Category: Bookish

The 19th Century Hollow Earth Craze

A fun idea but, like everything else these days, ruined racism and Nazis.

One of the great things about scouring sites like Project Gutenberg for free e-books of old speculative fiction, is that you can get a window onto out-there ideas written by respected authors. Perhaps the best example is Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne. This classic is an example of the  “Hollow Earth” theory in action. Hollow Earth proponents expounded that there was a vast subterranean world beneath the Earth’s outer layer. Verne’s fiction envisioned a realm large enough to contain underground seas.

This wasn’t just a one-off story idea or short-lived crackpot fad. In the 19th century, it was a semi-serious theory and it resulted in some truly fun and imaginative fiction.


The Anti-Christmas Kids’ Reading List

Excuse the clickbait-y title. This is not a list of books against Christmas. Or book recommendations for kids who hate Christmas.

I’m no Bad Santa. In fact, I just finished a Christmas-themed reading list post. It’s just that ’tis the season, in North America at least, when we get inundated with so much of it, sometimes it’s nice to focus on books for the holiday season that aren’t Christmas-y.

The origin of this anti-Christmas kids’ list comes from me wanting to introduce my kids to concepts outside of Christmas. This isn’t motivated by some cultural altruism. I mainly want them bugging me less for presents! But in searching for good winter holiday kids’ books that aren’t about Christmas, I did end up finding diverse writing that taps into cultural traditions outside of the Christmas norm. In keeping with this blog, I chose ones that have an emphasis on history.

I haven’t read any of these books but I’ll definitely be searching them out for my own kids, especially as they get older. I look forward to being ignored as they clamour for the latest Lego set.

If you’ve read these books or have your own recommendations, please let everyone know in the comments!


Setting Type: Historical Books for Iconic Christmas Characters

4 Iconic Characters from Christmas-themed books and movies receive the gift of books perfect for them.

It’s been a long time since I first did this feature. A quick recap, Setting Type is similar to a book tag, but instead of matching a book to a descriptive tag, I try to find the perfect Histories Unfolding book for real or fictional people. In keeping with the approaching holiday season and its glut of Christmas-themed offerings, here are 4 perfect history books for 4 iconic Christmas characters.


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