Monthly Archives: August 2015

How Much Do You Know About…Wine

August 23, 2015

You may know how to swirl the liquid, look at the legs, sniff the cork, and more. But do you know some of the key wine fundamentals? Why do you get headaches after drinking certain wines? Why are some wines described as tasting “oaky and others described as “buttery”? Test your wine knowledge in the following short quiz.


1. Wines are sometimes described as “oaky”. This is because of:
A. The soil the grapes originated from:

B. Fermentation in barrels. C. Contact with grape skins

2. White wines are sometimes called “buttery”. This is due to the wine’s:

A. Region.
B. Contact with yeast.
C. Contact with grape skins

3. Why do some wines give you headaches?
A. Tannins.
B. Histamines.
C. Sulfites

4.White wines are made with grapes that have:

A. Yellow, green, or black skins.
B. Dark grape skins
C. Yellow or green skins

5. Rosé wines are made from:

A. Crushing red wine grapes for a short time.
B. Mixing white and red wine grapes.
C. Using specialized Rosé wine grapes.


1. B. Wines with an oaky, woody flavor are described as “oaky”. This flavor is very apparent in wines that are fermented/aged in oak barrels.

2. B. A buttery wine smells and tastes like butter or butterscotch. Buttery is a term that typically describes white wines. The buttery taste comes from the wine’s contact with yeast during fermentation in the barrel.

3. B. Histamines are found in the skins of grapes and they seem to give some histamine-sensitive people headaches. Red wine will often cause more headaches to histamine-sensitive people because red wines have longer contact with grape skins.

4. A. White wines are typically made with grapes with yellow or green skins but they can also be made from black-skinned grapes if the juice is separated from the skins before fermentation.

5. A. To make most Rosé wine, red grapes are crushed and left for a little while (anywhere from a few hours to a few days).   


Book Collecting: The Thrill of the Hunt

August 23, 2015


“Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one.” Augustine Birrell   

In this day and age, books may seem to be taking a back seat to printed e-books, but the art and science of book collecting is still going strong. William Allison is teaching a fascinating course about the importance and satisfaction of book collecting called “Indoor Treasure Hunting: An Introduction to Modern Book Collecting.”  We visited with him to find out more.

WIH Reporter:  What is important to know about your upcoming class?

Allison: Book collecting is a fascinating and engaging pursuit, involving not only learning about books as objects, but also the thrill of the hunt and the joy of discovery. We will introduce the ins-and-outs of books and book history in a fun and entertaining fashion. You will leave the class equipped with tools to pursue more serious collecting, no matter your level of existing knowledge.  It should be a fun and interesting experience even if you do not aspire to build a collection, but just want to know more about books.

WIH Reporter: What would surprise us to know about the topic of your class?

Allison: Book collecting is not limited to the rich nor are book collectors stuffy. Many wonderful and interesting collections have been built by people without great monetary resources to devote to their collecting. A collection can focus on any topic that interests you. There are collectors of graphic novels, social movements, forgeries, illustrated items, bibliographies, books about books, as well as authors, such as Papa Hemingway or Stephen King, or areas such as Americana or books about Texas, and anything else you can think of. There are no rules or boundaries that have to be obeyed beyond having an enjoyable experience! Book collecting can also help expand your understanding of an area or subject.

WIH Reporter: What mistaken impressions might we have about the subject of your class?

Allison: That it will be dull or dry or that book collectors are only interested in unimportant minutia of editions! We will talk about many fun and interesting stories and anecdotes of book collecting and collectors. If you are already a collector, we will delve into some more advanced topics and you can help share your knowledge through the small class discussion format. Also, while the internet has changed much about books and publishing, it can be a great tool for collectors. In many ways it is easier than ever to find books that interest you and do research on them

WIH Reporter: What format do you plan to use in the class?

Allison: Because it is a small class, we will be able to have discussions rather than a pure lecture. We will be very hands-on, passing around books from my collection to illustrate the discussions. There will be PowerPoint slides to facilitate most of the talks and I will provide handouts (electronic or paper) including further reading and resources for those who desire it. Also there will be an optional field trip to the Thirteenth Annual Book Fair at the Printing Museum on Saturday November 7th.

WIH Reporter: Is there anything else we should know about your upcoming class?

Allison:  The thing I always emphasize is how much fun book collecting can be, and this class should be likewise fun and interesting. As Vincent Starrett said: “Every new search is a voyage to the Indies, a quest for buried treasure, a journey to the end of the rainbow; and whether or not at the end there shall be turned up a pot of gold or merely a delightful volume, there are always wonders along the way.” (Penny Wise & Book Foolish.)

Allison’s 4-week class, “Indoor Treasure Hunting: An Introduction to Modern Book Collecting” begins on November 4th at 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 pm. For more information or to sign up, click here.

The Lure of British Romanticism

August 23, 2015

British Romanticism represents a fascinating slice of English literary history during which major literary movements arose that are still relevant today. Novels such as “Ivanhoe and “Pride and Prejudice, along with short stories of the time evoke the spirit of this age, and many remain timely even in our day and age. In her upcoming six-week course, “British Romanticism: Revolutions In Style“, new instructor Anna Saikin takes us back in time where we can experience the history and sentiment of the age. We visited with her to find out more.

WIH Reporter: What is important to know about your class?

Saikin: My class offers participants the opportunity to experience British eighteenth-century and Regency literature within its historical and social period. We will read selections from gothic, romance, and historical novels alongside stories that were originally published in periodicals and miscellanies.

WIH Reporter: What might surprise us about the topic?

Saikin: Many present-day readers consider Jane Austen’s novels to be “timeless” classics, in part due to their enduring popularity. As participants read Pride and Prejudice alongside works by Austen’s contemporaries, they will find that Austen’s unique style is in part due to her absorption of current literary trends and her ability to rewrite them in new and interesting ways.

WIH Reporter: What mistaken impressions might we have about the class?

Saikin: The term “Romantic” does not necessarily mean that every work has a central love plot. While that can be true, as in the case of Austen, Romantic period literature is also filled with intrigue and suspense, philosophical reflections on nature and society, and political commentary on revolution. We will look at all meanings of the term to determine its usefulness or limitations relating to this literary period.

WIH Reporter: What format will you use in teaching the class.?

Saikin: Our classes will begin with a brief introduction to the week’s reading, and will transition to a guided discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to pose questions and reply depending on their familiarity with the text. Romantic authors were invested in the art of self-reflection, so I will give participants optional journaling assignments to help them explore their reading experience.

Saikin’s class begins on October 20th, from 1:00 pm. to 3:00 pm. For more information, or to register, click here.