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The Gentle Art of Domesticity Hardcover

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340952326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340952320
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,612,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Wood on 15 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a complete delight. Beautifully illustrated and full of lovely ideas on how to approach homemaking. In fact, it is really about reclaiming domesticity as an art rather than always seeing it as a chore. A delight.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. T. McDonnell on 28 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The books weaves literature and art into the domestic realm. It is not remotely practical. There are few useful recipes, knitting patterns or other how-tos. It is all about the author's aesthetic, which can be lovely or horrible (neon coloured cupcakes) depending upon your taste. However, it's attractive and well written. The author introduces a wealth of literature around the theme of domesticity. Many of these books are available under the wonderful Persephone imprint. A major irritant is the author's odd fixation with her feet. It is more than a little offputting to see photo after photo of her feet, despite the fact that they're decently pedicured. Clearly she considers them her best feature and worthy of a great deal of space in a book on the domestic arts. Er...okay.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ms. C. A. Short on 7 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fabulous read, full of usefull tips from baking to sewing and house keeping.
I'm very glad I went ahead and bought this book.
Many thanks
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful By o on 16 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book has a pretty cover, but nothing inside lives up to it. Domesticity is about style in decor, entertaining, cooking dinners, organizing a home. THe recipes are very basic, which anyone could look up on the internet, and I expected a lot more since there is so much writing. This is another case of an author writing a book not about what she knows but what she wish she knew about, except that she insists on bizarrely including tons of pictures of her ugly feet !!! Brocket is kind of frumpy and her tone is smug. I was hoping to learn secrets of a wonderful home but there is nothing of the sort. I don't need to know what movies to watch. And how is putting jelly beans on a cupcake artful? THe title is not about quilting, and knitting, which is her only craft, so the title should not have been about domesticity. On her essay about kitsch, its as if she had no idea what it is, and looked it up in a dictionary, and took a picture of something she calls art deco, which is not kitsch.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 49 reviews
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Book, Wrong Title 27 Dec. 2008
By Red Clay Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book suffers from a misleading title. "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" suggests a how-to book filled with recipes and patterns and helpful hints. A more accurate title might have been "The Portrait of the Artist as a Housewife" or "Gentle Domesticity: The Art of Jane Brocket."

Have no doubts about it: Jane Brocket is an artist. She has a vivid sense of color, pattern and texture that bursts through every page of this book. You wonder how anyone can bring themselves to eat her baked goods, they're so gorgeous. She is also a marvelous photographer.

Instead of a how-to book, consider this an illustrated argument that domestic crafts--knitting, quilting, baking, sewing--should be taken seriously as artistic endeavors, that utility is not the enemy of beauty, that everyday things can and should be aesthetically pleasing, that there is value in the homemade. The domestic arts are deeply pleasurable for both those who practice them as well as for those who are the lucky recipients of homemade socks and brilliantly frosted cupcakes.

When I was a kid, back in the '70s, it was common for people to say, "If women are equal to men, why are there no great women artists?" It took me years to realize that I was surrounded by great women artists, knitters, needleworkers, and cooks, to mention only a few. Jane Brocket is an artist. Her book is inspiring, visually delightful, and well-written. I enjoyed learning more about her process and her thoughts about color (she is a color genius) and the joys of crafting.

My only caveat would be: Understand what kind of book you're getting yourself into before you buy it. The negative reviews posted here seem to be the result of people buying "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" thinking it would be something other than what it is.
82 of 93 people found the following review helpful
A Love/Hate Review 20 Oct. 2008
By S. G. Luxton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because it was recommended in some of my favorite blogs but I must agree with the 2 star review that the author seems almost secretly embarrassed that she spends her days cooking, knitting, quilting, etc. So coming out to the world with this book she brings up her education credentials constantly. I guess I am trying to express that I found her writing (to emulate her dearth of the common vernacular) grandiloquent. So that is the Hate part of the review. The Love part is that I do like to look into what inspires, moves & drives people to create. I am a list person so an introduction to some new movies, artists, recipes and places kept me reading. I personally do not subscribe to her color theory but the product & photos are beautiful. So my final word is I am happy to have read the book. I feel I got my money's worth but I would recommend skipping her more pretentious passages. I mean, really, when is the last time you used the word ludic?
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A happy, colorful, inspirational book of a life well-lived 24 Mar. 2009
By Shoshana37 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm really perplexed by the snippy reviews here. This book was wonderful! What's wrong with Mrs. Brocket mentioning her education? It's fascinating that she started off in search of a doctorate and then veered off in an entirely different direction because she really listened to her heart. I found her unpretentious - she makes a point of underplaying her gifts, reminding the reader repeatedly that her talents are humble, but she gets as much joy from them as possible. Most lifestyle books are tediously written, with generic, safe language right out of your average women's magazine. I liked the quirkiness of Jane Brocket's voice.

I haven't tested any recipes yet, so I appreciate the comments by other reader who discovered that the conversions were off. Mostly, though, I want this book for inspiration. It lifts me above my daily stresses and makes me want to do a bit of gardening, learn to knit (something colorful), read a few Persephone novels or watch an old Cary Grant movie - simple, affordable pleasures for a difficult time. This was the first lifestyle book I ever bothered to read cover-to-cover. I carried my library copy for weeks on my bus ride to work and it was the most wonderful escapist pleasure. I lost myself in the colors and the vivid sense of happiness and a life well-lived, and I walked into work smiling. I will definitely be buying a copy.
64 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Lovely pictures, a few good recipes.... 22 Sept. 2008
By thesweetestpea - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was so excited when this book was released in the US, however I find myself disappointed.

The photos are fantastic and the few (maybe five or so?) recipes that are in this book interest me. Other than that this book falls flat. I find the book MUCH too wordy (and yes, I know books usually do contain many words). She just talked about herself way too much, almost to the point of annoyance. It seems like a collection of favorite stories, quilts (no patterns, just pictures), knitting (once again, just photos), and favorite movies and books. The reader is also constantly reminded of her education throughout the book (MA, MW, shelved PhD).

Long story short- this seems like a personal journal full of fantastic photos. I don't know the author, so I couldn't really care less about her personal prefrences. I feel like this will be a nice book for her children/grandchilren one day. Way too personal. I really don't feel that this should be called a "craft book". This book is more inspirational if anything.

I will keep the book though, only for the photos.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
SLIGHTLY inspiring 2 May 2009
By J. Plummer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up because I was excited about the title, Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art, and the comforts of Home. I had no idea who Jane Brocket was, nor did I know anything about some blog she ran/runs called Yarnstorm. Apparently, from reviews I read after the fact, this book is pretty much a collection of her blogs about the "domestic arts." This is not an instructional book by any means (which was the impression I presumed when I read the cover), unless you consider a few recipes tossed here and there as instructional. If you care about what Brocket thinks about the domestic arts, you'll like this book. It's filled with lots of whimsical, bright photos she has taken of her many domestic projects and inspirations. Other than that, I don't know what else I'm supposed to get out of this book. I suppose one could find it inspiring. Brocket wants to encourage people that the gentle arts are nothing to be ashamed of and should be embraced, although she ironically seems to remind the reader of her vast education/career repetitively throughout. She also came off a bit uppity and out of touch with her reading audience. While she could inspire on a broad scale as she talks extensively about knitting, crocheting, embroidery, baking, quilting, and SOME gardening (the nature part, which sucked) she is using materials that are NOT affordable to the average "domestic artist" (Homegirl ain't knitting with yarn from Walmart, yo). I'm sure if I could afford to stay at home and use high quality materials to make tea cozies, I'd embrace the "domestic arts" too. Basically, I thought this book was going to provide some kind of instructional on the "domestic arts" and it didn't. I don't care what this lady thinks about mohair.
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