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Brief Histories of Everyday Objects    by Andy Warner order for
Brief Histories of Everyday Objects
by Andy Warner
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

I really wanted to like this book because I was interested in the subject matter. Unfortunately, the author's approach left much to be desired. He didn't deliver, at least for me, the goods when it came to satisfying my curiosity about the items he decided to focus on.

With over forty objects - which ranged from Velcro, safety pins, coffee filters and paper clips to instant ramen, billiard balls and traffic lights - there was plenty of potentially interesting subject matters.

Where the presentations went off the rails, unfortunately, was with the limited information the author actually provided. Limiting each individual selection to just four pages and then devoting at least half a page of that total to Briefer Histories (which allowed the presentation to wander further afield from the original topic than was really necessary) was a narrative mistake.

For example, in the Kitty Litter section, the reader is informed under Briefer Histories that Edward Lowe, the man who created kitty litter, became so wealthy that he once owned 22 houses and bought an entire Michigan town. That wasn't something I really needed to know!

Admittedly, part of the problem with the spotty presentation of relevant information about each item discussed is the nature of the narrative. Since this is a graphic book, the cartoon approach really does not lend itself to offering the type of detail a serious reader would like to find here.

If you want to barely scratch the surface and perhaps just motivate the reader to do further research to learn more about the histories of these objects, this book may work for you, but otherwise don't expect much from Brief Histories of Everyday Objects because brief here is the operative word!

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