Sunday, November 17, 2013

Still Life With Robin: 3 Fun Things in 1

A Reader's Book of Days
by Peggy Robin

I have a trio of quirky, unrelated hobbies/things I like:

1) I love the TV quiz show Jeopardy, starting with its original incarnation with host Art Fleming in 1964 all the way up through its present incarnation with Alex Trebek as host.

2) I like calendars of events, especially calendars of odd holidays. I was an ardent fan of Neal Pizzano, who, for many years was the meteorologist usually heard on Verizon’s morning Weatherline, and who always ended his forecasts with a funny little note about whatever celebration there was for that particular day. For example, “It’s Button Day” (that would be today, November 16), or “It’s Take a Hike Day (that’s tomorrow, November 17). Sadly, Verizon pulled the plug on its Weatherline phone service in October 2011, and though Neal and the other weather announcers are still available by phone on the Time & Weather Service of the Washington Council of Governments, it just hasn’t been the same. I have missed having a daily source for calendar trivia.

3) I love literary trivia and gossip. There is no good, reliable source for that. The New York Review of Books is generally too high-culture for me, while celebrity magazines are too low. In other words, I need something in between Hannah Arendt and Stephanie Meyer.

Now, I am thrilled to say, there is a new book just out that fulfills all my dreams for the third category, and, amazingly, covers categories one and two as well. It’s A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year -- and it’s by Tom Nissley, well-known to Jeopardy fans as an eight-time champion, and participant in the Tournament of Champions.

I have the book on order but have not received it yet -- so I’m praising it here sight unseen. I’m that sure I’ll love it:

If you’re not sure that you’d like this sort of thing, you can get a good preview of the book from the New Yorker’s blog entry about it -- -- and you might also enjoy this animated video  about the parade of books that went into the making of A Reader’s Book of Days.It's a delight.


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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