Entertaining, unexpected, and full of charm, the follow-up to Jessica Kerwin Jenkins's "Encyclopedia of the Exquisite" presents a miscellany of engaging stories, detailing the intriguing customs, traditions, and guilty pleasures pursued throughout the ages.Read more...
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Entertaining, unexpected, and full of charm, the follow-up to Jessica Kerwin Jenkins's "Encyclopedia of the Exquisite" presents a miscellany of engaging stories, detailing the intriguing customs, traditions, and guilty pleasures pursued throughout the ages.
"All the Time in the World" takes its cue from an iconic component of medieval life, the book of hours, which prescribed certain readings and contemplations for certain parts of the day throughout the year. Divided into more than seventy-five entries, "All the Time in the World" is brimming with witty bons mots, interesting etymologies, and arresting anecdotes encompassing an array of cultures and eras. Subjects covered include the daylong ceremony of laying a royal Elizabethan tablecloth; the radicalization of sartorial chic in 1890s Paris; Nostradamus's belief in the aphrodisiac power of jam; the sensuous practice of sniffing incense in fifteenth-century Japan; the American fascination with flaming desserts; the short-lived artistic discipline of "lumia," or visual music; the evolution of coffee from a religious ritual to a forbidden delight in the Middle East; Henriette d'Angeville's fearless and wine-fueled ascent of Mont Blanc; the elaborate treasure hunts concocted by London's Bright Young Things; and the musical revolution known as bebop. An antidote to the contemporary cult of "getting things done," "All the Time in the World" revives forgotten treasures of the past while inspiring a passion for good living in the present.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-10-07
- Reviewer: Staff
This second book from the author of Encyclopedia of the Exquisite fashions itself after the Christian devotionals of the Middle Ages, but here Jenkins eschews the monastic; hers is a meditation for artists, bohemians, and hedonists. Despite its largely superfluous organizational structure, this compendium of cultural curiosities delivers equal parts education and inspiration with a lively voice and a tasteful nostalgia for slower, more deliberate and arguably more entertaining times. When the clock ticks, the scene shifts to a new and delightfully unexpected snippet of history. The morning hours bring pancakes (complete with gluten-free recipe), midday watches the slow demise of the siesta, and giddy dancers waltz toward midnight. The cast ranges from the glamorous to starving artists to far-flung ancients. Readers travel by train with Clara Bow, wander Paris with Joyce and Beckett and a dueling Proust, and indulge the sensuousness of kabuki, the cult of cherry blossoms, and coffee as a mystic nighttime delight. Throughout, fantastic stylized illustrations evoke the iconography of illuminated manuscripts, and Jenkins's enthusiastic research sings in details like polished horses' teeth paving the floor of an English grotto. The book's charm lies in its breadth and scope, and the result, though not a page-turner, is an insightful and contemplative study in culture and all its frivolous progress. (Nov.)