Sepia sadness and strength…

Day 30!!!!

Hi all!

What a goody gumdrop I have for you today!!! I’m always amazed at how I pick these titles through a lottery system and they are drop dead interesting 97.789% of the time!  What’s the moral? Books mostly rock.

Confession time. I ran today’s lottery twice.  The first book had a bare naked lady’s hiney on the front cover so  I chose another.  Didn’t want to scandalize my prudent little blog. But if it’s full frontal you want, head here.  She’s whip smart with a small side order of bawdy. Anyway.  On with the show!

Bibliographic information:

Hidden witness : African-American images from the birth of photography to the Civil War

Wilson, Jackie Napolean

St. Martin’s Press, 1999

How powerful is that picture?!

Summary (Booklist Review):

Photographs can provide a documentary glimpse at history. Wilson is a collector of early photographs of African and African American slaves and free black people in the U.S. In partnership with the J. Paul Getty Museum, Wilson afforded such a historical view into the lives of black Americans first in an exhibition, which took place in 1995, and now with this book. Most of the photographs–daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes–are part of his collection.

My Reaction:

The photos in this book are at once beautiful and haunting.  They stir up an interesting mix of feelings—pride in the endurance and resilience of these people, rage that they were not treated as the valuable members of society that they obviously were.   I’m mean if we’re honest with ourselves, these people were that societies MVP’s!  And yet they were treated as non-entities…

The subjects portrayed are African-American individuals;  ‘mammies’, field hands, ‘freed negroes’, etc.  One daguerreotype shows a ‘mammy’ holding a white child who is clearly the true subject of the photo and the woman’s face is trained away from the camera as “her face is not essential to the portrait” (pg. 6).  She is but a frame, a tool to hold the child in position for the picture…

Picture after picture, the subject’s eyes reflect an anguish for their station in life but also a pride…  It’s hard to explain.  Talking about this collection of powerful, all-too-real photographs is truly like dancing about architecture. Just do yourself a favor and get your hands on this book.

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Fancy banisters and the staircases who stand by them

Day 25

Hi friends! For those of you planning to build a stairway—to heaven, your top cabinets (Hey! Me and my husband are both 5’3. We need such a staircase) or where ever suits your fancy, you’re in luck! Today’s book has you covered.

Bibliographic info:

Constructing staircases, balustrades & landings
Spence, William Perkins

New York : Sterling Publishing, 2000

How cool is the word 'balustrade'? Say it with me, balustraaaade. You know you love it.

Summary: 

Ten chapters cover all the essentials, including the subjects of code requirements, stairwell framing, notched and housed stringers, L-shaped, and U-shaped and curved stair construction…many color photos and drawings to explain and expand on the text. It offers great value for the price.”

My reaction:

This book has an entire chapter on figuring the best location for building your staircase.  As well it should.  The staircase shouldn’t be an afterthought.  It’s an important piece of architecture and some brainpower should be devoted to its construction.  What should be the ‘rise over run’  for a house this size? Should there be a landing? Curvature?  Can a simple, 5’3 couple from Tuskegee, Alabama/Savannah, Georgia get the box spring to their mattress up these stairs without sawing it in half?

The geniuses who built my house obviously did not read this book or ask themselves any of the above questions.

As such, I’m waiting for the price to drop on these babies.

Besos my faithful few! 😀