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The forerunner of today's book clubs, nineteenth-century literary societies provided a lively social and intellectual forum where people could gather and discuss books, cultural affairs, and current events. In Come bright Improvement!, Heather Murray explores the literary societies of Ontario between 1820 and 1900 - some of which are still in existence today - and examines the extent to which they mirrored or challenged contemporary social, political, and intellectual trends. Based on a wealth of original research with periodicals and local archival materials, Murray traces the evolution from early political and debating clubs to more dedicated literary and cultural societies, such as Shakespeare or Browning groups. Many people formed literary societies, including workers, women, Black fugitives, and members of religious denominations such as Quakers and Methodists. Murray studies the societies in detail, exploring everything from the reading materials they favoured to the other kinds of social and civic activities in which they participated. Of additional interest to scholars of book history if the book's resource guide, which records the location, history, and archival deposits of several hundred societies. A first in the study of the book club phenomenon, Come, bright Improvement! is a wonderful introduction to nineteenth-century Ontario, the history of book studies, and the history of reading.
Hubble bubble, toil and trouble, Casserole burn and intrigues double 'Mitzi Blessing is on the scrapheap: forced into a very early retirement, a lifetime of organising the church flower rota and making cricket teas seems to loom gloomily ahead of her. With her two daughters seemingly happily settled, Mitzi is determined not to dwindle quietly into serene old age and sets about organising and revitalising Hazy Hassocks, the small rural community she has lived in all her life. However, with the discovery of her grandmother's cookery book in the attic,life for Mitzi and her friends and family starts to get very interesting. Full of old-fashioned recipes with enchanting names like Wishes Come True Pie, Mischief Night Cake, and Powers of Persuasion Pudding - Granny's dishes provide a nourishing meal, but they also seem to have some very surprising side effects indeed.
When Sergeant Shay and his colleagues find out that the unidentified victim of an alleged shooting actually died from poison, their hunter instincts are whetted. Spiced with vivid local colour and with a hint of political plot involved, this murder mystery, set in Trix's landing on Newfoundland's south-east coast, will hold you in suspense until the very end.

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