What Commodity or Micro-Histories Are You Reading?

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What Commodity or Micro-Histories Are You Reading?

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Jul. 7, 2011, 7:21am

I'm reading a part-memoir, part-commodity history that I got from LT Early Reviewers program: Indigo: in Search of the Color that Seduced the World by Catherine E. McKinley

Jul. 9, 2011, 8:11pm

Scratch the above message. Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World by Catherine E. McKinley is most definitely not a commodity history, although it seems to be marketed that way. It's more of a memoir, but not a very good one!

Aug. 8, 2012, 3:24pm

Wow....more than a year has gone by since I last posted. I'm reading a wonderful history of Parker Brothers called Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers from Tiddledy Winks to Trivial Pursuit Philip E. Orbanes. A nice easy read, which is bringing back memories of many games I enjoyed playing. And it's inspiring to read about George Parker, who started the company at 16 years of age.

Aug. 9, 2012, 11:32am

thanx. Mauve is on my wish list, and I've been hearing good things about The Box, too.

Sept. 7, 2012, 4:34pm

Not sure this qualifies, but I'm reading a study of the cultural context of versions of a fairy tale: The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood by Jack Zipes

Sept. 12, 2012, 6:54pm

I am most intrigued by Jonathan Blume, Paper Before Print, The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World (Yale, 2001). Heavy reading at times, but a fascinating topic.

Jan. 29, 2013, 12:00pm

I'm reading Spice: The History of a Temptation. It's about the quest for spices and the consequences to trade, exploration and exploitation.

Feb. 13, 2013, 1:21pm

varielle, I'm reading that, too. It's been on my TBR shelves for quite a while.

Feb. 13, 2013, 4:13pm

The Vacuum Cleaner A History from Early Reviewers, it is a nice change from what I had been reading.

Feb. 14, 2013, 6:44am

TL, tell us what you think of it! I'm always looking for interesting commodity histories.

Feb. 14, 2013, 8:00am

I will let you know when I write the review. Right now I can tell you that the writing is very readable and it is rich in photos and patent drawings that, in my opinion, really add to the books appeal.

Apr. 11, 2013, 11:36am

I can second the positive comment on Beans: A History mentioned elsewhere. Might take me a while to get through it (along with other books), but it's quite well written, not at all dry or bogged down.

Apr. 15, 2013, 8:52am

Does this count: The Oprah Phenomenon, edited by Jennifer Harris and Elwood Watson?

It's not a biography; it's an academic examination of Oprah's impact on America. The intro has piqued my interest...I'm about to start Chapter 1 on my lunch hour.

Jun. 7, 2013, 4:49pm

Finally took A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage off the TBR shelves and am very glad I did!

Dez. 20, 2013, 8:17am

I'm enjoying Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World by Simon Garfield

Dez. 20, 2013, 10:22am

I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying that book. Not too long ago, in the course of following a series of linked recommendations about something completely unrelated to this thread, I was rummaging through a member's library and found A Perfect Red which is the history of the politics,intrigue, and trade in cochineal - the small insect from Mexico which was the source of brilliant red dye.

The dried insect was a very high end commodity and Spain controlled the trade for most of its history. The demand for the insect was all but wiped out by Perkin and his dyes and the final chapter of Greenfield's book is a great segue into Mauve. It's not a bad read and once you have finished Mauve you might want to keep it in mind.

Dez. 20, 2013, 7:04pm

thanx, alco261, I will add it to my wish list!

Jan. 13, 2014, 9:57am

Beautiful Swimmers, Pulitzer Prize winner about the Chesapeake Bay blue crab fishery.

Feb. 20, 2014, 12:35pm

I've just finished Double Double: by Douglas Hunter. It tells the history of Tim Hortons as a company, with a bit of its place in Canadian culture and politics as well.

Mrz. 5, 2014, 11:33am

I've started Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky. So far it's pretty bleak. I haven't gotten past the depletion of fish stocks, the decline of the industry and the despair of the fisherman.

Mrz. 13, 2017, 1:35pm

If you count fashion as a commodity, I finished not long ago The Towering World of Jimmy Choo. It was a really disheartening look at the shallowness of the world of high end shoes.