Friday, December 11, 2015

December 11 - Twins




It’s late Friday evening and I suddenly remember that I haven’t put in an advent calendar post yet. Who was it that came up with this silly challenge, in the midst of everything else going on in December? Oh, right… It was me, wasn’t it…

Have you solved the riddles yet, from yesterday?
I shall of course give you the answers but I’ll wait another day. 


As I mentioned in passing, besides the book of riddles, there were two other books without spines in that old cover. One came from my mother’s side of the family, and I get the impression this was originally published serially in a magazine, in 1945 – but all the parts collected, so that the book is complete (just not bound). It’s a story about a pair of Scotch twins, translated from English. 

I used to read this, and a few other books that had belonged to my mum and her sister, when visiting my maternal grandfather back in my pre-teens and early teens. (When his house was sold after he died, I kept a few favourites, including this.)

Last night before I went to bed, it occurred to me to check with Amazon, if the English original of The Scotch Twins might nowadays be available among the Kindle classics. It was; and for was free. So I downloaded it and have started rereading it in the original language.



Moreover, when looking it up on the internet, I learned that this was far from the only book written by its author, Lucy Fitch Perkins. She lived 1865-1937 and was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books who got quite famous in her day for a whole series of books about twins. But not the same twins. Her stories are set in various countries all over the world, in quite different circumstances and time periods. But they’re nearly all about twins. Besides the Scotch Twins, she wrote about Dutch Twins, Belgian Twins, Japanese Twins, Eskimo Twins, Swiss Twins, French Twins, Mexican Twins, Italian Twins, Irish Twins, Cave Twins, Spartan Twins, Puritan Twins, and American Twins of the Revolution… And possibly even more twins that I haven’t come across yet. Quite a few of them are available free for Kindle. Just out of curiosity, when I’ve finished rereading this one about the Scotch twins, I think I shall have to try at least one of the others for comparison… if only because the very idea seems so unique!

(I’m thinking that of my blogging friends, Meike might be the most likely to give one a go as well…?)

The Wiki article says that for each book, Perkins would try to interview an individual who grew up in the given country to gain an understanding of the particular customs there.

Another article I found online also says that Lucy Perkins was active in a number of community arts, social reform and women's rights movements, including the Chicago Woman’s Club and the League of Women Voters.

11 comments:

  1. Wow, how very interesting. I had a Aunt on my father's side that had three sets of twin boys. Between each set, she had a single child. I was always fascinated the the names she chose. Melvin and Marvin, Herman and Therman, Kenneth and Karl, Between the first two sets she had Roy, and after the second set, Louise (only girl), None were identical. A little family trivia...speaking of twins. HaHa.

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    1. There's always something that fascinates us about twins, I suppose, Wanda. I can recall quite a few from children's literature, and I think I sometimes wondered what it might be like to have one.

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  2. Monica, even before I finished reading your post (where you mention that I might be the most likely to give one a go), I'd already opened Amazon in a different browser tab and started looking for The Scotch Twins! I've not found it for free (yet) but will keep looking.
    Wikipedia says there are 26 books in the "Twins" series!

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    1. Hope you found it, Meike. For me, when I put the author's name in the search box at Amazon/Kindle, the Scotch Twins (free) was one of the first titles to come up. It does not have the illustrations (which I have in the old Swedish book). But she is quite good at "painting with words". I read a bit further this morning and find it quite enjoyable.

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    2. Minutes after I left my first comment here this morning, I found "The Scotch Twins" and "The Irish Twins" (and many more, which I didn't download) for free. It'll take me a long time to get round to reading them, but when I do, I'll be thinking of you, and my review will link to yours.

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    3. I haven't downloaded any more yet, Meike. But I think I might want to to try one or two more for comparison. I think I'll snoop around a bit for reviews before I decide which ones, perhaps!

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  3. It's quite curious. Presumably it was acceptable to use 'Scotch' as an adjective to describe someone when she was writing. Nowadays it would be 'Scottish' or, possibly, Scots. Scotch is a generic name for whisky (or, for some peculiar reason, Scotch Eggs).

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    1. Graham, an online dictionary informs me that "`Scotch' is in disfavor with Scottish people and is used primarily outside Scotland except in such frozen phrases as `Scotch broth' or `Scotch whiskey' or `Scotch plaid'" I would have said "Scottish" too, if the title had not actually used the word Scotch! But I suppose usage may have changed since 1919 when this book was written.
      I'd actually be curious to know what you might think of the language used within the book. The conversations are in Scottish dialect (or supposed to be). To me it sounds pretty authentic, I can kind of hear in my mind as I read it. But then of course I have only (mostly) other books and TV series to compare it to! (What makes me wonder is the fact that the author herself was American.) I don't have too much difficulty with Scottish dialect (at least not this one!) since quite a few of the "strange" words seem to be related to Scandinavian ones.

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    2. I downloaded it last night. I'll see if I can get a chance to have a look at the prose some time.

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  4. your decision to post for Advent and use something found each day is working out great for you. i looked at the books on Amazon but it would not let me preview them.

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    1. Sandra, as this is a free classic you could just download it and have a look if you're curious. It is not a very long one.

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