Object Lessons in Book Lust

By the time you read this, this could be less of a blog post about book lust and more about the books I have just been and bought because the book lust bug has me under it’s spell. As I type this it is very late on Wednesday night, I should really be in bed sleeping before I get up at 5.30am and get ready to get the train to London for two days of meetings. Instead I am wide awake having spent the last forty minutes or so trying to find out about some books that I am lusting after; Bloomsbury’s new Object Lessons series. They look stunning…


Yes, you know what I mean now don’t you. You can feel your fingers straying to open a new window and google which ones have come out and where you can get them from. I know, because that is what has just happened to me. Having done some digging and visiting their website I am still not sure exactly what they are. I mean, what does this mean? Object Lessons is a series of concise, collectable, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Each book starts from a specific inspiration: an historical event, a literary passage, a personal narrative, a technological innovation-and from that starting point explores the object of the title, gleaning a singular lesson or multiple lessons along the way. Featuring contributions from writers, artists, scholars, journalists, and others, the emphasis throughout is lucid writing, imagination, and brevity. Object Lessons paints a picture of the world around us, and tells the story of how we got here, one object at a time. Does it even matter when the books look so gorgeous?

Of course it does, though having read this review I now want them all, and it looks like there are going to be 20+ of them in total over the next how many months. “The Object Lessons series achieves something very close to magic: the books take ordinary—even banal—objects and animate them with a rich history of invention, political struggle, science, and popular mythology. Filled with fascinating details and conveyed in sharp, accessible prose, the books make the everyday world come to life. Be warned: once you’ve read a few of these, you’ll start walking around your house, picking up random objects, and musing aloud: ‘I wonder what the story is behind this thing?'” Yes that is me sold, so much so that if I see any of these (when I happen to fall into any London bookshops between meetings) I am probably going to have to buy one or two, or three… or four.

What books are you lusting after at the moment? Have you heard of the Object Lessons series? Have you read any of them? Would you be interested in me writing about random books I am lusting after, or would you rather I kept them to myself so it doesn’t become contagious and doom us all?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

7 responses to “Object Lessons in Book Lust

  1. David

    Some of them sound interesting but I’m not a fan of the design. It’s a personal aesthetic thing but far from making bright colours pop I find black has a deadening effect (nearly-blacks like midnight blue, dark muddy green-brown all work better in my opinion).

    Having recently read Richard Yates’s ‘Eleven Kinds of Loneliness’ and had one of those “why haven’t I read him before?” moments I’m currently lusting after a full set of the Vintage Classics editions of his novels, with their fabulous period advertising illustration covers.

  2. I go into a bookstore and lust after any book in beautiful colours. I see books about topics I have never been interested in and talk myself into all the reasons I could be interested. The ones you present here certainly look interesting.

  3. The Folio Society is launching a set of luxury softbacks – but they’re rather expensive – look lovely though and are illustrated of course.

  4. I love the simplicity of those covers!

  5. Louise

    Some people I know recently bought a house, and the lady who lived there before, left most of her library behind. She had a Folio society subscribtion for 20-30 years, so when I saw all the shelves I had an acute attack of book lust! They were kind enough to let me take some of the books home with me though 🙂 (but I still had to order a few from Abebooks before I was 100 % over my book lust…

  6. Pingback: Hotel – Joanna Walsh | Savidge Reads

  7. Pingback: A London Bookshop Crawl (and Why I Bought The Books I Did)… | Savidge Reads

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