Monday, 14 January 2013

This Year's Stack

I can't imagine a time when books aren't going to be found on my Christmas wish list.  Last year I was inspired by LR at Magnificent or Egregious  showing us her Christmas books.  

Terrible photo, sorry!  Blame the short days here in the North...

I got some lovely hand lotion (Molton Brown) and Simon gave us both a box of French foods:  duck pate, red wine, chocolate truffles and the like.  Bill bought me a shed load of Art Deco books, which I'm hoping he'll enjoy as well.  My favourite of those so far is Art Deco Fashion by Suzanne Lussier (a V&A publication), but I've not got through them all yet.  He also got me the film Turning Point.  I'd forgotten how beautiful Ann Bancroft was.  It was surprising to see how young Baryshnikov and MacLaine once were (weren't we all?)    

My lovely step-children bought me loads off my Amazon wish list:

W./E. (I expected to hate this and love the clothes, but actually I really liked the film itself - both the story lines grabbed me.  Madonna was slated for this film, but I have to say I thought it was quite good, and of course the clothes were spectacular.)

Let's Bring Back, by Leslie M. M. Blume.  I wondered how this would compare with An Encyclopedia of Exquisite, but it's been a year since I read that, so I need to go back and re-fresh myself.  I've learned loads from Blume's book and, at this writing, I'm only in the Ns.

An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler.  There is a lot in here for the frugal chef and she writes beautifully as well.  Her chapter titles are beguiling and much in the style of MFK Fisher who wrote How to Cook a Wolf in the austerity of WWII.   Adler has given me a lot of ideas to try, but she does seem to rely heavily on olive oil and salt.  However, she gives wonderfully practical advice about a wealth of things, growing and using herbs for one, and she's convinced me to go back to boiling veg, if only to use the water afterwards.   I've not finished this yet, but reading it - like reading Elizabeth David - is almost as good as eating a meal.

1939:  The Last Season by Anne de Courcy.  Having read her book, The Viceroy's Daughters - The Lives of the Curzon Sisters, I knew this would be good and it is.  It has all sorts of vivid details about what people did, clothes that were worn, etc. but also very much sets the scene in the months coming up to Britain's declaration of war with Germany.   

Keeping up Appearances:  Fashion and Class Between the Wars, by Catherine Horwood.  Her Ph.D. supervisor was Amanda Vickery, whose book (Behind Closed Doors:  At Home in Georgian England) I so enjoyed last year...must re-read that soon.   If you haven't seen Vickery's TV series on this topic, I highly recommend it (it may be on PBS in the US).  Horwood's book was focused primarily upon the middle classes, with a bit about either side of them, but it fits nicely in with what Thorstein Veblen talks about.  It made me very glad to live in this day, to be retired and to be living outside of my own culture (because the rules don't apply as easily to me).  Whew, what a relief!

I've yet to tackle:

Art Deco House Styles by Trevor Yorke.  I've only flipped through this, but I'm thinking I probably prefer Art Nouveau objects, but Art Deco clothing.  

London Art Deco, by Arnold Schwartzman.  I'm thinking we're about due a fun (as opposed to business) trip to London soon.  Perhaps this will give some ideas about what to go see?

Art Deco 1910-1939, edited by Charlotte Benton, Tim Benton and Ghislaine Wood.  This is a 'coffee table' sized book and it will be amazing, I'm sure.


I've been on a spring cleaning kick this last week, culling films, books, clothes and what-nots.  Have to make room for new acquisitions, after all!

Did you get anything fabulous for Christmas?

13 comments:

Beryl said...

What a nice assortment of lovely presents. Perfect to get you through what's left of Winter.
I wasn't that much into building style before seeing the amazing Art Deco downtown of Tulsa. Now I can see how it compliments the Art Deco clothing style, which I have always been interested in.

Tabitha said...

Oh I am going to have to buy that London art deco book, I don't know enough about it, I love Claridge's and I love the deco you see in LA but I don't like a lot of the clunky dark wooden deco furniture so I'm wondering how it all merges together or if there are different deco strands.

Suburban Princess said...

You get smart people books! I got the Downton Abbey books and a Danish cook book (about food in Denmark, not pastry). Oh and an Oor Wullie book :O)

The 'Let's Bring Back' book sounds interesting...I googled it and am happy to report I have lots of acquaintances and use calling cards :O)

vintagefrenchchic said...

I am taking note of all these Art Deco books...love that time period and style.

I LOVED "Let's Bring Back". I think I loaned it out to my mom and I haven't seen it again. Drat!

I am reading "Behind the Beautiful Forever" by Katherine Boo and "Simple Pleasures" by Cornelia Guest. I recently finished "Excellent Women" by Barbara Pym and "A House in Paris" by Elizabeth Bowen. Plus I am stuck in a series too. Lots of reading lately...very enjoyable.

Shelley said...

Beryl - I'm such an idiot! I had no idea Tulsa's downtown had Art Deco architecture. We'll be right over....

Tabitha - I know I'm not that taken with the Egyptian theme that was big with Art Deco (they'd just discovered King Tut's tomb or something). I confess that I don't know much about the furniture styles. I love having something new to learn!

SP - I love 'smart people books'...isn't that what everyone wants people to think when they show off their book collections? I think mine shows me to be a bit mental, but never mind. Oor Wullie is something I've not heard of...sounds very Geordie, then again I think Geordie sounds very Scots.

Shelley said...

Heather - I've spent this morning (well half an hour) googling all your books and darn if I'm not going to have to put them all on my wishlist! That book set in India sounds too grim for words, but very educational. I've heard of CZ Guest, but don't know much about her, including that she had a daughter named Cornelia. House in Paris, well, that's my era, isn't it? Must buy another bookcase...

Carolyn said...

You have some real beauties there :)
I tend to get my fiction from the local library, but I do like to collect pattern books, as in clothing patterns, particularly Japanese. My children give me a new japanese pattern book for Christmas, which I am looking forward to experimenting with soon!

vintagefrenchchic said...

The book on India is grim and a bit depressing...so I am having a hard time with it. I am in need of escapism not more doses of hard reality. :) But I do like learning about different cultures. Helps to keep perspective on life, you know?

Shelley said...

Carolyn - I read a lot of library books as well, some fiction, some non-fiction. Our local library is being re-built as the 1970s building was declared unsafe (cheap contract, obviously). The recession is also hitting libraries here though - I bought tons of books for 50p that I was horrified were going to disappear. I worry that when they are done it will all be Mills and Boone or the like.

Shelley said...

Heather - I know what you mean about hard to read. Some books I read only once, they are so emotionally draining. But once you realise how some people in the world barely live, I find it impossible to feel anything but wealthy.

ilegirl said...

I must check out that de Courcy book! Sounds fabulous.

I have a stack to read in 2013, but none were gifts. In fact, one is a gift I gave someone else and am borrowing now that she's finished reading it, called 'Nothing Daunted' and about a pair of unmarried young women in the early 20th century who headed West to explore ... well, life I suppose. Can't wait to read it!

Shelley said...

Ilegirl - Your 'Nothing Daunted' sounds very intriguing. What brave women! I may have to find that book...

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

I have another stack of books to read again this January! :) Thx for the shoutout.

I love the Let's Bring Back book - so great. I'm reading After Camelot, Ann & Nancy Wilson's memoir and Stacy London's book.