Lori's Book Nook

Archive for July 2007

I realized this morning that the world had lost yet another artist — spoken word artist Sekou Sundiata. (The Chicago Tribune) [Weird, the editors of Wikipedia waste not time in updating their entries.]

I first heard his work in the Bill Moyers’ book The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets (Here’s a discussion group page.) That book has a companion audio format — I’m not sure which came first, the audio or the book. I, luckily, have both. 🙂

Listen to him on Salon Audio, or on the NPR Fresh Air podcast, a compilation of interviews held with him over the years.

Art lives on.

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As you may know, I have a weakness for cultural histories — “See the history of the world through this odd angle!”

So, the other day, when I was browsing the local 2ndhand bookstore, I happened upon a brilliant addition to my library — The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroksi. ‘Tis a delightful romp through the history of such an amazingly simple, obvious thing (at least to us today), in the hopes that the mysteries of engineering become clearer:

“If we can capture the essence of engineers and engineering through the most elementary and least abstract of examples, then we can more easily get to the heart of the matter when confronted with something so large and unfamiliar that we can barely conceive of what it really looks like, let alone hold it in our hands and think about it.”

I have only just begun Chapter 5, Of Traditions and Transitions, the start of which should give you a more fanciful sample of Petroksi approachable academic, sometimes poetic style:

“The history of the pencil, when it has been written down at all, is full of erasures and revisions.”

Accurate, and cute.

To my delight, he’s written more, including an upcoming book (due in October of this year), entitled, simply enough: The Toothpick How can one resist!?!

It’s on the wishlist.


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!