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This is the second in the series, Best Style Books of 2011

Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, I like to believe that my parents never had sexual relations. (Well, okay. Maybe they did. But just four times.) One thing I’ve never doubted, though, is that they had a life before us. When we were bored as kids, my Mom used to let us pilfer their old class yearbooks and photo albums for entertainment. Before I was old enough to fully appreciate them as people, those pictures proved that there was more to them than met the eye.

If you are fascinated by old family photos, then you’ll love My Mom, Style Icon, a book that introduces a universe of sons and daughters who contributed to the author’s blog, MomStyleIcons.blogspot.com. Each submission is a favorite photograph of a parent or grandparent accompanied by a backstory that sets the scene or explains the source of intrigue.

If it were only a compendium of style drawn from yesterday’s fashions, I would recommend this photo journal without hesitation; it’s great eye candy for vintage fashion aficionados. But Weiss’s book is so much more than that. These accounts form an intensely private look at how we’re all affected by the personal histories of our parents and the unanswered questions we have about them. The material is presented casually, as if it were one big family album. I recommend it as perfect bedtime reading on nights you feel exhausted.

What’s your favorite photo of your parents? Visit MomStyleIcons.blogspot.com and share it. I’m sorting through my favorites. I hope you will, too. The Best Style Books of 2011 continues next week.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.