I had to learn more about it. Both Spur Atwater in Dixie Cash’s My Heart May Be Broken, but My Hair Still Looks Great and Calvin Morrisey from Jennifer Cruise’s Bet Me were Glenlivet drinkers.
Apparently it is whiskey made in Scotland and is the biggest selling malt whiskey in the US. You couldn’t force me to drink the stuff and hubby is a Jack Daniels fan, so we are not of the population making Glenlivit #1 in this country. Maybe we should have some on hand in our house for guests since it is so popular?
2. Queen Anne chair: as in, “Meredith took comfort in her upscale apartment with her Queen Anne chairs.” Or as in, “Isabel lost everything, even her Queen Anne chairs.” (again paraphrasing)
Both of these characters (Meredith Bancroft from one of my all time fav’s Paradise, and Dr. Isabel Favor from SEP’s Breathing Room) were well off, so while I could assume these were nice antique pieces, why are people so into this particular type of chair? Wikipedia was not a big help on this one, but supposedly the Queen Anne style originated just after her reign in 1720ish and it is the most reproduced of all American furniture. The designs are curvy, with scallops and were some of the first furniture to be upholstered. I don’t know if Meredith or Isabel were meant to have original antiques, but I found the Queen Anne chair style for sale at Pottery Barn for $250 each and an original antique one for about $900.
So now I know! And I can drop Glenlivet and Queen Anne style furniture into my everday conversation!
Filed under: Trivia |