Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance

Those drawn to antique shops and yard sales will delight in this inviting collection. In brief essays with accompanying photographs, 75 contributors consider their intense feelings for one beloved object. By excluding family heirlooms and childhood toys, the editors ended up with a less obvious and more eccentric assemblage of stuff, everything from a Zippo lighter to a turtle tail to an empty glass jar. Co-editor Carol Hayes ruminates on a needlepoint sampler sewn by her aunt, which consists of the word "thoughts" surrounded by flowers; the mystery of the object "plunges into philosophical confusion" every time she looks at it. Rick Rawlins writes of being a lonely kid who couldn?t attend an almost-friend?s birthday party because his family was moving that day. He stopped by the party to say goodbye and was given a yellow sugar egg, which he?s kept for decades as a symbol of "the hope and promise of friendship." His is one of many instances in which the photograph amplifies the impact of the written words: the picture of that fragile, chipped piece of candy almost breaks your heart. Some contributors knew from the start why their chosen item held significance; some can?t quite explain their fierce attachment to the thing. Other objects started out meaningless but acquired importance over time, just by virtue of sticking around for so long. Whatever the case, the book is testament to Joshua Glenn?s statement in the introduction: "Just as we are collectors of things, things are collectors of meaning." -

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.