Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

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Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Book Review #4

A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style

Frequent flyers will know that Eldest Duckling and I have been huge Tim Gunn fans for quite some time. We wish he could be an honorary uncle so we could have him at all the family gatherings. We have loved how he could say "It sucks" in such kindly hopeful ways and of course he was always so very well dressed. When Amazon told me he had written a book it didn't matter whether it was autobiography, fiction or other; I had clicked the preorder button as soon as my hand could reach the mouse.

If you have watched even one episode of Project Runway then you'll recall Tim Gunn's voice. His vowels have a distinctive quality not quite nasal and not quite imitable (much though Eldest and I have tried.) His prose is therefore easily read with that accent in mind from the very first page. His text is true to his tone...and then some:

Halfway down page 18 I looked up to ask HBF "Could you please do me a favor? Would you google 'semiology' for me?"

"Okay, thanks...that's what I thought." Hadn't read that word in about a decade and a half. How completely delightful! Not only that but the word was being applied to fashion thus elevating that particular f-word from superficial to serious. How completely intriguing.

It was a wonderful read. Here's what I know:

He wrote a how-to-dress book and wrote it very well. His ability to teach shines through every sentence. Anecdotes from his own life illustrate his learning objectives in a very supportive way. He gifts us with objectivity in the form of useful phrases early in the book and references not just The Odyssey for a beach read but Kierkegaard as a fashion tool--KIERkegaard, people!! Absolutely my kind of fellow.

The asterisked footnotes are a story unto themselves. Kate Moloney sounds like one too; she's on my list to google right after Leontyne Price.

That wit comes through the print: "I attended a meeting recently at which someone (gender makes no difference in this case) was wearing flannel drawstring pants printed with soccer balls. Even deadpan me couldn't conceal my incredulity! I can't remember what was worn on top. The pants alone did me in."

One can read the warmth in the lines and also the humility: "Oh shut up, Tim."

He finally PRINTED it: "Vanity sizing is a contrivance of the retail world." See, I knew I wasn't anywhere near a fucking twelve nevermind what Land's End says.

The content is largely traditional Fashion Gospel; what keeps it from being one long women's-magazine article is the level of the language and the depth of the background. This is no lightweight throwaway text. Although there's much information the tone stays friendly and encouraging throughout.

Like any good text it has appendices.

Go get a copy; you'll be glad you did.

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