Friday, 13 May 2016

As requested - a book review of The Button Box

Each button in Lynn Knight's button box tells a story.
CoverI'll quote from the library website
"An inlaid wooden chest the size of a shoe box holds Lynn Knight's button collection. A collection that has been passed down through three generations of women: a chunky sixties-era toggle from a favourite coat, three tiny pearl buttons from her mother's first dress after she was adopted as a baby, a jet button from a time of Victorian mourning. Each button tells a story. 'The Button Box' traces the story of women at home and in work from pre-First World War domesticity, through the first clerical girls in silk blouses, to the delights of beading and glamour in the thirties to short skirts and sexual liberation in the sixties."

I had already read and enjoyed " Lemon Sherbet and Dolly Blue, The Story of an Accidental Family" which is the story of 3 generations of adoptions in Lynn's family. So I guessed this new book would be just as readable, and it was.
The amount of research that was done for this book is amazing - books, magazines, film and TV - there are dozens of quotes. The author says" Some of my research was an indulgence, enabling me to read and re-read many memoirs,autobiographies and academic accounts". All her reading has made a fascinating story of how fashion has shaped women's lives and vice versa.
She has listed all her resources in a brilliant bibliography, and I intend to photo copy this list before the book goes back to the library so that I can track down several that sound interesting. I'm also going to have a look through the buttons in my button tin - some were from my mums button tin but also many older ones bought years ago from a jumble sale.

This book is definitely worth reading.

Back Soon
Sue

19 comments:

  1. I ordered a copy of from the pit to the store and will gladly send it on to you after I have read it. I really appreciate your book postings.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy my book lists and reviews. I've photocopied the bibliography from The Button Box and having great fun going through it to see which the library have that I can borrow, which I own or have already read and some that I might add to my wish list.
      Thank you for the offer of the book, if you are sure you don't want to keep it I would love it and I have a friend who would enjoy reading it too.

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    2. Glad to share with you and your friend.

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  2. This sounds the book for me ... it has my name on it, doesn't it? I love social history (I even write about it) and it sounds similar to so many I've read but always enjoy. Recommended to those who like this kind of book are also: Pertdect Wives in Ideal Homes - The Story of women in the 1950s by Virginia Nicholson (a time when I was growing up); and The Housekeeper's Tale - The Women Who Really Ran the English Country HOuse by Tessa Boase (wonderful recollections of a by-gone era, but right up to the era of the Bloomsbury set at Charleston.
    Margaret P

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    1. Just a PS - have now ordered this from Amazon ... so many good review, they can't all be wrong! I told you this book had my name on it. If ever I write my memoir (which is most unlikely) it would be entitled Books Were Her Downfall ...
      Margaret P

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  3. This sounds very interesting. I have now ordered it from my local library - thank you!

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  4. What a wonderful interesting book !
    It is on my list now.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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  5. My grandmother didnt have a button box, it was a jar. Whenever she had us play "button, button whose got the button" she raided her jar. After she passed my mother inherited it and it became a jar filled with endless possibilities..sorting, counting and picking out the favourites for all her grandkids.I'm sure it started as a way to recycle buttons on grandads shirts, but it provided alot more!

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  6. Thank you - I will look for it at our library

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  7. I shall order this one. It sounds my kind of book.
    Gillx

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  8. This sounds like my kind of book too. During my childhood, and no doubt before, buttons were always removed from home-made items (I didn't wear shop bought clothes until I was 13 and rebelled, my mother made her own clothes for most of her life and even made my father's shirts during their early married years - they lived in an old cottage with no electricity and my mother worked as an operating theatre sister too, where did she find the time?). The saved buttons were sewn onto a card or threaded together (one of my earliest remembered jobs) and the fabric either recycled for dusters or rags or made into something else. I kept some of my mother's button collection - wish I'd kept more. Thank you for the recommendation, I will be ordering this from my library. I visited the Back to Backs in Birmingham this week, highly recommended for any lover of social history.

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  9. Thanks for all the book recommendations I'm going to add some of them to my wish list they sound really interesting.
    Good to see you enjoying some beach hut time, its an excellent investment.
    Our local car boot has only just started up again because of the wet weather the field was water logged and it's been so busy these first couple of weeks, I think people have been missing it!
    Lisa x

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  10. What a lovely idea Sue - I have so many tins of buttons - I shall now sort through them and look for a few which hold memories and then mount them on a card.

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  11. Sounds tremendous, I love social history and of course anything to do with textiles always fascinates me.
    Jean

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  12. Sounds a lovely book which I would enjoy so that is going on my list.

    I have nominated you for the Liebster Award if you'd like to pop over to my blog and see what it's about-x-

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  13. I'd pick that book on the strength of its title and cover alone added the strength of your review its one that I want! X

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  14. Some very interesting books recommended on here by the sounds of things!

    Sorry to hear about Col's breathlessness. I really sympathise, as I have days where it's a real problem for me too. It seems mine's due to my heart, so at least I know that. Having no clear explanation and having to wait for more tests is always a worry.
    Good luck to you both. Hope there are more days of energy on the way.

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