Members recommend – April 2010

A Short Residence in Sweden & Memoirs of the Author of The Rights of Woman A SHORT RESIDENCE IN SWEDEN & MEMOIRS OF THE AUTHOR OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN

Mary Wollstonecraft & William Godwin
Penguin £ 11.99 list, or £8.39 on Amazon

This wonderfully schizophrenic book (introduced and edited by Richard Holmes) features two deeply connected but very different works. A Short Residence in Sweden contains 25 letters Mary Wollstonecraft wrote to her ex-lover Gilbert Imlay evoking a trailblazing journey around Scandinavia in the 1790s. She had just spent two years in Paris during the worst excesses of the French Revolution and needed a break. Ostensibly her trip was a kind of Grand Tour, but beneath the vivid accounts of life in Norway, Sweden and Demark lay an ulterior motive. She was on a mission to rescue a failed – and illegal – business venture on behalf of Imlay, whose exploitation of her passion for him long after they had separated drove her to attempted suicide. William Godwin was Mary’s husband, and his devotional and candid portrait in Memoirs of the Author of ‘The Rights of Woman’ reveals what a radical but vulnerable person she was, and underscores her unshakeable resolve to fight for the rights of women in an age when it was heresy to challenge the patriarchy. William’s account of Mary’s lingering death after the birth of her daughter – Mary Shelley – makes heartbreaking reading. Tom Lynham

Buy from Amazon: A Short Residence in Sweden & Memoirs of the Author of The Rights of Woman

Creative Mischief CREATIVE MISCHIEF

Dave Trott
LOAF Marketing, £7.99 list, or £7.19 on Amazon

In which the opinionated one holds forth on advertising, creativity and whatever else takes his fancy. Similar in tone and purpose the Paul Arden books, only not quite as good. That’s no great criticism though, and there are some real pearls to be found here if you’re prepared to look. Certainly worth a flick through. Roger Horberry

Buy from Amazon: ‘Creative Mischief’

Fire & Knives FIRE & KNIVES

£9.50 per issue, or £28 for a year’s subscription

This new food quarterly is full of visual treats and shows some deft editorial design touches, not least typography that invites you to read and stay reading, together with a nice line in archive illustrations. But it’s the writing that makes this a rather delicious experience. F&K manages to find a niche in a subject area already provided with oodles of coverage in the Sunday glossies and lifestyle mags, not to mention all those foody blogs. In issue two it carries an evocative and entertaining remembrance of the Gasworks restaurant in Fulham, a place offering such a bizarre mixture of service and sleaze that two visits there in the eighties remain seared in my memory. There are also carefully prepared pieces on figurative food (whither the mould?), food photography, Nordic cookbooks and the enigma that is Fernet Branca (it’s a drink, not a daytime TV presenter). The piece that really drew me in was Xanthe Clay’s appreciation of restaurateur George Perry-Smith and his most notable place, The Hole in the Wall. Despite a rather haphazard approach, George brought saporous international cooking to cabbagey 50s England. Clay brings to life the man, while the excellent reproductions of his menus will have you salivating. Sign up here. Tim Rich

Stack STACK

The magazine is a dying medium, right? Think again… in fact, there’s recently been a real renaissance in smaller, self-published titles, which kick back against the mediocrity of the mainstream in their writing and design. The only trouble is, how do you find out about these cultish publications, and where do you get hold of them? Enter Stack, a great service which scours the world for interesting new titles and sends them straight to your door. There’s an element of lucky dip, but that’s part of the joy of it. To date I’ve sampled Fire & Knives (a beautifully produced magazine which explores the pleasures of food), Manzine (a hilarious lo-fi mag which debunks the stereotypical men’s magazine), and ’Sup (an achingly cool, culture/fashion mag). They have nothing in common apart from their flair and originality – which can’t be a bad thing. You can subscribe to Stack here. Jim Davies

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