All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: October 2013
Duration: 6 hours 57 minutes
A follow-up to her popular Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, Jenkins’ new book offers a string of historical anecdotes structured around the hours of the day, celebrating the unusual, fantastic, and beautiful ways people have spent time throughout the ages.
All the Time in the World proffers a miscellany of customs, traditions, and pleasures people have pursued throughout the ages. An antidote to the contemporary cult of “getting things done,” the book takes its cue from the medieval books of hours, which prescribed certain readings and contemplations for various parts of the day and year. Full of witty bons mots, interesting etymologies, and arresting anecdotes, the book encompasses an array of cultures and eras, including ancient Greece, Renaissance Florence, 1930s Shanghai, and the Hollywood Hills of the late 1960s, and drifts through the worlds of fashion, beauty, art, food, and travel. Focusing on the glamorous, eccentric, unusual, and sublime, subjects covered include the daylong ceremony of laying a royal Elizabethan tablecloth; the radicalization of sartorial chic in 1890s Paris; Nostradamus’ belief in the aphrodisiac power of jam (and the book of recipes he published the same year as his predictions); the sensuous practice of sniffing incense in fifteenth century Japan; the American fascination with flaming desserts; the short-lived artistic discipline of “lumia,” or visual music; the Ottoman Empire’s seventeenth-century ban on coffee; the magnetic atmosphere that fueled Parisian highlife in the 1920s; Henriette d’Angeville’s fearless ascent of Mont Blanc, armed with thirteen guides, twenty-four roast chickens, and eighteen bottles of wine; the elaborate treasure hunts concocted by London’s Bright Young Things; and the musical revolution known as bebop. Entertaining, unexpected, and charming, All the Time in the World digs up the forgotten treasures of the past and inspires a passion for good living in the present.
“A literary excursion around the clock and through the year in miniature essays about a host of diverse, fanciful topics…In its chronological presentation, there are more than seventy-five chunks of oddities of civilization from, for example, the mounting taste for coffee to old Shanghai’s cabarets…A small cabinet of wonder, detailing some diverting oddments and minutiae of past times.”—Kirkus Reviews