I’m not one to collect things (except for concert ticket stubs), but I do have a fondness for vintage hobby books. As a child I liked to make things. Predictably, I made clothes for my Barbie dolls and jewelry for my friends and family, but I also made computer programs in BASIC on my Dad’s TI-99/4A. In the past few years I have come across old knitting books (I am an avid knitter), computer education books for kids, video game strategy guides, sewing manuals and so on. The books, of course, strike a nostalgic chord and take me back to rainy weekends spent in my bedroom dreaming up the most beautiful evening gown for Barbie with beads, fabric, yarn, ribbons and sequins strewn across the pink shag carpet (really, it was pink shag). The books also fill in a bit of history about DIY culture which has experienced a renaissance and surge of interest in the last 10 years. The 1980s – my teen years – did not celebrate crafting the way Martha Stewart and ReadyMade magazines do today. But making things was a significant, inter-generational activity for many. My Grandmother and Mother taught me how to knit and sew, and my Dad taught me how to program the TI-99/4A and Commodore64, as well as how to solder transistors and mix chemicals in my chemistry set. Crafting and ‘science’ experiments were the primary creative outlets of my youth, and continue to enrich my hobby life today.
I’ve scanned a few of the books I’ve discovered thus far, and will continue to add to the collection. Here is a sample.
game of thrones / hbo
philharmonics / agnes obel
bioshock: infinite / ps3
ready player one / ernest cline