In chapter 2 of Lust Over Pendle, we see a pile of books and magazines that Draco's been using to study for pretending to be a Muggle:

Draco gestured at the window seat of the breakfast room. It was piled high with Muggle magazines; she spotted Living etc, Elle Dec, Tatler, Country Life, FHM and Loaded. A few battered looking Penguins, including Cold Comfort Farm, The Empress of Blandings, Brideshead Revisited and The Monarch of the Glen, lay scattered around.

-- A.J. Hall, Lust Over Pendle

Since Hall regularly gives subtle nods to her inspirations and leaves coy inferences for alert readers, I assume such a great honking list of references is offering some specific commentary--but I'm not familiar enough with the works, especially the magazines, to hazard a guess as to precisely what's being said.

What reference or commentary is made by the list of Draco's reading material?


Since you ask (and it's a really good question)

Living etc and Elle Dec are interior decorating magazines, basically high-end furniture porn. My partner used to read them regularly (he's the one who designs the covers) so it was a minor in-joke at his expense.

Tatler and Country Life are THE upper-class magazines going, aimed at the aristocracy and gentry and those who want to be. (They are also notoriously the magazines that you find in dentists waiting rooms.) These are Draco actually researching who he is posing as.

FHM and Loaded are "lads mags" and very much of their period. They're aimed at a different type of well off individual, like the City traders who bob up in DandD. They're sexist and flashy and full of gadgets.

Basically, the magazines represent Draco trying on three different and somewhat incompatible identities without thinking what the combination of the three says about him (which shows why Hermione's right that he needs a Muggle-picker.)

The books are completely different. They're second-hand and have already stood the test of time (though not in Draco's ownership). They are all light literature from (or focussing on, in the case of Brideshead) the inter-war period and deal with people living in the country (the Highlands of Scotland, in the case of Monarch of the Glen) usually leisured people in large country houses who are nevertheless trying to process the horrors of WWI while keeping them at bay with light banter, leisured living and deflection.

So the magazines are what Draco wants to appear to be, and the books tell us more about who he really is (or who he's trying to figure out he is.)

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