Battle Dress: “The Girls of Slender Means”

I just read and loved this stiletto book, which I finally picked up after reading Amy Welborn's glowing recommendation. I'll just add a few notes to what she's already said. The Girls of Slender Means is set in a rooming house for single women in the summer of 1945: Its main narrative opens on V-E Day and closes on V-J Day, although it's framed by flash-forwards to a time when most of the girls--but perhaps not all--have gone on to better digs and brighter days.Notable features for me: This … [Read more...]

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From Muriel Spark, “The Girls of Slender Means”

This is a terrific opening: Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions. The streets of the cities were lined with buildings in bad repair or in no repair at all, bomb-sites piled with stony rubble, houses like giant teeth in which decay had been drilled out, leaving only the cavity. Some bomb-ripped buildings looked like the ruins of ancient castles until, at a closer view, the wallpapers of various quite normal rooms would be visible, room above room, … [Read more...]

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“Haunting Photos Show Monks Returning to Abbey–500 Years After It Was Destroyed by Henry VIII”

And it's St Aelred's abbey, too: A hauntingly beautiful set of photos, appearing on DailyMail, shows two Cistercian monks, Father Joseph and Brother Bernard, visting the ruins of a former Cistercian Abbey in England that had been destroyed during Henry VIII’s reign. more … [Read more...]

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The Relics of Richard III: An older but provocative post on medieval bones and modern worship

by Eleanor Parker aka A Clerk of Oxford. The rest of this post is quite peaceable and non-polemical but I fastened my fangs on the very David Foster Wallace/"everybody worships" bit: There's no doubt that many people today are fascinated by the relics of kings, even as they look down on the medieval age for caring about the relics of saints. We're quite accustomed to the idea of a royal shrine as a place of historical pilgrimage - or else Westminster Abbey wouldn't be able to charge such steep … [Read more...]

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Antisocial Housing: I review “High-Rise”

at AmCon: The xkcd cartoon “Logic Boat” shows the familiar problem of the man who has to carry a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage across a river. The problem: “The boat only holds two, and you can’t leave the goat with the cabbage or the wolf with the goat.”There’s a logic-puzzle solution here. There’s also the xkcd solution: “Leave the wolf. Why do you have a wolf?”High-Rise is a dystopian science-fiction flick about an experimental skyscraper in an alternate-history ’70s Britain. Eccentric … [Read more...]

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“Book Recommendation: Poor Relief in England 1350 – 1600”: The Dorothy Option

relevance! ...McIntosh also takes care to outline the change in attitude toward the poor as she finds it in legal verbiage. Rather than charity as a meritorious act, the new laws concerning the poor become much more concerned with control of aid recipients, placing much more emphasis on behavioral conditions the poor must meet, and implying that poverty was less a result of misfortune and more a moral short-coming on the part of the needy, an attitude McIntosh connects with the Puritan … [Read more...]

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“Farewell, Christmas fair and free!”: A Candlemas Carol

beautiful: February 2 is Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification, so here's a medieval Candlemas carol.Revertere, revertere, The queen of bliss and of beauty.Behold what life that we run in, Frail to fall and ever like to sin Through our enemy's enticing; Therefore we sing and cry to thee: Revertere, revertere, The queen of bliss and of beauty. more! and why not follow Eleanor Parker on Twitter? … [Read more...]

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