Michelle Cunnah’s Holiday Gift Suggestion

Our weekend tribute to LiteraryChicks.com concludes with a recommendation from Michelle Cunnah, whose most recent novel is Confessions of a Serial Dater.

cunnah.jpgThis year I was delighted to pick up what must surely be one of America’s forgotten treasures: The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy. According to the afterword, Cuppy himself was a quirky eccentric, spending much of his time as a hermit on Long Island. Ironically, he died in 1949, shortly before this book was published. It spent four months on the NYT bestseller list the following year.

Decline is an entertaining, lighthearted romp through history, with laugh-out-loud facts about figures such as Cleopatra, Attila the Hun, Lady Godiva, Hannibal and those elephants, and many more. It truly is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Ron again: Wikiquote has some great Cuppy quotes, including one of my favorites from when I found a battered paperback of Decline years ago: “The Bayeux Tapestry is accepted as an authority on many details of life and the fine points of history in the eleventh century. For instance, the horses in those days had green legs, blue bodies, yellow manes, and red heads, while the people were all double-jointed and quite different from what we generally think of as human beings.” Although I’ll never stop stumping for 1066 and All That.

27 November 2005 | gift ideas |