Reviews by Erin

The Knickerbocker

by Various Authors

Surprisingly readable gentlemen's magazine from 1844. Articles include a great humor piece about the new wave of so-called country squires and a long story about a practical joke-playing jerk. Nice to know that we aren't the only generation getting punked. Each piece in the magazine is followed by a generally overblown poem. There is an editorial on the rights of women supposedly written by "a lady who, with a few others of her gentle sex, sat out the reading of the lecture upon the 'Rights of Women' by Mr. John Neal, at the Broadway Tabernacle last winter, and which was so heartily laughed at by the press and the town for a day or two after."

There are also several book reviews and two very interesting Letters To The Editor continuing a discussion of an article, "Mind and Instinct", from two previous issues about animal intelligence and the proposal by the writer that one should "abstain entirely from animal food". Modern readers will be surprised, I think, at what side the writers are overwhelmingly on when it comes to the question of whether animals are intelligent or not.

The only issues with this particular ebook is that it's difficult to tell where pieces begin and end, and almost no piece has a department heading above it to tell you whether it's a fictional story or a true article. Given the magazine's casual, gossipy tone, I would take the entire contents with a grain of salt.

I've quite enjoyed reading this and it's often surprised me to read what people were thinking about and dealing with in everyday life in 1844. Very illuminating. The language is fairly easy although some writers use what to modern ears will seem like twisted and tortured sentence structure. Very much worth a download!

Reviewed on 2014.02.13

How Department Stores Are Carried On

by W.B. Phillips

This book starts as a peek behind the scenes of the large department stores of the time, but quickly turns into a sort of how-to guide to running your own shopping palace. The book covers store functions and departments, mail order processing and catalog design, and even explains the layout of the stables where the stores in-town delivery horses and wagons are kept. The section on how to organize customer names and addresses on a series of lined index cards is especially enlightening to anyone who can't remember life before computers. Most of the advice is fundamental enough that any modern retailer will find something to take away. The descriptions of early store fixtures and functions will make anyone into steampunk swoon. The language is slightly flowery, but still very readable. All in all, an entertaining and fascinating book.

Reviewed on 2014.01.31

Underneath

by Kealan Patrick Burke

very good story. but it suffers from being a short story. I wish it was a bit longer, and a bit more in-depth about the deadly secret. Otherwise, amazing.

Reviewed on 2010.12.26

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