Speaking of manor houses, blogger Hipster Dad’s review of Brideshead Revisited hilariously dismisses it as “a book when you spend pretty much the entirety of the narrative wanting to punch at least one of the major characters in the snoot.” Obviously, I don’t agree, but I like his American Southerner take on English country estates: “an awful lot of great freaking big, ungainly houses in an awfully small area. In the same sized area here [in the US], we’ve got Biltmore and the RJ Reynolds Estate, I think, and that’s it.”
No American McMansion, or any house for that matter, is complete without granite counter tops. The Washington Post examines how this aspirational feature took over kitchen design.
The Association of Black Women Historians lambasted novel and Oscar-nominated movie The Help for its unrealistic rose-colored portrayal of the domestic workers in America’s mid-century kitchens. I enjoyed the movie as a chick-flick, but the ABWH points out some troubling historical discrepancies. Happily, they also provided a reading list of alternative sources.
This excerpt from Simon Doonan’s new book reveals some juicy secrets about Christie’s sale of Marilyn Monroe’s estate, but it also reflects on deeper issues about memory, icons, and how photography has altered modern Americans’ relationships with their bodies. Marilyn wasn’t as chubby as we think.
Historical fiction is a book genre that can be either marvelous or dreadful. Roger Sutton, chair of the Scott O’Dell award committee, discusses its stylistic perils. Tanita Davis thinks the genre name can be off-putting to some kids, while Gail Gauthier emphasises good storytelling over an annoying staccato of historic factoids. (H/T to YA author Annie Cardi for sharing all these historical fiction links.)