No End of Charlie Johnsons

A chance reading about a little boy abandoned at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair gets Douglas thinking... According to Erik Larsen in The Devil in the White City, visitors to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair [above] were able to drop their children at an official daycare and retrieve them by claim ... Read More...

What makes a good Amazon book review?

Mark Pack is addicted to writing Amazon reviews. But what are they really for?... I first started writing book reviews purely for my personal benefit: to help me remember more about the books I had read. Even now, with the subsequent explosion of online reviews, the aspects of a book I ... Read More...

Tok Pisin

Erudite 'bun nating' Nige introduces the inventive pidgin language of Tok Pisin... Tok Pisin is a form of Pidgin English and is widely spoken in Papua New Guinea. It developed as a result of Pacific Islanders intermixing, when people speaking numerous different languages were sent to work on plantations in Queensland and ... Read More...

Remembering Mary Irene

Douglas Dalrymple remembers his great-grandmother... Mary Irene and I used to hunt snakes in the fields behind her house. By July the mustard flowers and tumbleweeds had dried up and blown away to uncover the little holes where I imagined that snakes plotted and hid. Playing the chivalrous protector, I would ... Read More...

American Thanksgiving Explained

Ever wondered why Americans have an enormous family turkey dinner just before having to do it all over again a few weeks later? Author and historian Peter Firstbrook explains Thanksgiving for a British audience, including why it's so close to Christmas... Today, millions of families throughout the United States will sit down ... Read More...