In this sprightly anthology, 34 authors (scientists, scholars, artists, and others) share their relationships with evocative objects that serve as both companions to their emotional lives and stimulations of thought. The editor is Sherry Turkle, a sociologist of science and author of The Second Self (1984), Life on the Screen (1995), and Alone Together (2013). As she notes in the introduction: "We live our lives in the middle of things. Material culture carries emotions and ideas of startling intensity. Yet only recently have objects begun to receive the attention they deserve."
What roles do objects such as a cello, a vacuum cleaner, a bracelet, a closet, photographs, or a linty pill in an old wallet play in people's lives? They can be seen as transitional objects (substitutes for persons), vehicles of memory or mourning, spurs to self-creation, philosophical tools, and passports to meaning, play, or rest. "No ideas but in things," said the poet William Carlos Williams. He was right on target. The many evocative objects in our lives help us think about emotions, time, space, causality, and life.