February 11, 2008

Book Thing...yet again

My dear neighbour is probably not going to get her MBA because I introduced her to the Book Thing this weekend. Of course, I also showed her where the great Italian grocery store is, with their extensive selection of cheap wine. Clearly, she's headed down a slippery slope of books and booze... lucky gal.

As usual, I headed right to the Decorating section where I found a series of five books called The Homemaker's Encyclopedia, published in the early 1950's.
I am pretty sure that their publication date gives you a good idea of what kind of books these are. I got the following titles:
  • Needlecraft for the Home
  • Food-Buying and Meal-Planning
  • Indoor and Outdoor Gardening
  • Personal Beauty and Charm
  • Decorating Handbook

I have to admit that I love old decorating books nearly as much as the current titles. As much as fashions and trends change, they also stay the same, as evidenced by my Carleton Varney series of posts. These books were edited by Miriam Reichl, who is the mother of Gourmet Magazine editor, Ruth Reichl. The photos in these books are hilarious and so is the commentary. The beauty and charm book offers sections such as "suggestions for bathing", "this is the way to clean your teeth" and "how to care for your furs". The decorating book talks about "do men need closets", "living with old pieces of furniture in a modern home" and "accessories, pictures and mirrors". The book appears to have been underwritten by the linoleum industry, since they advocate putting lino everywhere, including the bedrooms.

I haven't started on the needlecraft, gardening or cooking books yet, but I am assuming they will be equally entertaining.


  1. Wow - you lucky girl. Those books look fabulous.

    Thanks for stopping by. I've visited you a couple of times recently but had no time to stop and say hi. I didn't know about the Ikea naming policy. I see it all differently now! Have you ever seen the Ikea Hacker blog where people metamorph pieces of furniture into something for a totally different purpose?


  2. Do you think she is giving the photographer a two fingered salute with the hand not in frame?

  3. I love it! My favorite book from the Book Thing is titled "Ice Cream Diets." It was written in the late 1940's and offers daily meal plans that include a 1/2 cup of ice cream twice a day for the "calcium." The rest of the menus are what you'd expect from the emerging 1950's "diet plate." Lots of iceberg, cottage cheese, canned peaches and black coffee.

  4. Always pea-green with envy over the latest book thing find.

  5. Love it! It was certainly a different time! My favorite quote from an old book is one from either "Decorating is Fun" or "Entertaining is Fun"-
    "if you have a husband (and we certainly hope that you do)"!!! Can you image seeing that in print today?

  6. You have the best luck at the book thing! I'm headed this weekend ( since I had a clean-out fest with my bookshelf and need to get rid of a few bags of books and mags! ). Those books are hilarious -especially love 'do men need closets' UGH!

  7. BE... STOP AT MY HOUSE FIRST! I bet you've got some wonderful books!

  8. I love 1950's decorating, fashion and advice books! They are so self-assured, and so full of hilarious "good advice." I'm sure you'll have fun reading your way through this collection. I'm envious!

  9. omg - what fun!!! how to clean you teeth?!! hysterical. Love the cover picture of the woman - so 50s.

  10. Do men really need closets? I would say no, except sometimes I think my husband has more clothes than I do.

  11. You're leading your neighbor down a dangerous path. The Book Thing can be most addictive. Is the Italian grocery store Trinacria? I always enjoy shopping there.

  12. Julie... it is Trinacria. I had the most amazing sandwich from there!

  13. Just wanted to let you know there's going to be another AVAM book making class in April :)





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