So far, so good. The holidays passed for us in a pretty low-key fashion. Everyone always asks if business picks up at Christmas, and though we certainly do get some orders for gifts, mostly we see an increase in sales at the times of school semesters starting, like now. Sean and I don't really participate in exchanging presents, but I do like to make a collage calendar to give out at New Year's. Last year we collaborated on a 13-page black and white calendar with a color cover, but this year we didn't get anything so elaborate together in time. Instead, I just made a one-page color collage with tear-off monthly calendar pages. So now we're going to work on next year's collages throughout the year, instead of at the last minute. I have to say, I do like how everything's closed and quiet on Christmas and New Year's Day; a nice break from the otherwise constant work and consumerism of our culture.
I am in the middle of reading Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition by Owen Beattie and John Geiger. This is a book I decided to read because the cover has a pretty gruesome photo of the face of a frozen body from the expedition, the introduction is by Margaret Atwood, and the first few pages were coming out, making it unsaleable anyway-- hence the reading choices of booksellers. The Franklin Expedition was searching for the Northwest Passage in the 1840's, but all 129 men on the two ships died, most likely from lead poisoning from eating canned food. Canning was the big new technology for provisioning expeditions and lead poisoning wasn't yet understood. This book tells the history of the Franklin Expedition and the subsequent investigations by later explorers and anthropologists in the area who attempted to figure out what happened by talking to Inuit Natives and looking for physical evidence-- both of which also indicated that the expedition members resorted to cannibalism in their desperation.
I also re-read a novel by Anita Brookner, Bay of Angels. Anita Brookner is a writer I like, but her novels are all very similar, usually having to do with an isolated daughter dealing with her parents' aging and death, all told from a very interior monologue. Not that much happens, except for daily life, yet her writing is absorbing.