There's more to the past than what we read in the history books. We often forget about the objects, trinkets, dishes, appliances -- you know, stuff -- that populated the lives of earlier generations.
In "Let's Bring Back," author Lesley Blume provides an "encyclopedia" of all the not-so-ancient artifacts and gives readers a peak into what life was like before the Internet.
Read an excerpt of the book below and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
One night, in a bygone era, the Oscar de la Rentas gave a dinner party. And at that party, the following exchange is said to have taken place: Swifty Lazar, famed talent agent, turned to legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland and told her, "The problem with you, dollface, is that your whole world is nostalgic."
Vreeland's response: "Listen, Swifty, we all have our own ways of making a living, so shut up!"
And then she punched him right in the nose.
You might think that this was a rather extreme reaction, but if you ask me, it was perfectly justified. For I, like Diana Vreeland, am an incurable nostalgist, and life is difficult for nostalgists these days. "Status updates" have replaced gossiping over cocktails; Starbucks runs have supplanted high tea; synthetic Spanx have taken over where silk corsets left off.
So, you can see why nostalgists occasionally have to get violent when it comes to preserving our sepia-drenched outlooks: we're absolutely drowning in Newest, Latest, Faster, and Disposable.
Let's be realistic: no one is immune to the allure of novelty. I enjoy my iPod as much as the next person, and I do write for an online publication—several, in fact—which is an undeniably contemporary occupation. Even Mrs. Vreeland—as she was always called—admitted to the advantages of living in the age of penicillin.
Yet the benefits of today's über-connectedness come at a price. Modern living is increasingly about convenience, often leaving behind the pleasures of ornamentation and ceremony. As many of us are discovering, efficiency and quality of life are not necessarily synonymous. New products and diversions whiz through our lives at lightning speed; as we discard older objects and occupations to make room for them, we often don't fully realize what we've given up until it's too late (like the concept of privacy, for example—along with privacy's cousins, mystery and elegance).
An encyclopedia of nostalgia, Let's Bring Back celebrates hundreds of discarded or forgotten objects, pastimes, curiosities, recipes, words, architectural works, and personas—some visionary, some deliciously notorious—from bygone eras that should reintroduced today. The entries are by turns humorous, practical, frivolous, solemn, and whimsical; several have been included solely in the spirit of sheer absurdity. The material draws on a vast array of eras, from ancient times to the Deco-saturated 1920s to the elaborately coiffed 1960s. Not all of the objects mentioned here are extinct, per se, but play a reduced role in our lives after falling out of fashion's favor.