Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer leisure, 1950s style

Last time I was at the cottage, I came across a book too pretty not to share:

There are constant book-related discoveries there, because my uncle built his life on words and never saw a book he didn't want to pick up and look into.  Also, he really enjoys browsing through used-anything stores.

I think any knitter subjected to a steady stream of yarn stores online and otherwise can see Where That Sort Of Thing Leads, ahem.

This particular book was standing with a collection of others, grouped by height, on a very small shelf in one of the guest bedrooms - the sorts of books a visitor might want to read on a rainy cottage day.  Or, in this case, an insanely buggy day.  And I did read one story in it - advice from Benjamin Franklin to his nephew never to pay too much for his pleasures, either financially or figuratively. Very insightful, and useful.

But mostly I am in love with the cover!

Is that large-plumed bird perching on his head, or sneaking behind his lounger?

This book came out in 1950 and the illustration is so evocative of the marketing in that postwar time... fluid lines, a frolicking sense of leisure beyond even the memory of labour, and oh yeah! very specific gender markers.

Seriously: he's outside, and she's indoors with her cat and her box of chocolates?

(okay, this was me from 1990 to 2006, but still. principle.)

Ironically, I am doing a lot of summer reading at the moment, flipping between audio and screen for two different (amazingly well-written and well-reviewed) stories that are getting a bit mixed up in my head now because they are both set during wars this book cover would have its readers forget.

The first is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which I decided to read as text.  It's set just before and then during WWII, in France and Germany, and is really hard to put down.

The second is The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, this time in audiobook form because the readers - Clare Corbett and Penny Rawlins - are fabulous.  It's also really hard to put down, which means I'm multitasking big time as I keep up with my yarn-spinning quota and my pre-move decluttering efforts in the basement.

Hope you are getting in some yummy reading these days!

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