Garden with lobsters

Elizabeth Archibald, who teaches humanities classes at Peabody Institute, whimsically started her Ask the Past blog seeking how-to advice from medieval or early modern European texts she found in the George Peabody Library. Now in analog format—old illustrations on one page, excerpted copy on the facing page—it's easier to recognize how Past (Hachette, 2015) is both comical and illuminating. In addition to finding out how to garden with lobsters, know if death is imminent, eat politely, and increase lust, Archibald provides a snapshot into the skills deemed necessary to be considered a civilized, useful person. This book-from-blog volume may actually redeem the fact that Stuff White People Like is a thing that can be found in bookstores.