Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Toothpick, by Henry Petroski

The Toothpick: Technology and Culture, by Henry Petroski

I’ll admit it: this is the first book in years that I haven’t finished. I slogged through twenty chapters before giving up, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go any further. While clearly well researched (60 pages of endnotes!), the repetitiveness and minutia of anything and everything about the “earliest known nonlithic tool used by hominids” made reading a chore. The occasional interesting nugget (the United States Patent Office has over 500 patents registered around the manufacture and design of toothpicks) kept me turning pages for a while, but these factoids were too few and too far apart to capture my interest for long. I recommend this to anyone researching the toothpick industry or anyone with insomnia as a potential cure.

First Sentence:
Nothing can be more annoying than having a piece of food stuck between our teeth.

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