Wednesday, May 1, 2013

This Month in Non-Fiction

After all the stuff I checked out at the library I expected to have read more this month, but I guess real life got in the way.  My brother has been visiting from New York, I threw Edward a bacon themed birthday party and I accidentally started reading A Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction. 

But here's some non-fiction I did read:

Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity and the Women Who Made America Modern 
by Joshua Zeitz

This was NOT a quick read.  There's a lot of information packed into each chapter, so it sometimes felt like I was reading a text book.  But in a good way...I think.  The information was interesting to me, so I was glad to be reading it.  But it wasn't a book I was dying to dive back into throughout the day.

Some Things I Learned:

-  One of the reasons that a lot of people objected to the automobile at first was because young men and women used to drive off together in them to "be alone."  Women were occasionally taken to the courthouse to be charged for "sex crimes" that took place in parked cars.  It was not stated whether or not men were punished as well, but I doubt it. 

-  Courtship changed completely in the 20's because people actually had somewhere to go.  Men were not used to being in charge of the dating process.  They showed up to visit with their intended when she and her mother made the invitation.  But now THEY had to be the one doing the inviting.  And even pay!  In fact, most women made so little at their jobs that they could barely survive unless they had a boyfriend (or two) to buy them dinner now and then.

-  KKK members often took it upon themselves to monitor the heavy petting that took place at movie theaters and dances.  "Fallen women" were taken to remote areas where they were stripped and beaten.

-  Coco Chanel lied about most of her life details.  A lot of the stories she told were borrowed from romance novels or her friends.

-  The pressure applied on women's bodies by corsets averaged 21 lbs.  It was known to get as high as 88 lbs.  Hell. No.  Is there a record somewhere of how many women died of asphyxiation due to corsets?

Read more reviews on this book at LibraryThing.

Eating for England
by Nigel Slater

I love reading about food and I love reading in a British accent, so this was a really good pick for me.  I love Nigel's writing style and the fact that the book is divided by the names of dishes or chocolate bars rather than chapters.  It gets a little repetitive (there are at least five sections about farmer's markets), but he's very funny and has written several other books that I am probably going to have to try now.  This is a fun, light read that will really make you crave a cup of tea.  I'd go make myself a cup right now, but I'd also want some cookies and I already ate them all.

Some Things I Learned:

-  There is a difference between "custard" and "a custard."  A custard is a pastry tart filled with custard sauce.  Regular custard is just the sauce by itself.  So, now I know that the Teletubbies were eating custard sauce and not a custard.

-  Different flavors of Jelly Babies have different names.  The silliest sounding one is Boofuls, which is the lime flavor.  What the fuck is a Boofuls?

-  According to Mr. Slater, the quality of fish and chips started declining when the health inspectors stopped allowing shops to serve them wrapped in old newspaper.  This concerns me.  If anyone who lives in England is reading this, can you please reassure me that I will still be able to eat some good fish and chips when I finally make it over there?  Also, can I stay at your house?

-  You should never cut a crumpet.

-  "Junket" is porn slang for semen.  Yes, this information is in a food book.

-  The term "Muffin Worry" refers to the old custom of old ladies getting together for tea to discuss the latest scandal.  Can we please start this back up?

-  Fairy Cakes are what the British call cupcakes.  I'd always just assumed it was a term for snack cakes, like Twinkies or something. 

-  There is nothing tastier or more comforting than toast.

Read more reviews on this book at LibraryThing.

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