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All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 29, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese (October 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385535414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385535410
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Jenkins uses the template of the medieval book of hours, which provided readings and meditations for certain times of the day and seasons, to create an unusual look at how we pass the time. Her hours are vignettes exploring the curious, the beautiful, and the ephemeral, a reflective approach that counters our hyper-scheduled cult of Getting Things Done. This lovely and lovingly researched literary gem encompasses diverse eras and cultures and reveals a world of fancies and intriguing bits of history, including the bicycling fad in 1890s Paris, which changed elite fashion from frilly carriage costumes flaunted by ladies pretending to take the air to pantaloons and bloomers that became so popular the minister of the interior lifted the ban on women wearing pants. French Dadaist artist Francis Picabia’s 1924 creation of the short-lived instantanéisme movement, which promoted the exhilaration of living in the moment, granting ‘liberty for all’, inspired his outrageous, groundbreaking ballet Relâche, created with Erik Satie to attack traditional theater’s artificiality. As Satie said, Let us distrust Art: it is often nothing but virtuosity. There is much to contemplate and marvel over in Jenkins’ scholarly and highly entertaining book of exuberance. --Whitney Scott

Review

"The perfect conversation-starter. . . . [A] sensualist’s miscellany of Gilded Age dinner dressing customs and Edwardian treasure hunts." —Vogue

"Striking. . . . Extracted from the past are anecdotes designed to amuse and distract, a shadowbox of biographical baubles and historical curiosities to offset the monotony of our workaday lives. Americans addicted to productivity and practicality, the author suggests, have lost the gift for wonder—or, at the risk of sounding a touch too pragmatic, our capacity to be inspired. . . . [T]he set pieces not only entertain; they also enlighten and educate. . . . [Jenkins] writes with an easy elegance and boasts a keen eye for arresting quotations. . . . At its best, which is very good, the book punches above its weight—introducing readers to an engaging array of events, individuals and issues, many of them all but neglected in serious works of history. Ms. Jenkins's spirited and insightful volume, unlike a jar of raspberry jam, comes with a long shelf life." —The Wall Street Journal

"This lovely and lovingly researched literary gem encompasses diverse eras and cultures and reveals a world of ‘fancies’ and intriguing bits of history ... There is much to contemplate and marvel over in Jenkins’ scholarly and highly entertaining book of exuberance." —Booklist, starred review

"[T]his compendium of cultural curiosities delivers equal parts education and inspiration with a lively voice and a tasteful nostalgia for slower, more deliberate and arguably more entertaining times. When the clock ticks, the scene shifts to a new and delightfully unexpected snippet of history ... Throughout, fantastic stylized illustrations evoke the iconography of illuminated manuscripts, and Jenkins's enthusiastic research sings ... The book's charm lies in its breadth and scope ... [A]n insightful and contemplative study in culture and all its frivolous progress." —Publishers Weekly

"Jessica Kerwin Jenkins shows us how abundant a source of wisdom the history of civilization can be for constructing our days—month by month, minute by minute—into an artful and mindful cosmos of activity and repose ... The secret to living a full life is to embrace our capacity for loving beauty, which is ridiculously obvious, everywhere, here by definition. Just look."Bookpage

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Each entry is totally engaging and entertaining.
StarkB
The title alone gives you a gift, the gift to open and close, read and think, browse and jot down moments to remember.
Margaret Watson
I was lucky to receive this book in the mail as the winning recipient of a Goodreads Give away.
Heather K. Ragan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Watson on November 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
All the Time in the World. The title alone gives you a gift, the gift to open and close, read and think, browse and jot down moments to remember. Your very own Book of Hours. Better still, you know what you have done with those hours. Parading through the book you find friends, intellects, royals, poets, gardeners, chemists. You attend the circus and pray in church. You experience 6 AM in Winter, 3:45 PM in Spring. There are recipes to try: Mint Juleps, Hot Chocolate, even Raspberry Jam. Ah,you even meet Emerson, Thoreau, Lady Mary Montague, Goethe, Sarah Bernhardt, Hamlet, Wordsworth, Zelda, Picasso...and then the characters you don't know but should...Ryoi, Black Cat, Mu Shiying. Seasons come and go with cherry blossoms falling, dreamers dancing in Rome, and Christmas disarray. Take away, the motto of businessmen GTD (Get Things Done) but quickly the author revises it to WWBD (What would Baudelaire Do?). I know. He would have praised this book as I must!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Heather K. Ragan on November 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This morning began chilly and gray, with a fine mist calling out for a warm cup of cocoa. I’ll admit I wasn’t in the best mood this morning having had little rest the night before due to the pelting of rain upon the roof and the querulous cries of my infant son waking up three times in the middle of the night. I was in fact incorrigible. I barked at my daughter to hurry as we were running late and quarreled with her father on the drive to her school. I felt, as I often do, that time was racing away from me. I never seem to have enough of it to do everything that needs to be done. I need more time to sleep, to clean, to work with my students, to play with my kids, and when I do have a free moment I felt drained, exhausted, unable to think of the tiniest thing to do with myself. I had forgotten how to enjoy the time that I have.

Thankfully the Author, Jessica Kerwin Jenkins has reminded me of how important and wonderful my time can be. I began her book, All the Time in the World: A book of Hours, this afternoon beginning with a brief visit to the circus, and a short history of hot chocolate but was soon being transported around the world with Nelly Blye. Eventually I began to relax in an Orchid Garden with Chinese poets and discovered the nuances of the glass harmonica.

Jenkins’ book is a collection of wondrous moments, interesting facts, beautiful vignettes and sumptuous recipes. This book is a great respite from the constant push of the modern world as the author takes the reader on a languid tour of histories’ most pleasurable procrastinations; from the inspiration and wonder of the Ringling Brothers Circus to the Lord of Misrule’s Christmastime shenanigans. One never knows where the next entry will lead.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By StarkB on November 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jessica Kerwin Jenkins's new book is a blast. The book itself is printed beautifully and the illustrations are excellent. Each entry is totally engaging and entertaining. My husband also loves this book and even my eight year old son gets into it. It is a total treat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Smith on January 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Jessica Kerwin-Jenkins' previous book "Encyclopedia of the Exquisite" was a big hit in my family a few years ago and a total success as a Christmas gift for a lot of people I knew. Everyone I gave it to loved it. So I bought "All the Time in the World" for them all this year without even seeing it. Again, people were really happy to get it and raved about it. So I finally got myself a copy. The book is really beautiful to hold and thumb through and the stories and history in it are fascinating. It's a really transporting gem of a book and I recommend it to anyone. The perfect gift!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The subtitle for this book is "a book of hours." Indeed, that is probably the closest label available, as the book is formatted into a sort of super Day Runner, with each timeslot having a brief essay on a person or event that took place at that hour. Alternatively, you can think of it as a collection of "On this day in history" articles, except it would be "on this HOUR in history." I prefer to consider it a historical smorgasbord of fascinating occurrences.

There are just under 100 brief essays on various topics, most attached to a particular time such as Noon or 7:30pm. Interspersed are twelve seasonal can't-be-tied-to-a-specific-time pieces, labeled with the name of a month.

As I said, MOST of the articles focus on a single event, such as 11am (when Oscar Wilde, having just arrived in the US, "takes" New York) or 1:50am ("Last Call at La Rotonde"). Some offer brief narratives outlining the development of an item (such as 7:30am's essay on looking glasses) or a concept (11:45am's essay on sun worshippers). Others, such as the 3:50am "Dreamers Take Flight" gently pinballs from ancient Greece to the Marquis Saint-Denys (probably the first person to try to "program" his dreams AND draw "the faint geometric visual hallucinations that swirl when one's eyes are closed, just on the cusp of sleep.") to psychologist Mary Arnold-Forster. The period covered ranges from the beginning of the World (at 9am naturally, at least according to Bishop Ussher's famous calculation) to a handful on the late 20th century.
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More About the Author

Jessica Kerwin Jenkins began her career in New York writing for Women's Wear Daily and for W magazine, later becoming the magazine's European editor in Paris. Assignments took her all over Europe, and beyond, from Madrid to Copenhagen to Athens to Venice to Ibiza to Tallin, visiting ateliers, villas, palazzos, chateaux, and haciendas. She had dinner in the Tower of London and a rude massage in a steam bath in Tunis. In Jaipur she played in a surreal elephant polo match for charity.

She writes for Vogue and lives with her family in Maine.

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All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours
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