I was lucky enough to come upon this interesting sea pottery piece late in January 2018. My husband and I were driving around Newport RI. I asked him to stop at the Castle Hill Inn Beach so I could take a photo. It is winter so there is some access to private beaches. I walked the short beach and picked up a few pieces of sea glass and pottery. I took a few photos and turned to head back to the car. My eye caught a piece on the ground with the word "NASSAU". It was cold so I picked up the piece to check it out later.
My husband and I began to search for the history of this piece. We were able to find out that the clay jug originated from Niederselter, Herzogthum Nassau (Province)Germany and held mineral water dating back to at least 1787. Jug-making was a cottage industry in the Westerwald area where families in at least nine villages manufactured the Selters bottles. Identification on the front of the bottles, such as Herzogthum Nassau (literally Dutchy of Nassau) identify the political territory of the local nobility or councils that licensed the exportation of the water. Because of the competition from glass containers, the jug trade declined by the end of the 19th century and was reduced to 49 jugmakers by 1926. If you would like to read more about the history of mineral water at Niederselters and see pictures of other bottles check out below: History of Selter Water History of Niederselter (Wikipedia) Photo of similar bottle on ebay History of Castle Hill Inn (from their website) As Newport began to grow into a prominent seaport, the wealthy built great architectural tributes to the life of leisure: splendid, multiple-roomed mansions called “cottages.” Castle Hill was a gracious, shingle-style song of a house commissioned in 1874 by marine biologist and naturalist Alexander Agassiz of Harvard University. Today’s inn was his original summer home, where he kept his eye on the ocean and the sea life within it. He filled his house with the best of Chinese and Japanese art and furnishings, especially bronzes and porcelain, many of which are still present in the house. How did this piece end up on a beach in front of the Castle Hill Inn? Is it possible that Agassiz had Selters Water sent to his home in Newport, RI one summer in the late 1800's??? Or after World War II when Castle Hill Inn officially became a hotel that the water was commissioned to serve as a beverage for the guests of the Inn and spa? We will never know but it was definitely interesting researching the history of this piece. By the way, here is the photo I took that day.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jared Reck (January 20, 2018) This book surprised me. I hadn't read much about it so I dove in blindly. It is about a teenager, Matty, who is in love with his "best friend", Tabby. She is his next door neighbor and they have grown up together. He is a typical teenager who goes to school, plays basketball and has a little brother. The love he feels is not reciprocated and the story centers around if or when Matty will tell Tabby what he is feeling. Tabby soon begins dating one of Matty's basketball teammates and this complicates what happens next. This book really dug down deep to show raw emotions and reactions. The relationship between family members was genuine and integral to the story. I love that it had unexpected twists. If you enjoy young adult fiction, this should be your next read.
In December, I was happy to read two Christmas themed books. Deal of a Lifetime, by Frederick Backman, was a quick but thought provoking novella. Winter Street is the first in a 4 book series by Elin Hilderbrand. It was honestly the first book I've ever read by her and was a great fluffy read. Three books I read were very similar in characters and tone to a Man Called Ove which I read earlier in 2017. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The Story of Arthur Truluv and The Keeper of Lost Things. I enjoyed them all but wouldn't recommend reading three of them in one month! :) I was thrilled to read the 2nd in Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series, A Fatal Grace. It was really good. Can't wait to read The Cruelest Month; the next in the series of 13. The Bright Hour broke my heart, but I was so uplifted by the article that Nina's husband is dating the wife (Lucy) of author Paul Kalanith's, (When Breath Becomes Air) one of my favorites from 2016. The End We Start From I read in one sitting while visiting the Charleston, South Carolina Library. My husband and son were at Fort Sumter and I decided to explore downtown Charleston (and a great little indie book store called Blue Bicycle Books). On the way back to the car I realized we had parked right in front of the Charleston Public Library. I ventured in and pick TEWSF off the shelf and enjoyed every minute of it. Intense but very well written. Lastly, I read two middle grade books. Counting by 7's and George. In 2018 I am going to increase the amount of middle grade and young adult books that I read. I wasn't going to write anything but ended up with this long winded post. Hope I make it in before the deadline. Happy Reading! Pam :)
2017 was a wonderful reading year for me. I rediscovered my love of all things books and joined others who also enjoy reading and sharing what they read (Modern Mrs. Darcy podcast What Should I Read Next?, Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana, and The Book Club on Facebook. According to Goodreads, I have read 115 books this year. I am sharing my favorites or stand outs. There were many, many good reads but my favorites touched my heart and mind in a special way. I learned alot about my reading style also. I don't do well with overly sweet or fluffy reads, I want a book that will teach me something new, I don't enjoy memoirs that make light of mental health. So not in any particular order here are my 10 favorites of 2017: Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult (from Goodreads) With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game. This is How It Always Is - by Laurie Frankel (from Goodreads) This is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever. All The Light We Cannot See - by Anthony Doerr (from Goodreads) This is a stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Columbine - by Dave Cullen (from Goodreads) What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account of this heartbreaking tragedy. Homegoing - by Yaa Gyasi (from Goodreads) A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
Station Eleven - by Emily St. John Mandel (from Goodreads) An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. All the Bright Places - by Jennifer Niven (from Goodreads) This is an exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Beautifully written but heartbreaking. In a Different Key: The Story of Autism - by John Donvan and Caren Zucker (from Goodreads) In a Different Key takes us on a journey from an era when families were shamed and children were condemned to institutions to one in which a cadre of people with autism push not simply for inclusion, but for a new understanding of autism: as difference rather than disability. (This book taught me so much about autism I did not know and I am a mother of two sons on the spectrum and work professionally as an educational advocate. I highly recommend it to parents, family members and professionals who have any contact with people with autism) Stay with Me - by Ayobami Adebayo (from Goodreads) Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak. The Hate U Give - by Angie Thomas “The Hate U Give is an important and timely novel that reflects the world today’s teens inhabit. Starr’s struggles create a complex character, and Thomas boldly tackles topics like racism, gangs, police violence, and interracial dating. This topical, necessary story is highly recommended for all libraries.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)(starred review)
If you only read one book this year, please let it be this one! If you only read one book this year, please let it be this one! If you only read one book this year, please let it be this one! If you only read one book this year, please let it be this one! If you only read one book this year, please let it be this one!
Here in New England, the fall and winter are perfect times to go on a sea glass hunt. I have been a few times this fall and would like to share some of the evidence. Pictures include Third Beach (Newport), Hull Beach (Jamestown) and East Beach (Watch Hill, Westerly)