Rummage: A History of the Things We Have Reused, Recycled and Refused to Let Go by Emily Cockayne; Rag and Bone: A Family History of What We’ve Thrown Away by Lisa Woollett - review by Lucy Lethbridge

Lucy Lethbridge

Waste Not, Want Not

Rummage: A History of the Things We Have Reused, Recycled and Refused to Let Go

By

Profile 387pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Rag and Bone: A Family History of What We’ve Thrown Away

By

John Murray 240pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

The word rummage, with all its pleasurable connotations of chance, lucky dip and thrift, couldn’t be bettered as a title for Emily Cockayne’s new book. Both intricately and widely researched, the big picture always illustrated with the telling detail, it is a fascinating historical compendium of the cumbersome detritus of everyday life and how we dispose of it, reuse it and manage it.

Cockayne starts with an examination of an old cardigan she inherited from her grandmother, created by knitting together skeins of wool that had been unravelled from other garments. She then works backwards from the present, digging through the ‘sediments of time’. She tells the story of the origins of glass

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