- Paperback: 174 pages
- Publisher: Princeton Archit.Press; 1 edition (August 9, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568986904
- ISBN-13: 978-1568986906
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance 1st Edition
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In an age when we're obsessed with the design, provenance, and value of every objects around us, these 75 short essays and photographs honor those magical, mysterious items that wiggle their way into our lives, and somehow into our hearts....eclectic group of creatives who eloquently describe their little pieces of Nothing Special--and why they mean everything to them. -- StepInside Design, December 2007
Short essays about treasured possessions, by artists, designers, writers and performers. The cartoonist and musician recalls playing with an assortment of rubber animals as a boy, 'acting out battles, domestic scenes, everything.' But the star was always Sunshine, above: 'one special little yellow pig.' -- New York Times Book Review, August 2007
Taking Things Seriously is a process, an experience in looking and interpreting, reminding us to take a good look at all the ordinary things around and to realize that they are each far more just that. -- FiveandaHalf.net, September 17, 2007
The Must List #9. Proving one man's trash is another's treasure, this collection of photos and essays shows how the unlikliest of things can provide inspiration. -- Entertainment Weekly, October 26, 2007
delightful, often hilarious -- Dwell, December 2007
About the Author
Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer and editor at the Boston Globe.
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While the seventy-five objects given to us in Taking Things Seriously weren't all hauled out of someones's refuse or found abandoned by the side of the road, each has a mysterious pull, like gravity, that draws our attention and inquiry. Each has a story. It may be the story its current custodian regales us with as we open to a page of this stimulating omnium gatherum, or it may not, yet we are nevertheless compelled by inevitable curiosity to consider whys and wherefores. For me, it was all about the sand clown. Buy the book and you'll understand.
This is a lovely, unobtrusive volume that would be a fine addition to your coffee table collection or nightstand stack. Additionally, it would make an ideal gift for the person who believes she has everything and could benefit from a reminder that there's fantastic, beautiful, and confounding diversity within the near-limitless realm of stuff.
On July 6, 2007, Mark Frauenfelder, author of Rule the Web: How to Do Anything and Everything on the Internet---Better, Faster, Easier (and editor of Boing Boing and MAKE: Technology on Your Time) posted a sneak preview of the book to Boing Boing. Excerpt: "My friend Joshua Glenn was the founder of one of my favorite zines, Hermenaut. He edited a new book called Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance... I've read some samples from the book and they're wonderful."
On August 5, the New York Times Book Review and LA Times Book Review both praised Taking Things Seriously. Here's an excerpt from the LA Times review: "Why do certain things charm us so? In their new book, Taking Things Seriously, Boston Globe columnist Joshua Glenn and designer Carol Hayes delve into this 'human drive and capacity to invest inanimate objects with meaning.' They asked artists, designers, writers and thinkers to contribute photos of their precious belongings and explain their significance.... The result is a wonderfully eccentric collection of 'things' and thought-provoking essays that underscore French philosopher Bruno Latour's challenge to regard objects as more than merely matters of fact but, Glenn writes in his introduction, as 'an association, a network, a gathering' of meaning and ideas."
On August 18, the Toronto Globe & Mail's John Allemang wrote: "In Taking Things Seriously, 75 items of otherwise lowly ambition are given the respect they deserve -- a couch arm-rest, stained with burns, where a belated mother used to rest her cigarette-smoking hand, a defunct film-editing machine that carries memories of a philosophy classmate gone round the bend, a pious sampler with one simple needle-pointed command: THOUGHTS."
On August 19, the Toronto Star featured "Taking Things Seriously" in its Ideas section. Ryan Bigge wrote: "The mundane items of Taking Things Seriously are transformed into the extraordinary through the explanations of their owners. Call it narrative alchemy.... The book also functions as a grown-up version of show and tell. Many of the book's contributors were involved with Hermenaut, a philosophy and pop-culture journal that Glenn edited and published from 1992 until 2000. Perhaps as a result of their shared history, the stories are emotionally generous, detailing divorces, death and lost love."
On August 30, Fantagraphics art director and lead designer Jacob Covery (editor of Beasts!) posted some kind words about "Taking Things Seriously" to the Fantagraphics blog, FLOG. Excerpt: "Consider the contributor list just from the world of comics: Tony Millionaire, Bill Griffith, James Kochalka, Mark Newgarden, and (yet another talented designer) Helene Silverman (of the Fantagraphics' Jimbo series and the flocked covers of We All Die Alone). These are busy people and I love when busy people make time for 'emotionally generous stories.'"
On August 31, business-and-anthropology guru Rob Walker, who writes The New York Times Magazine's "Consumed" column, wrote on his blog that Taking Things Seriously "sounds like a thoughtful take on on material culture (which is, of course, my beat, so I'm a little biased about why I think this project is such a good idea)."
On September 1, Maisonneuve, a magazine dedicated to "eclectic curiosity," described the book as "a funny, fascinating and touching book documenting the stories behind seventy-five weird and wonderful objects people treasure," and launched a Significant Objects contest.
On September 3, the Montreal Gazette published a very nice essay titled "Some Objects Are Worth Their Weight In Memories," which described several essays from Taking Things Seriously and called it a "lovely book."
On September 4, the Raincoast Books blog noted: "Artists, writers, designers, musicians, among many others, contribute their objects and try to explain their significance in the book. From everyday objects like a cocktail glass or a cigar box, to the more surprising such as a dirt pile or a one-hundred-pound practice bomb, it is a truly fascinating insight into the things that inspire and motivate our creativity."
It encompasses something everyone does and hardly anyone really thinks about...hoarding/collecting stuff that is really important only to you. It puts a perspective on people's emotional ties to sometimes useless things. I had a lot fun reading it and sharing it.