I'm back from Thanksgiving upstate, and hope American visitors to this site had a great holiday. I did not subject myself to the retail hell of "Black Friday," and in fact haven't yet purchased a single Christmas gift. *twinge of anxiety* I'll remedy that soon enough, but will end up doing most of it online.
Over the past few days I finished Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life. Not as laugh-out-funny as his travelogues, this was nonetheless an amusing collection of long essays, organized (albeit very loosely) around a tour of the former rectory in Norfolk in which he now lives. He covers topics as disparate as Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin, the discovery of an Ice Age man in a glacier in the Italian Alps, the mice infesting his (Bryson's, not the ice age man's) study, Thomas Jefferson's construction of Monticello, and the intermarriage of the Darwin and Wedgewood families.
I am now deep into An Impartial Witness, the second of Charles Todd's books featuring WW I-era nurse Bess Crawford. A light but satisfying read. I enjoyed Todd's previous series featuring a shell-shocked Inspector Rutledge, but these are a good change of pace. ("Charles Todd" is actually the nom-de-plume of a mother-son writing team, and they seem to have worked out a winning formula....)