Publisher Shaye Areheart/Crown Books, August 2005
You can’t take it with you, of course, but we certainly do value and treasure our precious things while we’re here. Salman Akhtar’s beautiful book is a fascinating historical, cultural, and psychological exploration of the objects that occupy our lives from family heirlooms to everyday objects.
Why are some things regarded as sacred and others profane? What makes something “sexy”? Why do mourners face such difficulty in parting with a beloved’s possessions? Why do we often feel distraught when we lose something, even when the object has little real value? And why, when we’re feeling stressed, do we reach for the comfort of a favorite afghan or a smooth stone from a recent vacation?
Like The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, Objects of Our Desire uses the lenses of history, sociology, psychology, literature, and philosophy to offer insights, both deep and delightful, into the ways we invest objects with meaning.
As a psychiatrist and a poet, Salman Akhtar, is uniquely qualified to combine the intellectual with the aesthetic. The result is a book that helps us to appreciate anew the intricate nature of our relationship with the objects that accompany us throughout our lives.
Salman Akhtar is a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and a professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He has published six volumes of poetry, History/Social Science—Popular Culture.