Clothes in Books: 3rd Birthday


Sparkling Cyanide


It’s three years this week since I started the blog.  Major moments since the last birthday include:

1) continuing to blog regularly for Guardian books – click on the tab above to see the list of articles. Topics this year included wedding dresses, dinner parties, shoes, nuns and bad character names.

2) CiB favourite Samantha Ellis not only wrote one of the best books of 2014 - How to be a Heroine – but also said that CiB combined ‘impeccable research & epic frivolity'. She was specifically talking about the stockings and nylons piece for the Guardian, but I’d like to think it might be the Clothes in Books motto.

3) The usual high quality April Fool entry – this time featuring a favourite author and a particularly fine picture. And there was a new feature of lists, from best Agatha Christies to Books like I Capture the Castle. There was Poison Pen week, there were guest bloggers, there were obituary entries.


But as ever the main highlights have been the pictures, so I thought I’d revisit some of the best ones of the year.


last one Violet letters
Over the year I looked at a lot of books by and about Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis. This amazing picture of the young Violet,used for this entry from her letters, where she remembers her youth,  became the most viewed, RT-ed and shared picture in the history of the blog, beating out even the famous corset shop image, the previous winner. More than 4000 people looked at it over the course of a couple of days.


Newton Letter IWM

This picture from the Imperial War Museum is my favourite of all the pictures I have used on the blog. I used it to illustrate John Banville’s The Newton Letter: it’s a picture of a Land Girl. The IWM generously allows blogs to reproduce images under a CC licence, but I like this one so much that I paid for a print to be made, and it now hangs on  my wall.

Sometimes I get all pleased with myself because I think the picture is an exceptionally good match for the book. The picture at the top of this entry is for Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide – I’d been looking for the right image for the whole life of the blog. The one below miraculously works for Christie’s Mystery of the Blue Train AND Nancy Mitford’s Pursuit of Lovesee entry here.


Mystery of Blue Train 2


And I was delighted with this for Ned Beauman’s Teleportation Accident:



Teleportation Accident



Here we illustrate exactly & gruesomely the manner of death in PD James’s Shroud for a Nightingale:



Shroud for a Nightingale


I loved these folk-dancing girls, IWM again, ideal for Josephine Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes:


Miss Pym



And I found this picture in the early blog days, and finally found exactly the right book for it: Murder a la Mode by Patricia Moyes:



Murder a la Mode

---in the notes on the entry there’s a really splendid combination of trainspotting and fashion.


Clothes in Books has – of course – a favourite couture milliner (doesn’t everyone?) and it is Lilly Dache. This picture of Lilly working is considered to be a dead ringer for CiB hard at work choosing images for the blog, while wearing a jaunty hat indoors:


Secret Hangman


Though on good days, after a particularly good blogging session, or a successful search for the right photo, the CiB office can look more like this:

Journey by Moonlight 1


As ever, I want to thank two groups of people: the fellow-bloggers, readers and commentators who make this such fun – you know who you are. You recommend books to me, and even send them to me, you read my posts, share them, chat to me and have become good friends.

And also the countless individuals and organizations who so generously share their photos on the web – every single day I find something astonishing, beautiful or affecting, and I hope, wherever you are, you feel I might have done justice to your pictures, and shared them to a wider audience in a respectful spirit.

Comments

  1. Happy blog birthday Moira and may there be many more. This weekend I'm off to an exhibition which has come to our local art gallery FASHION ICONS: MASTERPIECES FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS, PARIS. As I'm not really into fashion myself I wouldn't normally have bothered but reading your blog has made me change the way I think about it so I jumped at the chance (and even paid for a ticket).

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    1. Thank you Bernadette, and really jealous of that exhibition....

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  2. Beautiful pictures indeed - and thank you for all your wonderfully entertaining and informative blogging! Three years is quite an achievement!

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Marina Sofia.

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  3. Happy Blog-O-Versary! And to many more years of Clothes in Books, in all its finery.

    I've enjoyed reading this blog and the comments, and am so glad I came upon it, I think from reading another wonderful blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. I like the book reviews, commentary, photos and paintings -- and the discussion.

    And now I'm watching crime fiction dvd's looking at the fashion.

    Now I see that there are archived posts which I must read and then copy down more titles to find.

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    1. Thanks Kathy - I still think you should have your own blog, you read and watch so much, you would have plenty to say....

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  4. Happy blog birthday, Moira!! And many, many more. I love coming here, and with every single visit, I learn something. Yours is one of my must-stop-and-read blogs.

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    1. Thank you so much Margot, and I know I don't need to tell you that you are one of the important blog friends mentioned above....

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  5. Happy 3rd Birthday! I can't now remember how I found your blog last year, but am so pleased that I did; clothes and books are two of my very favourite things, and you write about both so well. And you like all the right books!

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    1. Thank you! What a lovely thing to hear....

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  6. Moira, a very Happy Blog Birthday to you! Although I'm a relatively new reader of your blog, I feel like I have been coming here for years. Thanks to your eclectic posts about clothes in books I now pay attention to details in the novels I read. I wish you many happy years of blogging. And I like the new look, too, especially the background image of new books you received.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Prashant, and I have very much enjoyed getting to know you too. And well observed on the background photo...

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  7. Congratulations, Moira! Clothes in Books is a regular feature of my day now. You add a little sunshine to these gloomy winter days.

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    1. Such a nice thing to say Chrissie, thanks so much. So glad we met online....

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  8. Happy Birthday! I can't remember how I came across you either, but I think it was something to do with Lucile. (Certainly my first comment was...)

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    1. It's always a pleasure to hear from you Daniel - even if you have increased my reading pile a lot lately!

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  9. Congratulations! And Happy New Year from Carole's Chatter (hope it's not too late in January to say that!)

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Carole, nice to hear from you.

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  10. Happy 3rd - I can't recall how we got connected initially, but I'm really glad we have....must admit though I was expecting cake today, but hey nevermind...

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    1. Thanks Col, and ditto. I prepared a HARD-BOILED egg for you, I thought cake would be too cozy.

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  11. Moira: Happy Third! You enrich my life every day.

    On today's post I liked the photo of the young woman holding the chicken. Having grown up on a farm, albeit without chickens, It simply reminded me of the women neighbour women who raised chickens. Then my, perhaps too practical side, reacted that she was dressed overly well to be holding a chicken. I hope my thoughts do not diminish your enjoyment of the photo.

    Please tell me you do wear a lovely stylish hat, indoors and/or outdoors. Last Friday Sharon and I were in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario where there is one of the few hat stores in Canada. I encouraged Sharon to buy a stylish bright red hat with a black band that I call her Downton Abbey (think Lady Mary) hat. We went to a beautiful restaurant at a winery where it was a quiet evening and we eat wonderful food and drank fine wine before a fireplace. Sharon wore her new hat during the evening and I thought she looked quite fetching.


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    1. Oh that sounds lovely - I'm glad you and Sharon are holding onto your hats, the wearing of them should definitely be encouraged. I do like to wear them when I can....

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    2. ... and by the way Bill, there's nothing I enjoy more than when you bring your practical, weather-aware, Canadian eye to bear on some doughty heroine's impractical flimsy choice of outfit....

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  12. As we say in Northolt, buon anniversary! Hope there are many more chum.

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    1. Thank you Sergio, and here's to much more blogging from all of us...

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  13. Happy 3rd Birthday Moira. It is always a pleasure to read your blog.
    Norman

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    1. thanks Norman, and same applies with yours....

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  14. Seeing your third anniversary post always reminds me mine is coming soon. Otherwise I would forget, I think. I do love your new Thursday Lists. I look forward to many more birthday posts from you. And all the wonderful posts in between.

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    1. Thanks so much Tracy, and look forward to celebrating yours!

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