Thursday, November 09, 2023

Seven books about everyday objects that changed the world

Amy Brady is the executive director and publisher of Orion magazine and coeditor of The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate. Brady has made appearances on the BBC, NPR, and PBS. She holds a PhD in literature and American studies and has won writing and research awards from the National Science Foundation, the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and the Library of Congress.

Brady's new book is Ice: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks--a Cool History of a Hot Commodity.

At Electric Lit she tagged "seven must-read microhistories that teach us so much about our past in the most surprising and multifaceted ways," including:
Eyeliner by Zahra Hankir

In this endlessly fascinating book, Hankir explores how eyeliner—the nearly universal makeup tool used by so many contemporary women—has a richer and sometimes stranger history than many people (including me) would have guessed. Beyond its use as a tool to enhance beauty, it’s been used throughout history in cultures around the world as part of religious ceremonies, to ward off evil spirits, and to push the boundaries of gender norms. Readers will never think of eyeliner the same way after reading this book.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue