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With so many customs and rituals to choose from, it would be difficult to decide which to cover and there will always be ones people would want to know (like the variations of a cakewalk) or feel shouldn't have been included. This reviewer felt the selections covered a wide variety of topics and were as grounded as possible in historical basics. It was refreshing to have the male author discussing the male dominance and female subservience effects of many customs--even if frustrating.
I received this book, along with quite a few others , many of which I still have to read, when some friends of mine went on a discount book-shopping effort. Their thought, at least as far as I can interpret it, is that this book was purchased to provide for research material on American customs, to see if it would bolster our shared perspective on the heathen nature of many customs. If this was their thought, it was an accurate one, as the author is generally candid about admitting what he ca...
I have to say, I loved this book. I learned so many interesting tidbits!Though it isn’t exactly new, Curious Customs is a valuable trend spotting (and general knowledge) resource because it allows individuals to become more familiar with the historical context behind various cultural artifacts and practices. Each ‘custom’ entry is relatively brief, and the research behind them is not extensive, but the subjects offer a good jumping off point for additional research and encourage the reader to co...
This is a "cultural studies lite" kind of read. I cruised through it this morning over my coffee. It's interesting to think about the orgins of customs, but this guy is a bit iffy at times...drifting into a less-than-academic tone especially when discussing certain issues. I imagine that he's attempting to be interesting/entertaining, but it lacks something. Plus, this book is from 1987, which makes some of the discussion/examples very funny to me (example: the American quest for the Holy Grail
Got this from a friend who was moving. It was interesting. Not awesome but there were definitely some interesting origins of the customs we experience every day. At this point some of the references and jokes are dated but it's perfect for a bathroom book or anywhere else were you just have a few minutes to read an entry or two.
The stories behind 296 American rituals. Why do we cross our hearts and thumb our noses? Why do we throw rice at weddings? Why do we dye Easter eggs? Light reading for waiting in lines, etc.
Interesting read about the origins of different customs and holidays. A good resource to have around.
Signs of the times.
This fun book makes a genuine effort to succinctly consider the origins and reasons for many American customs we follow without thinking -- and to separate the incorrect ideas or odd stories that pass around for "reasons why we do this" from the more genuine explanations. The book does provide a decent bibliography, but the entires themselves lack citations/footnotes, so if you are looking to do your own research on 1 specific custom, you'll have to do some of your own research/recreate the auth...