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Pencil (Object Lessons)

Pencil (Object Lessons)

Current price: $14.95
Publication Date: February 8th, 2024
Bloomsbury Academic
The MIT Press Bookstore
3 on hand, as of Apr 19 6:11pm
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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

A cylinder of baked graphite and clay in a wood case, the pencil creates as it is being destroyed. To love a pencil is to use it, to sharpen it, and to essentially destroy it.

Pencils were used to sketch civilization's greatest works of art. Pencils were there marking the choices in the earliest democratic elections. Even when used haphazardly to mark out where a saw's blade should make a cut, a pencil is creating. Pencil offers a deep look at this common, almost ubiquitous, object.

Pencils are a simple device that are deceptively difficult to manufacture. At a time when many use cellphones as banking branches and instructors reach students online throughout the world, pencil use has not waned, with tens of millions being made and used annually. Carol Beggy sketches out how the lowly pencil is still a mighty useful tool.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

About the Author

Carol Beggy is an award-winning writer and editor, who worked for many years as a print journalist, including 15 years with The Boston Globe. She has worked as a public relations consultant, a television producer, an editor for blogs and newsletters, a producer and talent booker for podcasts, and speechwriter. She is the author or co-author of 10 books, including six with renowned Boston photographer Bill Brett. She is a graduate of Northeastern University.