It occurs to me that I never did talk about my ridiculously geeky Pennsic purchase. Not the most expensive one (that was a couple of outfits of 12th century garb, on the grounds that it is literally linen from head to toe, and therefore helped me survive Pennsic), but the preposterous impulse buy.
So: no shit, there I was, standing in the Haunted Bookshop. Now you have to understand, Haunted is my *bane* at Pennsic. Once a year, without fail, Gwyneth manages to pull out some used book that costs more than I really should spend, but which is so esoteric and cool that I wind up agonizing over it. (And more often that not, succumb and buy it.)
This time was weird, because I needed to kill time there. Y'see, TRM had decided to give Gwyneth her AoA, but we'd been told that, since EK Court is opposite Midnight Madness, there was Absolutely No Way she was coming to Court. So Her Majesty decided to bring the mountain to Mohammed on Thursday morning. msmemory was going to do the actual heralding, but I decided to act as a spotter, to make sure she was still there when HRM came by. (And besides, having been a customer of hers for years, I kinda wanted to be there.) But of course, it took a while for HRM to get there, so I wound up poring over the books even more closely than usual, and found this year's siren of the bookshelves.
The AoA presentation was lovely, BTW: the other booksellers all gathered around, and the scroll was a fine piece by Eowyn. Gwyneth seemed touched.
But this posting is about this year's Book Doom, which I talked myself into over the next 24 hours. As always, I'm a sucker for weird bits of period culture, and 25+ years in the SCA have left me with a very strange definition of "useful". So it was that my reaction was, "That looks really useful!" when I found the six-volume set of Chapters in Medieval Administrative History.
The title on the spine is misleadingly vague. The full title inside is Chapters in the Administrative History of Medieval England: The Wardrobe, The Chamber and the Small Seals. So this is basically a history of the administration of England: how they actually managed to *run* the country, gradually building up layers of administrative bureaucracy to do so. It pays particular attention to seals: what the various seals all meant and how they were used.
It's one of the geekiest things I own, but it's actually kind of neat, especially as I get into all this court-heraldry schtick. This is a deep dive into how all of that worked in reality, and I suspect there are a lot of entertaining ideas to be mined out of it. From the first page, it is explicitly a "think with your persona's mind" book: the introduction is focused on the way that we tend to introduce our modern assumptions into historical study, and fail to pay enough attention to stuff that was Really Really Important to the actual nobility in period. In short, it's so Silverwing it *hurts*.
(And yes, it cost *way* too much. But I comfort myself with the fact that it cost far less than the $500 two-volume set that claimed to illustrate 80,000 period coats of arms...)