Reading Granny’s books is a very different experience to reading the books that fill most of my shelves. Every sense is engaged in a different and novel way. The weight of the books is substantial, somehow their bookness is increased by the indestructible cardboard used in their hardback cover. The weight and coarseness of the paper chafes pleasantly against the thumb, one wouldn’t want to receive a paper cut from these books, designed and manufactured in a robust age where one could still expect to catch tuberculosis. The smell also has an indefinable musk to it, a mellow vintage aroma with undertones of asbestos and violin. As for the taste….
I have noticed however, recurring themes to these books, they all fall into four differnet categories, each of which is out of date and transgressing political corectness in a different way. The first I will explore here is the relationship between Men and Women. Whenever the two sexes appear together on the cover they are doing one of four things;
There’s a lot of this sort of thing going on on the cover of Granny’s books the classic neat young mans head descending gently onto the face of the timorous yet alluring female. How salacious.
2. Being Domestic.
As surely as night follows day, number 2 follows number 1. I’m not sure what this book is about, but it doesn’t look like the sort of thing that would interest modern audiences much. The thing that strikes me most about this cover is the amazingly small cups people used to drink tea out of in the old days.
3. Getting Chased
There’s a lot of this sort of thing in Granny’s books as well. A female, unescorted, being chased through the night by a nasty man. It’s nice that the man, even though he’s the sort of ruffian that chased frightened women through the night, has dressed nicely and worn a tie. His hair could do with a brush though.
4. The dawn of the New Age.
Even back in those days, it was becoming apparent that women could do things, and there are a few examples reflecting this among Granny’s books. Look at the admiration in the bow tie mans face as he witnesses the woman confidently operate the technical machinery. Next they’ll be driving cars.