Show and Tell

Today Femme Banale shares a few selections from her modest vintage book collection.  Space is scarce, and what has earned these books a place of honor on her bookshelf is their timeless human stories. These classics were written in the early part of the last century, but  they present life’s enduring drama of longing and conflict and triumph and defeat and triumph again (sometimes).

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

This is an “unexpurgated” edition, which contains the book’s original love scenes once deemed pornographic. Critics describe Lawrence’s social commentary and portrayal of England’s idle and ineffectual aristocracy. Femme Banale’s takeaway is this: women prefer men with skillz.


George F. Babbitt is a “manly man” of the 1920s who “made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the calling of selling houses for more than people could afford to pay.” Babbitt is a story of all the folly in social climbing and conformity.

Students of American English usage may be amused to find these words in 1920s speech: chump, buttinsky, and shindig.  Let’s not forget the book’s own contribution to the American dictionary—babbitt, of course!

Obscure Destinies

Obscure Destinies contains three short stories of tender humanity.  In “Neighbor Rosicky,” we see how the immigrant experience has formed the warp of our country’s fabric. “Two Friends” is a story of friendships gained and lost; the truth is things change. The best here is “Old Mrs. Harris”—let’s say you’re a young girl who longs to go away to college but whose family doesn’t have the money…

What treasures are on your shelves?  Show and tell in the comment section of this post.

2 Replies to “Show and Tell”

  1. I love treasures! Just found the Willa Cather on Kindle – look forward to reading it. My shelf treasure is “Things Invisible to See” by Nancy Willard. God, death, baseball and angels… set in WW2 Ann Arbor.

  2. Anne, thanks for your comment. I’m intrigued by “Things Invisible to See” and will add it to my summer reading–something old and new.

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