Taking Things Seriously

75 Objects with Unexpected Significance

Joshua Glenn, Carol Hayes

     5.5 × 7 in (14.0 × 17.8 cm)
176 pages
85 color illustrations
Publication date: 10/10/2007
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568986906

We all have something in our lives that while not obviously valuable, is displayed as though it were a precious and irreplaceable artifact. Inquire about the object's provenance and you'll likely be treated to a lively anecdote about how it came into your host's possession. Keep digging, and you might even crack the code of what the thing really means.

Taking Things Seriously is a wonder cabinet of seventy-five unlikely thingamajigs that have been invested with significance and transformed into totems, talismans, charms, relics, and fetishes: scraps of movie posters scavenged from the streets of New York by Low Life author Luc Sante; the World War I helmet that inoculated social critic Thomas Frank against jingoism; the trash-picked, robot-shaped hairdo machine described by its owner as a chick magnet; the bagel burned by actor Christopher Walken, moonlighting as a short-order cook. The owners of these objects convey their excitement in short, often poignant essays that invite readers to participate in the enjoyable act of interpreting things. You'll never look at the bric-a-brac on your shelves the same way again.

Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer and editor, currently for The Boston Globe. He was editor and publisher of Hermenaut, a philosophy and pop culture zine described as "one of the few truly indispensable critical forums of the 1990s." He has been a columnist for the Boston Globe's Ideas section, The Idler (UK), Feed.com, and The London Observer. He has also contributed to the journals n+1 and The Baffler.

Carol Hayes is an award-winning designer and artist who has worked for Open, Little Brown, the Sundance Channel, Nickelodeon, and Domino Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn.

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