Monday, December 10, 2018

Eight great reads about miniature worlds

Simon Garfield was born in London in 1960. He is the author of an appealingly diverse and unpredictable canon of non-fiction, including the bestsellers Mauve, Just My Type and On The Map. He is a trustee of Mass Observation, and is the editor of several books of diaries from the archive, including Our Hidden Lives and A Notable Woman. His study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham Prize, while To The Letter was one of the inspirations for the theatre shows Letters Live.

His most recent book is In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate The World.

At the Guardian, Garfield tagged eight favorite reads about miniature worlds, including:
The darkest book on the subject is perhaps The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a coffee-table guide to the extraordinarily unnerving dioramas of Frances Glessner Lee. The photographer Corinne May Botz traces Lee’s journey from a wealthy but lonely childhood in Chicago to becoming the creator of 18 detailed crime scenes designed to train police detectives in the art of long-looking and forensics. Lee made most of her boxes (bloodied corpses in moody attics and cabins formed from wool, felt, paper and wood) in the 1940s, but they continue to set the imagination aflame. Just how did a woman’s body end up in the bath with her clothes still on and the tap still running? The answer is almost besides the point: the point is that we learn how to look.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue