Tag: Virginia Postrel

Review – The Fabric of Civilization

Posted July 31, 2021 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia PostrelThe Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made The World, Virginia Postrel

This book looks at fabric not as an art but as a piece of technology, a scientific endeavour. Separate chapters discuss various themes: how the first thread was made, and the impact of selective breeding and experimentation in finding threads long enough to work with, for instance. I found the chapter on dyes particularly interesting, to be honest.

There was one thing that I found kind of weird, and that was some of the perspectives Postrel takes. Like she defends the low-paid status of women who spun thread because it would be cost-prohibitive to pay them more — cloth would be too expensive if people were paid more, so it can’t be done (instead of valuing people’s work at what it’s worth). And she’s very much automatically on the side of the middlemen who sold cloth for others, saying they were unfairly treated by people who didn’t know the worth of what they did? (Rather than what is more likely which is that it’s a bit of both.) It hits weirdly for me.

The chapter on new fabrics was pretty fascinating as well. I’d kind of like to see this on Great British Sewing Bee: here is this new fabric, here are its properties, make something out of it.

Anyway, overall pretty enjoyable and informative; I wish I was a bit more visual so I could understand exactly what’s going on in some of the descriptions, but that’s not the author’s fault — I can never picture anything, no matter how well you describe it.

Rating: 4/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted July 21, 2021 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

It’s Wednesday again already! How does that keep happening? And do I make the same joke too often? It’s too warm to think of a new one.

Cover of Black Water Sister by Zen ChoWhat are you currently reading?

A couple of things at once, as usual! I’m most of the way through Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, which is more autobiographical than I had been led to expect, and which just doesn’t quite work for me in its outlook. I’m also still working on Behave, by Robert Sapolsky; he seems to be taking an awful long time to say nothing new.

In fiction news, I finally started Zen Cho’s Black Water Sister, which I’m enjoying but not getting super into — partly because I haven’t had much brain for reading with how warm it is.

Cover of The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia PostrelWhat have you recently finished reading?

Virginia Postrel’s The Fabric of Civilization, which I enjoyed quite a lot. I think I’d have got more out of it if I had a visual imagination, though: when she described how to weave, for instance, it just meant nothing to me.

What will you be reading next?

Don’t know! I really need to get to Slippery Creatures (K.J. Charles), but who knows?

Alright, your turn!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted July 15, 2021 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Real quick, this week:

Cover of The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia PostrelWhat are you currently reading?

A few books at once, as usual! But I’m in a hurry, so I’ll stick to saying that I’ve just started The Fabric of Civilization, by Virginia Postrel, and I’m finding it fascinating. The first chapters go into specific elements of fabric (thread, dye, etc) describing their origins and development.

I’ve also started a reread of The Paradise War, by Stephen Lawhead. It seems almost impossible that the suck fairy hasn’t visited this book I loved as a teen, but it was so formative to my tastes that I’m giving it another go.

What have you recently finished reading?

The last thing I finished was Magic Strikes, which was a reread, and remains a heck of a lot of fun. I overestimated how much the arena scenes featured in the book, though!

What will you be reading next?

Should be Black Water Sister, by Zen Cho, since it’s coming up as a book club read. But, as always, I can’t promise I won’t be tempted by shinies, especially with my wife currently reading K.J. Charles’ Will Darling books, which I have not yet started…

So… what are you reading?

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