Brian Thill (Author) Ian Bogost (Editor)
& 1 more


Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Though we try to imagine otherwise, waste is every object, plus time. Whatever else an object is, it's also waste-or was, or will be. All that is needed is time or a change of sentiment or circumstance. Waste is not merely the field of discarded objects, but the name we give to our troubled relationship with the decaying world outside ourselves. Waste focuses on those waste objects that most fundamentally shape our lives and also attempts to understand our complicated emotional and intellectual relationships to our own refuse: nuclear waste, climate debris, pop-culture rubbish, digital detritus, and more.

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

Product Details

Bloomsbury Academic
Publish Date
September 24, 2015
4.7 X 6.4 X 0.6 inches | 0.0 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Brian Thill is Professor of English at Golden West College, USA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Jacobin, Mediations, 3: AM Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere


"Fascinating, thought-provoking, and necessary, Brian Thill's Waste is about not just our present but our future. You can't read it and come out of the experience unchanged." --Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times-Bestselling Author of The Southern Reach trilogy

"If 'waste, ' as Brian Thill points out, is any object plus time, then Waste is waste plus spirited curiosity and tremendous intelligence. With a gaze full of vigor and heart, Thill looks at the fate of what we discard-from space junk to horse corpses to bird bellies split open from plastic-and illuminates invisible margins we'd often rather forget. I read the whole book in one sitting, spellbound." --Leslie Jamison, New York Times-Bestselling Author of The Empathy Exams

"Waste is the finest filth around-or really the finest mediation of it I can think of: Thill looks deeply into how what we waste controls us at the level of the personal and the public-our discards become our fate and home both-and finds treasure." --Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night

"The Object Lessons series achieves something very close to magic: the books take ordinary--even banal--objects and animate them with a rich history of invention, political struggle, science, and popular mythology. Filled with fascinating details and conveyed in sharp, accessible prose, the books make the everyday world come to life. Be warned: once you've read a few of these, you'll start walking around your house, picking up random objects, and musing aloud: 'I wonder what the story is behind this thing?'"--Steven Johnson, best-selling author of How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

"The Object Lessons project, edited by game theory legend Ian Bogost and cultural studies academic Christopher Schaberg, commissions short essays and small, beautiful books about everyday objects from shipping containers to toast. The Atlantic hosts a collection of "mini object-lessons", brief essays that take a deeper look at things we generally only glance upon ('Is bread toast only insofar as a human toaster perceives it to be "done?" Is bread toast when it reaches some specific level of nonenzymatic browning?'). More substantive is Bloomsbury's collection of small, gorgeously designed books that delve into their subjects in much more depth." --Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing