Erin's Bookshelf

Erin Mawn

Erin teaches college level English and History, but is first and foremost a lover of books - of all varieties. She'll share her eclectic favorites with Mid Shore Life!

Meet Illustrator Michael Hague

Alice in Wonderlandby Erin Mawn

This post is not not about a book, but an illustrator. Some people do not understand what appeal children’s books have to a ‘grown-up’, but personally I cannot see how they are able to resists the temptations of them! Their covers call to me, the artwork inside is slipping into childhood again; to spend hours just leafing through books, absorbing the drawings and memorizing them so that I can see them again in my memory whenever I like is a great privilege.

I was fortunate enough to meet one of my favorite illustrators recently. I was visiting relatives in Colorado and was informed that there was to be a book signing with this illustrator, whom I had a corresponded with before on a couple of occasions.

Michael Hague has illustrated classics such as The Wind in the Willows, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, and The Secret Garden. He also illustrates books written by his wife, Kathleen Hague who has penned the popular books Alphabears and Good Night, Fairies.

Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier

by Erin Mawn "The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier" I recently finished reading the biography of Sarah Emma Edmonds, one of the women who, during the Civil War, disguised herself as a man and fought in the conflict. It was a fascinating book- and I don’t think that’s just because I’m a “History geek”. I think anyone who is interested in women’s history, American history, the Civil War, or likes stories about spies would enjoy this book as well. The book is a fairly easy read; it explains ideas such as the ‘Cult of Domesticity’ which is well known to history scholars, but may not be familiar to other readers. The narrative of the book focuses mainly on the life of ‘Emma’, but in the chapters which deal heavily with the war and the military campaigns during it, the author includes much information about George McClellan. This is meant to help the reader understand the battles the Army of the Potomac fought in and the outcomes of these battles. ‘Emma’, or Frank Thompson as she was called, served in the Michigan regiment of the Potomac as a nurse, mail carrier, and a spy.

Perfection for Bibliophiles

Unicorn BookshopUnicorn Bookshopby Erin Mawn

If you’re not sure what a bibliophile is, then you’re probably not one. A bibliophile is a person who loves or collects books, although I think in many cases this is an understatement. This word enters my head numerous times a day as I wander about my house; every room in my home has some sort of book collection in it. History books (categorized by topic, of course) , classic literature, children’s books (despite the fact that I have no children, I have two bookcases filled with them), some precious signed copies of favorite books, and antique books that emit a wonderful musty smell that only old books have. . .I frequently attempt to reduce the number in my collection by giving them away, selling them or trading them but somehow I always end up bringing more books. I comfort myself with the idea that as long as my selection is ever-changing, it cannot be considered “hoarding” behavior.

In one of my recent efforts to rid myself of some excess books, I ventured out to The Unicorn Bookshop in Trappe, MD. It is one of those wonderful places where the bibliophile feels completely at home, and as a favorite literary (and film) heroine of mine once said, “There’s no place like home.” The store is packed from floor to ceiling with books for every browser and collector; most impressive is the selection of rare and signed books, including a drool-worthy authenticated, signed masterpiece signed by Samuel Clemens. (If that name isn’t familiar, then you’re definitely not a bibliophile).

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