Vintage book list

I like to read books written in my favourite eras, as I’ve said somewhere already, and I like to keep an eye out for how clothes, style, make-up and all the rest of it is described by the writers. It says something not so much about what people wore and what was fashionable, but how the things people wore were perceived, which is often more difficult to get at just looking at images of what the fashions looked like and what people wore in portraits, illustrations and photographs. I love finding descriptions of the finer nuances, of what it is that creates the impression that someone is elegant, dowdy, vulgar, flashy, poor, sophisticated, countrified, provocative, conservative, bohemian, radical, queer and so on. We tend to know some, if not all of these nuances for our own specific time, place, class, subculture and so on, but getting a grip on those nuances for another time and place is difficult. Fiction written in that era occasionally gives a glimpse into it, and that’s part of what these vintage reading posts are about.

But they are also about sharing my favourite books and authors, hence this page. This is a list of the books I mention and pull quotes from on this blog, in the order I mentioned them, linked to the relevant posts. I recommend all of them.

CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD

STELLA GIBBONS

NANCY MITFORD