Something I love so much about books is how I am able, without leaving my favorite chair by the woodstove, to go anywhere in the world (or even out of this world), to any time and culture in history (or in the future) and dive right into it. Just by curling up, opening the cover and turning the page. Today, the setting is late 17th and early 18th century Russia, the author Robert Massie, the book Peter the Great. As many of you know, Robert Massie is one of the world's leading experts and most prolific writers on the Romanov period in Russian history. His latest book, Catherine the Great, was just released only a few weeks ago, and is already moving to the top of the national bestseller lists. I was all set to read it and my brother said, no! You have to read Peter the Great first. It will be a tremendous gift to yourself, one of the best books you will ever read. Massie did win the Pulitzer Prize for it so I agreed. What is another 900 pages? I am so glad I did! What an excellent book, so compelling, you don't even know you're not right there with them in Moscow during the internecine battles and struggles for power, in the dark, low-ceilinged rooms of the Kremlin and the monasteries where the women were secreted, in battles for the Steppe and the Black Sea with the Turks and the Tatars, during the creation of the Russian navy and the building of St. Petersburg, in Louis IV's Versailles (Except when Kia bites my foot because I am ignoring her!). Another world, another time, the literary magic of yet another great author. I have such gratitude for them. On to Catherine next!
Bringing myself to the present, I am really looking forward to Bayfield's Holiday Shopping Night this Thursday, December 15, from 4-7PM. Apostle Islands Booksellers will be welcoming Bayfield watercolor artist, Francie Austin Miller, who will be demonstrating her craft at the store. I hope you will all come out and support our local businesses. We want so much to be here for you so we really appreciate when you support that outcome by shopping locally! Even if your local purchases are only a part of your holiday shopping, every bit counts and is valuable to sustaining our local businesses and all the people who work in them. And, as an added benefit, many local businesses are contributing a portion of their evening's sales to the Bayfield Area Food Pantry, something I know we all support.