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Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  611 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
The Huffington Post's "Let's Bring Back..." columnist, Lesley M. M. Blume, invites you to consider whatever happened to cuckoo clocks? Or bed curtains? Why do we have so many "friends" but have done away with the much more useful word "acquaintance"? All of these things, plus hot toddies, riddles, proverbs, corsets, calling cards, and many more, are due for a revival. Thro ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 29th 2010 by Chronicle Books
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Community Reviews

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Feb 25, 2015 Marissa rated it really liked it
Considering that I am known among my friends for drinking GIMLETS, writing with a FOUNTAIN PEN, and carrying a PARASOL on sunny summer days, it's not surprising that I enjoyed Lesley M. M. Blume's Let's Bring Back. Based on her popular Huffington Post column, it's an eclectic compendium of items, foods, phrases, and even qualities (ELEGANCE) that she'd like to see more of in the modern world.

Many of Blume's Let's Bring Back choices would be both easy and fun to revive (PENNY LOAFERS, ROCKING CHA
Nov 27, 2010 Camille rated it really liked it
This delightful encyclopedia is a wonderful collection of things from bygone times which the author, Lesley Blume believes we should bring back.

The entries range from Ambrosia to Mae West to Bing Crosby to Corsets to Doorbell Pulls to Opera Capes and beyond.

As a quick disclaimer, there is some adult language included in the book. It's few and far between, but included nonetheless, so this book is not for children.

While I must admit I am too young to have grown up with most everything in this boo
Oct 18, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Michael
Shelves: domesticity
I should have written this review much closer to finishing Let’s Bring Back – sometime in July – as I would have been able to share more delightful specifics. The book is a celebration of nostalgia, of the manners and customs of a better time.

One aspect of the book that I loved was the broad definition of ‘a better time’. In skimming the book together, Mom and I both found aspects of our childhoods – hers from the 50s, mine from the 80s. My grandma, born in 1918, could have done the same. There
Sep 13, 2013 Tarissa rated it it was ok
A refreshing volume that provides the reader with an abundance of useful, fun, and witty wisdom from times gone by. I giggled so many times... found many new (old) favorite things... and was overall fascinated by Lesley M.M. Blume's knowledge of history.

The cons: The only reason I can't give this book 5 stars (no matter how much I wish I could!), is because of the author's lack of discretion. Foul language and inappropriate topics did ruin the book for me, and made it impossible to share with my
Rose Ann
Jan 23, 2014 Rose Ann rated it it was amazing
I loved this! I need to pick it up in Hardcover. It is one of those books I will go back to and enjoy over and over.
If you are nostalgic, love history, and things gone by, then you will love this book.
I had so much fun looking up many terms, buildings, people, etc.
And quite a few things here that gave me a jolt of memories from my childhood. (Paper dolls, movie projectors, L'Eggs pantyhose eggs, etc).
I picked this up from Barnes and Noble when it was a Nook deal. I want a hard copy for my shelf!
Leanne O
Jul 24, 2011 Leanne O rated it it was amazing
I picked this up totally judging it by the cover (the thing you aren't supposed to do) but was pleasantly surprised anyway. It's set up in a dictionary style sort of way with different descriptions of items/ideas/people/places that should be "brought back" into modern times. I'm a sucker for nostalgia/vintage/retro memorabilia and this book honors all of that. Let's bring back double features, playing cards, courtship, vanity tables, and picnics in graveyards!

This book gives a brief history on o
Sep 24, 2016 Krystle rated it liked it
Shelves: nf_misc, txt_original
Beautiful to look through, and at times charming with its nostalgia.

Although that nostalgia does rely on Blume currently living in a world where Americans supposedly shower twice per day and change homes every three-to-five years, among other things.

As a result, at times annoying with its get-off-my-lawn contempt for the *scoff* modern age.

And for a collection which decries electronic book readers and Starbucks runs, an entry for the NES (under NINTENDO) seems grossly out of place.

Joni Patterson
Jul 20, 2015 Joni Patterson rated it it was amazing
Chosen as my "tea-time reading material", I worked through this book front to back and found entertainment on every page. There were some listings that I could view nostalgically (such as music boxes, malteds, bookplates, or punch bowls) but mostly this encyclopedia gave me the joy of cluing me in on things of whimsy that I hadn't even thought of or known before. And now that I have discovered them, I give a hearty echoing vote of "Yes, let's bring (them) back!" Also, Blume's writing alone is ...more
Like the other Let's Bring Back book I've read and reviewed here, this is fun and informative. I got both to use as references in writing fiction. However, this is a great book to sit and browse through. One interesting note: this book is apparently in fairly high demand - I ordered it online, only to get an email from the bookstore apologizing that they'd sold their last copy and refunding my money. Six times!

Recommended, if you're the kind of reader who finds things like those turn-of-the-20th
Excellent walk down "Nostalgia Lane", but quite a lot of these once popular or commonplace items should fall back into fashion. And more than a few of them (terms and words in particular) I myself use. My favorite is the word "wipersnapper". It is so much fun to say and usually fits the obnoxious child / young adult / person I am forced to work with or associate with, to a tea.

"Old" doesn't mean useless! "New" doesn't mean better!

But this "new" book, full of "old" things is a fun read.
Jul 13, 2011 Brian rated it liked it
This is a fun quick book. It is about stuff that is no longer considered modern or is in danger of not being considered modern. It is arranged alphabetically and contains people, places, words, and objects. There were a huge amount of things I had never heard of, and a few I didn't care about, but overall, I enjoyed this book.
Jan 14, 2013 MW rated it it was amazing
Simply put: I loved this book. I was also delighted to find out that most people fancied that these ideas and social norms of yesteryear make a come back and for the sake of today's society, I hope they do! Thank you, Ms. Blume for making us realize that we do have the ability to exude civility even in modern times.
Mar 11, 2016 Relyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Relyn by: I adore this author.
Oh, I love this author. Not just her skills with the pen. Not just her writing. I love her. At least, I love her public persona. Click here and watch this really cool video for the book. It's wonderful.

I vote Lesley M.M. Blume as the living author I'd most like to meet. OK, she ties with Sherman Alexie.
Mandy McElfresh
Oct 12, 2016 Mandy McElfresh rated it liked it
More like 2.5 stars. I rounded up because there were a handful of fun, interesting nuggets in here. I learned a good bit about people, places and old habits, which was enjoyable. I also can support a lot of the etiquette and behaviors the author wants to bring back, like lower phone voices and more outside time.

However, this book has an overall air of haughtiness, elitism and pretentiousness. It's not good enough that people still use umbrellas -- they're not the right kind, dammit. And apparent
Aug 14, 2014 Ashley rated it liked it
This is a book with no plot. And I don’t mean that in an insulting way – it literally has no plot because it’s not that kind of book. I found it in this great store in downtown Seattle that is filled with lotions, soaps, snacks, classic children’s toys and gift books. It’s the kind of store that groups items not by type but by packaging color. I could spend hours in there; on our first trip there I left with three books (see my CBR6 review #31), including this one.

It’s basically a book of nostal
Nov 20, 2012 Marcus rated it it was amazing
Quite good. It seems to be mostly for women, but it has good benefits for men also. Such as telling the ladies that they look prettier in a nice dress than dungarees! There is quite a bit of useful information on artful living from this book. It is a small encylopedia so there is not much information about each subject but it is still thought provoking! Ms. Blume also encourages ladies to have a more womanly figure. I forget who she mentioned(though I prefer ladies a bit thicker than that. They ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Raquel rated it it was amazing
OMFG, this book makes me uber-nostalgic for times I never lived through, experiences I never had, people I never knew, and objects I've never seen. It's a beautiful-looking book and provides a fascinating glimpse into past times, so it serves as a mini historical tour de force too. The overall premise of the book is what really captivated me and made me think though: times in the past weren't simpler than they are now, but they were certainly less hurried and less cluttered. People definitely ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Ana rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The book is organized alphabetically like an encyclopedia of the past. It was a fun read for those five or ten minutes I have had lately as I could read five or six entries at a sitting.

If you're not from the NYC area, the predominance of Big Apple-centric listings may leave you a little bored. Yes, NYC was probably a wonderful place to have lived during this or that heyday but I think there are lots of universal "back in the day" items that could have been listed. At least the book could have i
Lisa Vegan
Looking at the entries one by one, some are very interesting. Reading this book cover to cover is a chore. It’s weird too because I’m not sure of the best readership for this book. Some of the items and activities actually still exist. (Girl Scout cookies, heavy weight boxing, etc.) Some I remember from childhood (white gloves, middies, etc.) (that was kind of fun) and some are older than that, though many can be found today in some little part of the world. (gaslit streetlamps, and many others) ...more
Amanda Avery
Jun 27, 2014 Amanda Avery rated it really liked it
Hear, hear. While somewhat myopic in terms of its Victorian Europe and turn-of-the-century New York City focus, I enjoyed her selection and witty descriptions of forgotten things. We are indeed much poorer for having (prematurely) regulated many of these to history's trashbin. While Blume's inclusions are highly personal in taste, the collection as a whole functions as an imaginative springboard inviting the reader to indulge in their own encyclopedia of forgotten nostalgia. What would you ...more
Dec 08, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
From my book review blog Rundpinne.....
Let’s Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By by Lesley M.M. Blume is a delightful, witty, intriguing and educational book written from A-Z about topics ranging from Ambrosia (with recipe), to Midnight Birthday Parties, from the Gilded Age, and the Stork Club (which was “the” speakeasy in New York) and many other topics long since forgotten. Blume covers a very wide
I did enjoy this book for the most part. I loved reading and learning about some more obscure subjects and will use the book as a springboard to research and learn more about many of the subjects within.

The parts l did not love were that there were a lot of blantantly wrong facts which let me to doubt the veracity of the rest of the book. Two the most glaring:

That the children’s song “Ring around the Rosey” is about the plague. This has been disputed and disproved and it irks me she is perpetua
Let's Bring Back... is great for some light reading or a quick reference. As the title suggests, the topics cover a wide range, so everyone should find something interesting. I recommend keeping a notebook handy to jot down any tidbit you'd like to research further; it's been fun delving into deeper history of the subjects handled in this book.

The only drawback is the occasional language (mild and strong) and suggestive/inappropriate content. This is mostly due to direct quotes and/or mini biog
Aug 03, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves things of the past
Recommended to Sara by: Country Living magazine
This book is awesome! A wonderful collection of thing of our past that are odd, simple, wholesome, delightful, greatly missed and dismissed, funny and splendid. I enjoyed reading it in little bits, like petit fours, just a nibble here and there. It's better to savor it that way.

Some inspiring things from this book that I will either make or have made, tried or will try I have tried, or will try are;

Milk toast pg 145

Homemade Mayonnaise pg 142

Indian Pudding pg 117

Tutti Frutti Ice Cream pg 22
Jun 12, 2011 Dianna rated it liked it
A simple but fun premise: let's talk about all the things from days gone past that we should bring back! It sounds like fun for someone like me who loves all things old-fashioned (I often imagine that it would be fun to live in a different time).

There are lots of fun and fascinating things listed, from garden parties to trousseaux, as well as plenty of things and people I have never heard of.

My only problem is that the author isn't really my kindred spirit. She loves naughtiness and I prefer s
Dec 23, 2010 Heidi rated it really liked it
So much fun! This is a perfect "bathroom book" - if you read in there like I do. (too much information?) The author writes a column for a newspaper extolling the wonders of some things that have passed out of our culture. It's a random list of things she would like to see come back - from barbershop shaves (relaxing and dangerous at the same time), to femme fatales (because she's tired of the vapid girl-next-door stars of today), to pink suits for men (I totally have to disagree on this one). I ...more
Jul 16, 2013 Katey rated it really liked it
A mostly charming little book. While I'm wary of nostalgia and think it should always be tempered by a good dose of realism, I found myself agreeing with a lot of the author's opinionated trivia. But besides certain culinary concepts, the author's ignorance and/or downright idiocy regarding certain things that should not be brought back (or, in some cases, still need to go away) such as exotic "pets," songbird pies, travelling circuses, and wet nurses (huh?) were rather off putting. Some seemed ...more
This was charming, gratuitous, occasionally naughty, and clever. I am debating cultivating an idea or two from it for the new year... maybe adopting Florida water on occasion, or evening strolls... One slight embarrassment for me was i had no idea many of the phrases bandied about in my house are on vocabulary extinction listings. We've always said 'bees knees' 'gung ho' and 'hi-jinks', not every day but they are regularly used descriptive phrases in my family. Might be a Midwestern thing. ...more
Mary Lou
Aug 03, 2016 Mary Lou rated it liked it
It became obvious as I read through Blume's list of things she'd like to bring back that she and I have a different world view. Despite that, if I were to make my own "bring back" list, we'd probably have a number of shared items, e.g. book plates; wax lips; hedge mazes; phone numbers that include exchange names; and morning weddings, to name a few. For my taste, though, Blume included too many people, places, and things that held no interest for me, but will appeal more to her trendy circle of ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Angel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: trivia buffs
A nice little entertaining book of miscellaneous things. From table manners to the concept of privacy, from all sorts of social mores to dresses to events, there is a little bit of everything here for anyone. If you are into nostalgia and longing for a more genteel, decent past, this is certainly the book for you. I wish it would have had a few more pictures or photos to help visualize a few things better. Aside from that, very entertaining. Definitely a book to read at your leisure. And you may ...more
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Lesley M. M. Blume is an author, columnist and journalist. She did her undergraduate work at WIlliams College and Oxford University, and took her graduate degree in history from Cambridge University.
She now regularly contributes to Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal and Departures magazine.
More about Lesley M.M. Blume...

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