Reading Rarities: Lunch Box

Carrying one's lunch to school or work is, of course, as old as the proverbial hills, and what we know today as lunch boxes became ubiquitous in the last century. Some of its history has been chronicled by Scott Bruce, author of the 1988 book, Lunch Box: The Fifties and Sixties. I can't remember how I … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Lunch Box

Advertisements

Reading Rarities: Atomic Kitchen

August seems to be "Atomic" Month here on Taking Up Room, only this year we're not talking about the atomic bomb. Oh no. In the nineteen-fifties, the term "atomic" could be applied to anything, from cereal to drinks to cars to TVs. Today, however, we're only interested in that haven of culinary concoction and homely … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Atomic Kitchen

Page To Screen: Julie & Julia

It's been ten years since Nora Ephron's swan song, Julie and Julia. It was an ambitious film for her and it also wasn't, because it features expected and loved Ephron trademarks of witty dialogue and deft character development. What's unusual for the Ephron canon is that Julie and Julia juxtaposes the lives of two unique … Continue reading Page To Screen: Julie & Julia

Reading Rarities: Make Do and Mend

During the Second World War, rationing was a thing in most parts of the world, and Britain had some of the most stringent rules of any free nation. Then, as now, they relied heavily on imported goods and raw materials, and when shipping became a problem, conservation was the order of the day. Not only … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Make Do and Mend

Reading Rarities: The Art of Overeating

Plenty of Americans have contentious relationships with food in that we have to be moderate about something we have more than an abundance of. We want to overindulge, but we know we shouldn't, so life can be made up of mental games and conditioning in order to maintain a proper relationship with what we put … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The Art of Overeating

Reading Rarities: Retro Housewife

There used to be kitchen store in Old Sacramento called the Solar Syndicate, and besides the vintage-looking stoves, novelty timers shaped like cheese wedges, and copper fish wall hangings, they sold a few books, some of which were the Collector's Press "Retro" series. I only had a chance to buy two of them: Retro Breakfast, which I'll … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Retro Housewife

Reading Rarities: Pocket Guide To the Apocalypse

We've had an unusual amount of death-related stuff this month, and now we'll be talking about the end of the world. It's quite an April we're having here. Don't worry, though--this Reading Rarity will be fun. Here's hoping, anyway... The end of the world is a touchy subject. It's also the title of that one … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Pocket Guide To the Apocalypse

Reading Rarities: Teenage Confidential

There have always been teenagers, at least in the chronological sense. Teenage culture as we know it today, however, is a relatively new phenomenon, and it's a funny thing. Its public face is arbitrated and controlled by the adults with varying degrees of involvement from actual members of its demographic, and may not necessarily reflect … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Teenage Confidential

Reading Rarities: As Seen On TV

Ah, yes. Infomercials. Everyone's seen them. In my neck of the woods, we have a channel that plays them all day and all night, seven days a week. It's either hilarious or mind-numbing, depending on what time of day it is, and that time is highly nebulous. Anything involving Cathy Mitchell is usually fun, Others … Continue reading Reading Rarities: As Seen On TV

Reading Rarities: Read My Lips

During the break, I took a look at my bookshelves and was struck by how many novelty books I have. You know, the kind of volumes you find in college bookstores or souvenir shops. They're the books you didn't know you wanted, and they serve no discernable purpose besides pulling readers out of the everyday. … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Read My Lips

Why I Never Say, “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid.”

Today's post is not going to be exactly cheery, and if anyone wants to stop reading due to sensitivities or thinks this topic is too macabre, I completely understand. History's not always a pretty sight. However, I wanted to at least touch on Jonestown because it shook a lot of people in America, and Northern … Continue reading Why I Never Say, “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid.”

Origins: Little Women

Louisa May Alcott's semi-autobiographical novel, Little Women, has been a well-loved classic from the beginning. First published in 1868, with a sequel, Good Wives following in 1869, the saga came at a time when America was reeling in the aftermath of the Civil War. The book was both timely and timeless. It was also unusual … Continue reading Origins: Little Women