Cover Image: Glitter


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Member Reviews

Super interesting book. Glitter is so pretty but it’s the bane of my existence. (Especially with 3 kids) This book has lots of interesting information and I’m glad I read this.
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I love this series! And was delighted to include this title in ‘The Rainbow Connection,’ my latest round-up for Zoomer magazine’s Books section highlighting new and notable books for Pride (see mini-review at link)
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This is a thoughtful look at the origin of glitter and the way it marks queerness, femininity and otherness. Quite fascinating,
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Another winner from the Object lessons series!

I love this series, its full of surprises and this book is no different.
Its focus is on glitter, the many facets it has in today's society and how it impacts the environment and how we can, in a sense, find alternatives to its impact.

I had an idea but I wouldn't have imagined how political glitter actually is. And how many people got inspired to use it in so many ways. This book was very complex in all the themes and scholarly views it mixed with journal entries and stories from events of beer tastings. Loved it!

I received a copy of this in order to offer my persona view on it.
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I didn’t realize I had needed a cultural history of glitter until Seymour’s book came to my attention, but now I realize how dull my experience was without it. Glitter is more than decoration, in this understanding, and its historic/cultural relationships with queerness, femininity, and play all carry the double-edged swords of being agents of both frivolity and active resistance. 

This concise book, (part of a series called Object Lessons that are all concise, hidden histories of everyday things,) does a lot of work in its few pages, exploring not just glitter as a substance but also as a concept. The real joy of this cultural history is that while nothing in it is surprising or shocking to me, it collects and connects a whole lot of disparate thoughts and ideas, making a sum more impactful than its parts. This story of glitter does a wonderful job of revealing that our particular relationship or experience of an everyday item, glitter in this case, only offers a partial understanding of how that thing exists in the world. This knowledge allows for more robust relationships with the world around us, and the chance to make everything a little more sparkly.

The writing style is direct and conversational, and a pleasure to read. Not all of the conclusions or predictions she makes seem as concrete as they are suggested to be, but nothing feels superfluous or misleading. For anyone that even has the slightest interest how a little bit of sparkle can serve as an agent of queer revolution, this is a must read.

I want to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Academic, who provided a complimentary eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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As a literary piece of work, glitter explores something mundane and makes it seem incredible. Whilst not my go-to genre, glitter was an interesting piece of non-fiction to read. There were history lessons and jokes and information on the substance itself and its impact on the world. 

It was fascinating regardless! Although it did become tedious towards the end, I think that had more to do with me than the book itself. For those that enjoy the genre, this book will quickly become a must-read!
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Even if I'm not a fan of glitters I liked this book that made me learn something more about them.
Well written and well researched.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Nicole Seymour's Glitter, a short book in the Object Lessons series, thinks about the meanings and uses of glitter, and why it arouses such strong feelings of love and hate. (I am definitely a glitter lover - I still regret not being allowed to have a Little Mermaid backpack as a child where glittery liquid swirled around a transparent panel at the front, making Ariel look as if she was swimming in a glitter sea!) I found the first half of this book really interesting and insightful. Two chapters focused on 'The Great Glitter Backlash' and 'Glitter as Tactic' explored how glitter has been associated with children, women and queer people, and hence stigmatised as wasteful, annoying, frivolous and frustratingly persistent. Seymour shows how LGBT+ movements have reclaimed glitter through tactics such as 'glitterbombing', celebrating its silliness as part of a celebration of queer 'pleasure politics', although she also notes that the positive associations of glitter make visible certain parts of the LGBT+ community (trans women, drag queens, feminine-presenting people) and not others (butch lesbians, masculine-presenting people, perhaps trans men). 

Seymour hits back against accusations that glitter should be banned because it's so environmentally unfriendly, pointing out both that 'ecoglitter' is now available and that even traditional glitter makes up at most 0.1% of the overall total of microplastic pollution in the ocean. Refreshingly, she criticises what she calls 'killjoy environmentalism', pointing out that making people feel bad and guilty is rarely the way to spur them into action - and, I would add, focusing on the actions of individuals rather than collective protest against corporations is unlikely to address the climate crisis. Unfortunately, the last two chapters strayed away from this interesting historical and political material and focused more on a cultural analysis of glitter as product, looking at children's entertainment and gimmicks such as 'glitter beer'. I found the links that Seymour made in this half of the book more tendentious, and some material was repeated from the first two chapters. Nevertheless, this dinky book is certainly worth a go, and it's inspired me to check out more titles in the Object Lessons series. 3.5 stars.
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There is a point where the object in an object lesson book is really a Trojan Horse for a concept that isn't actually an object. Not that this has ever bothered many Object Lesson authors, but Bulletproof Vest was predominantly about terrorism etc. "Glitter" is interesting because broadly it is really about LGBTQ+ issues and activism, though Seymour is mindful to bring it back to the wonderfully trivial object in question. Not least the amount of time she spends hand wringing over its status as a micro-plastic and pollutant (which in the scheme of things is remarkably minor as global pollutants go). There is an undercurrent here, which I completely subscribe to, in that how did these marginalised and oppressed groups get to claim something whose only really purpose is to gaudily prettify and add sparkle to the world. The answer being, oppression is never pretty - duh.

Glitter is a good Object Lesson because it never loses sight of its own object. So whilst going into the politics of Glitterbombing, or running a masterclass on drag make-up, Seymour is also interested in the stuff itself (and doesn't tell me to just go and Google it - I am looking at you STICKER). So we get alternative, ecologically safe Glitter recipes, as well as quite an in-depth discussion on how to simulate Glitter via CGI from people involved in the very glitter heavy Trolls movies. One of the tricks at the heart of the Object Lessons books is to take something inconsequential, or every-day and to bring greater meaning to them. The problem is the series has been doing it for so long that given the idea of -say - Chair, I could probably sketch you a version of the book that shows how Chairs started World War I. So in a race to the bottom Glitter probably succeeds more than most by starting out with something that literally has no utility except to add a bit of sparkle. To show how it won Mexican elections - that's a bit special.
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Y'all. This book is so much more than I ever would have guessed. 

Yes, it's about glitter, but it's much more scholarly than I might have expected--I've not read any other title in the Object Lessons series, so perhaps they're all like this, but I absolutely loved the deep dive into the sociological significance of glitter, protest phenomena like "glitterbombing", trends in eco-friendly and edible glitter, and the subtextual significance of glitter in film, art, and life.

Highly recommend, particularly to those who have had a "glitter phase," fans of glitter rock, and anyone who ever threw glitter in joy or spite (or both).

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This book isn’t my typical read but it’s a very interesting literary work reviewing the history and background of glitter in addition to the societal and environmental impact the substance has had on society over the years. I was especially interested in the book’s review of glitter’s iconic role in the LGBTQ+ community over the last few decades. 

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley and courtesy of Bloomsbury Academy publishing company prior to its publishing date and appreciate the advance copy
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I am always Team Glitter and maybe, just maybe, I already knew too much about glitter to enjoy this book. I might also be around academic writing a bit too much to enjoy this book. 

Seymour writes about glitter from an academic perspective, including the history of glitter as an object, its use in protest, as a symbol of femininity/queerness/immaturity, and the environmental consequences of glitter. For me, all of this seemed pretty scattered and while she tries to tie them together, those ties are made in ways that read very much like she's writing an academic thesis and circling back on purpose. 

Seymour has clearly worked in this odd academic and theoretical realm of glitter for a while and has presented about this at various conferences so her expertise is clear. I think with more space to expound or a more narrative tone, this book may have succeeded more.

This review is based on an ARC of Glitter which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Bloomsbury Academic).
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Glitter by Nicole Seymour does what every book in the Object Lessons series does, presents an everyday or common entity through a writer's particular lens. Seymour presents the topic in all of its actual as well as perceived meanings and uses, which of course really annoys those who think always screaming "woke" actually means something other than just being a dog whistle. But small minds, you know.

From the environmental impact (real but usually overstated) to the steps taken to minimize that impact, from decoration for everything from greeting cards to eyelids (and just about everything else), and to the role in some political and social protests, glitter is examined through a broad cultural lens as well as Seymour's own personal engagement.

I would recommend this to those who understand that there is no object or entity that is entirely neutral and that understanding how things are used and abused in the name of the status quo or in opposing the status quo makes one better able to engage in the world without (falsely) blaming "wokefulness" or academia. But pseudo-intellectuals love to make hyperbolic statements that are purely meant to position themselves securely within the bigoted and closed-minded group. For those with functioning brain cells who want to better understand the world they share with other people, this book offers a glimpse using glitter as the vehicle.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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A sort of kids' riddle asks what we buy with the intention to throw away.  And it's not javelins – it's confetti, beyond which is only a small step to glitter.  And no, we might not buy that just to throw it away – we use it to glam ourselves, our notebooks, our kitchen surfaces, lord knows what, up – but it's a similar thing.  And when we buy it to throw over politicians because they're too white, too straight and too male and all those other sins, we're definitely fitting the riddle.  I didn't know before opening this anything about the history of 'glitterbombing', other than there being a Glitterbomb drink available at the pub I used to frequent, but that's another matter.  I also didn't know that to say glitter is trivial, a needless extravagance in an over-consuming world, and one step up from confetti in being a bit naff and useless means you hate gays, blacks, gay blacks and black gays and anyone else who's ever previously been one.

But then this series over the years has shown one thing more than anything else, and that's the hyper-wokist bleurgh that seems to pass as academe in North America these days.

What else does this book show?  Well, it is actually very interesting in revealing the meanings, implied or otherwise, in spreading tiny, tacky surely-can't-be-malicious micro-dots of material, either over your political opponent in anger or over yourself in glee.  It looks at the ecological reasons to dislike the idea of it, and takes us suitably through the more recent ecoglitter forms – and even on into some post-now future world's future-definition of glitter.

It also kind of shows there was not a full-length book, even in this none-more-esoteric series, about the subject for a general browser.  It's 120pp or so, not small print, and on the whole shows that it lacks something whereby it makes the average reader fall in love with knowing all there is to know about glitter.  (At least we don't get too much about the author's gender autobiography to compensate, as is the routine with these books.)  It's thoroughly done stuff, but for the stereotypical commuter read, misses out on something others in the brand have managed.
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Thank you to Netgalley, Nicole Seymour and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this book, in exchange for an honest review!

I did not realise this was a book about actual glitter, but I admire it. I particularly loved the memoir parts.
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My total apologies.  This book was not for me at all.  I thought that it was a fiction story.  It wasn't.  Thank you.  I just couldn't get through it, but that could have been because I just didn't get the concept
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I love this series. Each book focuses on a specific "object". The author's of each volume put varying amount of themselves into the text. Some are basically a memoir. This one was not, with Nicole just briefly mentioning scant personal details. She focuses on the subject matter - glitter. She looks at it through a few lenses: queerness, femininity, poetry, presentation, political protest and environmentalism.

I learnt a bit about glitter, but this book is a hot mess. Nicole keeps promising to explain things in the next chapter, and it goes around and around in circles, rather than having a focus and then moving on. Still, it was worth a look and gave me some things to think about.
As always I'll be looking out for whatever comes next in the Object Lessons series.
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My first Object Lessons book in a while, the line's recent entries having for my taste drifted a little too far either from what I think of as an object, or from objects about which I wish to read more. To some extent you could also apply the former accusation to glitter – more than once Seymour yokes it to collective action and identity, saying "No one bit of glitter is glitter; no one bit of glitter glitters." Which doesn't match my experience at all, erasing that magical experience when someone has just one, frequently inexplicable fleck of glitter but it's catching the light so that even solo, it very much does glitter. Still, that inexplicable presence itself does factor in, the book being much taken with glitter as contagion, the way it was used to illustrate the spread of microbes (inaccurately, as it turned out, given how the early fears of surface transmission of COVID turned out to be largely bollocks) or has become a scapegoat for plastic waste in general – even though plenty of glitter now isn't plastic at all, and even though, just sticking within worn items, Seymour points out that far more microplastic pollution stems from washing fleeces. But then by this point it shouldn't really come as any surprise, should it, if something seen as gay, girly, silly comes in for more opprobrium than something dull, blokey and ostensibly practical, and never mind the facts of the matter, because dear gods the puritan streak runs deep; that old suspicion of adornment and fun has never quite gone away, and certainly not here at the end of all things.

Early on I worried the book might have internalised a bit of that itself, determined to compensate for its topic by making sure its credentials as a serious project were unimpeachable. Which is to say that the opening passages threaten to become a theory-heavy slog, the book prone to tripping over itself as it desperately endeavours to phrase everything in ways that account for intersectionality &c, which necessarily tends to get in the way of anything approaching pithy rhetoric. Mercifully, that soon subsides, Seymour ready to bring out a concept such as the delightful "tactical frivolity" when it's genuinely enlightening, but not to the extent of overwhelming other avenues. This can mean anything from etymological work (I feel like a dolt for not realising Gawain And The Green Knight is the first recorded appearance of the word 'glitter', and was startled to learn that there's no proven historical link between the two meanings of 'tacky', despite the fact glitter is both) to the wonderful thoughts on glitter of a friend's five-year-old: '" a heart." When she asked him to elaborate, he explained, "it's like the heart like beeping...because it goes shiny and then it doesn't go shiny...and that is like a beat."' That glitter has played a forensic role in at least three US homicide cases makes perfect sense when you see it written down, but had never occurred to me before; the comparison with sumptuary laws is a solid way to catch its subversive quality. Which has of course been recharged in this dreadful decade: that erroneous use of glitter to model virus behaviour ushered in a period when most of the events at which glitter makes sense were illegal for a year and change; even now, they are still regarded with suspicion by many, including plenty of their former habitues. Hell, I've still not cracked most of the pots of the biodegradable stuff I purchased shortly before the world fell over, and one section here is a transcript of a Zoom 'event' which perfectly captures the soul-sapping quality of that whole benighted medium. No matter if it is between glittered-up participants and on the topic of glitter, videoconferencing remains fundamentally the opposite of glitter. On which note, I was particularly taken with the section on the difficulties of depicting glitter, especially in animation, where the substance's ability to reflect the environment can cause an enormous extra drain on computer resources. So that's another item supporting my theory that, if the world is a simulation, then the 2020s has been all about whoever's running it trying to get their operating costs down. Still, maybe I should break some out again, and not purely out of spite. As per the quote from TL Cowan's GLITTERfesto, "GLITTER strategically pretends like everything is okay. This is a survival strategy. GLITTER knows that everything is not okay."

(Netgalley ARC)
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Glitter is, well, a book about glitter, part of the Object Lessons series that explores an everyday object through particular lens. In this one, Nicole Seymour explores the uses of and connotations behind glitter, thinking about its environmental impact, its position as a symbol of frivolity, and ways it is seen as hard to get rid of. She also considers how it has been used in products like glitter pizza and beer, has become a symbol of protest, and is important to depictions of gender and sexuality.

This is the second of the Object Lessons series I've read, and I really like how these short non-fiction books take different approaches, sometimes exploring the history of an item or its societal impact, sometimes charting personal histories, and sometimes looking to culture or the future of the item. In Glitter, the titular substance is defended against its haters, whilst acknowledging the environmental impacts of plastic glitter, and also considered in what it can stand in for. 

I particularly liked the way that the book concludes by thinking of glitter as more of a colour or an idea, rather than just a physical item, and how this might allow its rehabilitation in the face of ecological crisis. The fact that 'glitter' is sometimes a colour (e.g. as a text colour) reinforces this and I found it a very interesting point. I also enjoyed the tensions between ecological and societal elements, and also the connotations involved with different kinds of aesthetics, and these felt like good frames to view glitter through. Both of the Object Lessons books I've read now have felt like reading queer history (and future) through an object and I really like this approach, so I'd definitely read more in the series.
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This was an interesting read that taught me a lot. I had never thought about glitter other than something that is sparkly, colourful and makes me very happy before, but actually, glitter is so much more than that. it has impacted so many different areas and the author has researched them so well that this was a fascinating and enlightening read. I will def think about glitter in a more intellectual way now than just oh shiny ... gimme
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