Reading Rarities: Silent Echoes

Southern California and LA in particular are notoriously cavalier about architectural history. Everything's got to be new and fresh. With all the movies that have been made there over the past hundred-plus years, not to mention the periodic earthquakes, it's amazing anything stands longer than a few decades. Still, remnants of old Hollywood manage to … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Silent Echoes

Reading Rarities: The American Frugal Housewife

We all know that for as long as there have been houses and households, there have been housekeeping gurus. Today's guru, Mrs. Child, wrote several such books, but today we're talking about her 1826 volume, The American Frugal Housewife. Eloise and Martha have nothing on Mrs. Child, who isn't well-known today, but Housewife ought to be. … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The American Frugal Housewife

Reading Rarities: Irish Americans

Most of my family came from Ireland, although we're still unearthing the details of what parts they hailed from. So far we know my paternal grandpa's ancestors were Irish Catholics from Wexford (yes, just like the Kennedys), but that's about it. The story that I've always gotten about my mom's side of the family is … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Irish Americans

Reading Rarities: The American Home Front, 1941-1942

When most people think of Alistair Cooke, at least people of my generation and before, we think of the dapper English gentleman on Masterpiece Theatre or Upstairs Downstairs, sitting in the posh wing chair bidding all of us a good evening before introducing that night's program. Mr. Cooke was an institution, and Masterpiece Theatre hasn't … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The American Home Front, 1941-1942

Reading Rarities: So You Think You’re A Bookworm?

I love reading. Put me in a library or a bookstore and I will happily stay until I get hungry or it's closing time, whichever comes first. Who else can relate? Yep, a lot of people consider themselves bookworms, but according to Joan Hoare there's more to being a bookworm than meets the eye. Way … Continue reading Reading Rarities: So You Think You’re A Bookworm?

Reading Rarities: Bobbi Brown Beauty

I can't speak as to how it is now, but when I was a student at Sac State the Hornet Bookstore was a treasure trove of unique books, and one of my finds was the 1997 volume, Bobbi Brown Beauty. Before there were beauty gurus, YouTube, or social media as we know them, there was Bobbi … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Bobbi Brown Beauty

Reading Rarities: A Baggage Car With Lace Curtains

Like local history? I love it. Some years ago I found an intriguing little book at the Rocklin Library: A Baggage Car With Lace Curtains by Kay Fisher, a native of the Sacramento area. Kay's husband, Bill, worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad starting in the nineteen-forties, and their story gives a whole new meaning to … Continue reading Reading Rarities: A Baggage Car With Lace Curtains

Reading Rarities: The AWVS Cook Book

Uniforms were everywhere during the World War Two period, of course, and one type was worn by the American Women's Voluntary Service, or AWVS. This group was founded in 1940 when it became clear that America would someday enter the war. The early thinking was that we would eventually be bombed like Britain and occupied … Continue reading Reading Rarities: The AWVS Cook Book

Reading Rarities: A Beginner’s Guide To Goat Yoga

Admit it, you totally thought this was clickbait, and if you did I can't blame you. However, truth is stranger than fiction and goat yoga really is a thing. No, there aren't goats doing tree poses and chatarangas, although I wouldn't put it past them, but people do practice yoga outside with goats wandering around … Continue reading Reading Rarities: A Beginner’s Guide To Goat Yoga

Reading Rarities: Life of the Party

Tupperware. The plastic. The convenience. The legend. And of course, the parties. Remember those? They're still very much a thing. I've never been to one, but they look fun. Tupperware pioneered plastic housewares right around the time when plastic was coming into its own, and pretty much every American household has Tupperware somewhere. Well, almost. … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Life of the Party

Reading Rarities: ABC of Aviation

I've grown up hearing and talking about airplanes. My dad was a single-engine pilot for many years. Well, technically he still is, but he hasn't got a current medical certification, so there's that. My knowledge of planes is purely academic while Dad's is practical, but it's our thing. One year I bought him a pack … Continue reading Reading Rarities: ABC of Aviation

Reading Rarities: A Field Guide To the North American Family

Ah, that elusive, nubelous entity, the American Family. The whole world finds the American Family intriguing. They can't really help it, seeing as American Families are ubiquitous. Everyone from the Jeffersons to the Cleavers to the Bundys are known in every country. The fictional American family, at least the ones found in sitcoms of a … Continue reading Reading Rarities: A Field Guide To the North American Family

Reading Rarities: A Journey Into Steinbeck’s California

As the saying goes, you never really know someone until you climb in his shoes and walk around in them. Lately I've been walking with John Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors (and a fellow Californian), in Susan Shillinglaw's A Journey Into Steinbeck's California. Far from being a simple tour guide of Steinbeck haunts, Journey is a … Continue reading Reading Rarities: A Journey Into Steinbeck’s California

Reading Rarities: Joan Of Arc In Her Own Words

No one is ever quite indifferent to Joan of Arc once they've found out about her. She's been called a witch, she's been called crazy, she's been called a mystic. Some people think her Voices were actual Saints and others don't. Either way, we all know Joan's a towering figure to many, and because of … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Joan Of Arc In Her Own Words

Reading Rarities: Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies

Dear friends, unless you've been in the military, I'm guessing your thoughts look something like this right now: "Yikes." "Wow." "This looks boring." Also highly likely: "What is it?" That was my question when I spied Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies while poking around Winston Smith Books several years ago. I asked the cashier about … Continue reading Reading Rarities: Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies