Make do and Mend, with Jill Norman

Make do and Mend, with Jill Norman

This review is of Make do and Mend (Keeping Family and Home Afloat on War Rations). It is a collection of delightfully reproduced WW2 leaflets, with a foreword by Jill Norman. It’s a beautiful snapshot of the past. It can be easy to romanticise the wartime era, and think that everyone knew how to sew, cook and fix their homes. In reality, the much lauded ‘Blitz Spirit’ was formed and reinforced with a lot of propaganda and hand holding. This included classes, radio shows and detailed leaflets. The leaflets covered home maintenance, fuel conservation, and tips on how to wash, store, and mend clothing.

They could even help you learn how to make do and mend today!

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Thrifty Ways for Modern Days by Martin Lewis

Thrifty Ways for Modern Days by Martin Lewis

Money saving expert Martin Lewis begins Thrifty Ways for Modern Days by explaining that this is a crowd sourced book. He gives all credit to his resourceful forumites, on the Old Style Board.

He explains he himself is not an old-styler, as it is a lifestyle, not just an adjustment. He recommends it for people who *need* to do it, due to debt or unemployment, and for people who want to live a greener, thriftier lifestyle. The book is divided into cleaning, shopping, fashion, DIY, special occasions, presents, growing your own and recipes.

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Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams

Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams

Sweet Bird of Youth is a 1959 play by Tennessee Williams. Most of the play takes place in the Royal Palms Hotel, an “old fashioned but still fashionable” hotel in St. Cloud, on the Gulf Coast.

Chance Wayne is first introduced wearing the classic Williams trope; white silk pyjamas. He starts the day with a cigarette and a ‘bromo’; an alka seltzer hangover remedy. The waiter has to mix it for him, due to his hands shaking, due to his alcohol consumption the night before.

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An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguru

An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguru

An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro, is a beautiful, hazy portrait of life in post war Japan. It explores generational tension, changing social mores, guilt and atonement. It is also another excellent example of the unreliable narrator, a trope of Ishiguro’s work.

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Time Out of Joint by Philip K Dick

Time Out of Joint by Philip K Dick

Ragle Gumm is an ordinary man lives with his sister’s family in a sleepy suburban 1950s town. He makes a living by winning a newspaper contest over and over again. He dallies with his neighbour and plots where the Little Green Man will be Next, but starts to realise all is not well. This is how Time out of Joint, by Philip K Dick, begins.

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What Remains of Edith Finch, by Ian Dallas

What Remains of Edith Finch, by Ian Dallas

What Remains of Edith Finch is a beautiful, haunting tale exploring the death and tragedy surrounding the Finch family.

Edith has returned to her family’s abandoned home off the coast of the state of Washington following her mother’s death. The tale shows Edith discovering their history through exploration of sealed bedrooms / shrines, all with voyeuristic peepholes.

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Affinity, by Sarah Waters

Affinity, by Sarah Waters

An interweaving tale of two entrapped women; a suicidal noblewoman with no purpose and an imprisoned spiritualist claiming innocence. Reality, voice and oppression – not to mention manipulation – are the key themes in this stunning lesbian Victorian ghost story. A rich, beautiful, haunting novel by an excellent author, set in the late 19th century.

Spoilers ahead.

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Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe

Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe

Unusually, I got the Kindle version of Tin Can Cook. I tend to have my phone handy when cooking so I figured it would be appropriate. So far, it’s introduced me to the joys of tinned potatoes (9/10 most of a fresh bag will end up in the compost before we use it).

FYI, if you want to start composting, this site does cheap, subsidised bins – https://getcomposting.com

I have a real soft spot for Jack Monroe, for a very practical reason. The recipes on the Cooking on a Bootstrap website helped me when I was seriously struggling financially. Put it this way; I wasn’t visiting a food bank, but maybe I should have been.

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Suddenly Last Summer, By Tennessee Williams

Suddenly Last Summer, By Tennessee Williams

Suddenly, Last Summer was a 1958 one act play written by Tennesse Williams. The wealthy poet Sebastian Venable has been killed, and the family are gathering to hear his cousin, Catharine Holly, describe his scandalous death. Sebastian’s mother doesn’t believe her niece and has had Catharine committed; an attending doctor, known for performing lobotomies, injects her with a truth serum to get to the bottom of things.

“Suddenly Last Summer” was, perhaps,the most poetic I’ve done. – Tennessee Williams, Interview with Studs Terkel.¹

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