''Things'' we love

By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  September 24, 2007

Joseph Cevetello, a specialist in technology used in adult learning, and a diabetic, writes about another odd, cherished object: his Elite glucometer, which measures his blood sugar. The device is vital to Cevetello on a physical level, but it has also become symbolic. “It is only recently that I have thought about how my meter, the first object I see every morning, has become me,” he writes in his essay. “My meter maintains my image of myself as a man able to take care of himself.”

Turkle, Glenn, and Hayes contribute their own prized objects to their works — treasures from grandparents’ closets, a mysterious mask, an odd needlepoint sampler — but what’s obvious from speaking with all of them is that the books themselves have become personally significant objects. For Turkle, who often refers to her book as a “labor of love” in her e-mails, it’s a symbol of a childhood fascination, which spawned all of her work and research. For Glenn and Hayes, who specifically designed their book to be aesthetically pleasing, from its thick, smooth paper to the artful snapshots of each object, it’s “a pleasurable object. . . . We wanted the experience of looking at it to be like show-and-tell, or a wonder cabinet,” says Glenn. “You want to pick it up. The point of it is to have the same experience that I enjoy when I’m at someone’s house, looking through someone’s junk.”

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