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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler

Games for All Occasions

Games for All Occasions - Mary E. Blain These old games books are historical documents, freezing in time what a whole generation found amusing, interesting, and acceptable. I love them for that. This one has some games we all know, like Blind Man's Bluff, Simon Says, and Hide and Seek. But what about "Miss Jennia Jones," which is listed in "Games for Tiny Tots?" It's about a young lady who "dies from a blighted affection and the prohibition of cruel parents." One of the verses the players sing is about what to dress dead Miss Jones in: "What shall we dress her in?...Pink is for babies, so that will never do...Green is forsaken...black is for mourners...white is for dead people, so that will just do." Then the tots "bury" Miss Jones in a white cloth. Not really the sort of thing we'd do with preschoolers these days.

Games involving girls usually revolve around ways to figure out who they will marry. Because OF COURSE that would be of most interest to any female, right?

And then there was the ubiquitous, shockingly casual racism. In a game for April Fool's Day, the hostess serves a luncheon of "foolish food," such as "Turtle Soup--au natural (Soup plates or bouillon cups of water with tiny toy turtles in each one)" or "Rabbit en casserole (Hair (hare) in covered dish)." But the surprising one is "Black coffee (Have the colored man step in and cough." Really?? Wow. Imagine that being acceptable. We're not where we should be regarding racism, but we have certainly come some distance from that!

In amongst these dated and often outrageous ideas, there are some good and new-to-us games though, and as historical documents go, game books, like songs and rhymes, are excellent sources.