A Call to Kipple

Alma Boykin, who writes delightful Russian fairytales brought to the New World, put out a call to kipple this morning.

I was drawn to my bookshelves almost immediately. There was a small matter of coffee to be made, and drunk, first, and the dog to be cared for. But once I’d completed the short morning routine, I started to pull a few books from behind the glass doors. I have rather a lot of Kipling’s work, having admired him since I was a girl. But among the books that I will read are the ones that I won’t – the old ones. Over a hundred years of age have left them brittle, so I prefer the modern paperbacks, or online versions. They are beautiful, in their own way, even the ones that came to my hands much read and battered.

I think the first story of his I read was most likely Captains Courageous. A redemption story, it follows a spoiled brat who learns what being a man is about, and along the way learns more about fish than he thought possible. I sometimes wonder about Kipling’s home life, as another one of his poems I found much later in life dealt with a father whose son disappointed him. But I digress.

old books
Antiques, my collection of Kipling.

I have – that third book down on the stack – Kim. I first read Kim when I was 11 or 12, and I think it formed my perception of what human is. Human is what human does – and Kim is an extraordinary story when you take it in the culture of the time. And you must. Taking Kipling, who was a liberal and progressive thinker for his time, and attempting to plaster modern morals on his work will not work.

A stanza from Tommy
A stanza from Tommy

Kipling is perhaps best known for, and rightly so, his grasp of the soldier’s plight. The mentality of the British fighting men is not that much different from the modern warriors and I strongly suspect a Roman munifex hearing him in Latin would be nodding in agreement. The above stanza from Tommy captures in poetic verse the blight that lay over armies from time immemorial until Florence Nightingale bent her considerable mind to epidemiology and nursing.

Very Early Science Fiction

Did you know that Kipling wrote science fiction? I was rather surprised to discover it myself a few years back, after I’d begun reading SF extensively and purposely. But here is is, written in 1912 and positing a near future of 2065 that is nearer to now than it was to then. From my copy of A Diversity of Creatures, As Easy as ABC is a sociopolitical exploration of a world which has rejected democracy as mob rule, and a world that is ruled by a singular government.


I do hope I have given you some reasons to read Kipling today. You can find more than you wanted to know at the Kipling Society, including a poem of the week. Kipling’s work is so much more than the Jungle Book, or Rikki-tikki-tavi, although those are the children’s stories most are familiar with. Kipling-3

And because I know my readers like book porn as much as I do!

4 thoughts on “A Call to Kipple

    1. I can agree with that. I miss making it – there may be chokecherries here in Ohio but I haven’t found them since I moved. Although I have gotten to experiment with mulberries.


        I saw you share recipes.

        Almond Butter Cookies

        A few years ago Terry brought home almond butter. My lovely and talented wife understands my interest in omega-3 fats. Alas, it isn’t very good as a peanut butter substitute. What was I to do with these 32 ounce jars of almond butter?

        My solution was almond butter cookies. These seem to be very popular. Three years ago a web search showed no such recipes. Herewith is my recipe:

        Mark V Almond Butter Cookies

        Mark V Almond Butter Cookies

        1 Cup Almond Butter
        1/2 Cup Margarine
        1/2 Cup Sugar
        1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
        1 Egg
        1/2 tsp Vanilla
        1 1/4 Cup Flour
        1 tsp Baking Soda
        1/4 tsp Salt

        Oven 375 F

        Cream together the almond butter, margarine, and sugars. [I use ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.’]
        Mix in egg and vanilla.
        Add in flour, baking soda, and NaCl.
        Form into 25 mm balls and cook at 375 F for 12 to 13 Minutes. [For those who dislike Fahrenheit try 835 Rankine.]

        Makes about 40.

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