Come meet the author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, Jane Brox at Tin Mountain Nature Learning Center, 1245 Bald Hill Road, Albany, NH on Thursday, July 21, 7 p.m. Jane Brox has been to North Conway for an author event several years ago to celebrate a previous book, Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm. She is also the author of Five Thousand Days Like This One, which was a 1999 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Here and Nowhere Else, which won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She has received AbeBooks promos with the New England Book Award for nonfiction, and her essays have appeared in many anthologies including Best American Essays, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology.
In Brilliant, Jane Brox traces the fascinating history of human light from the stone lamps of the Pleistocene to the LEDs embedded in fabrics of the future – and reveals that the story of light is also the story of our evolving selves. As Brox uncovers the social and environmental implications of the human desire for more and more light, she captures with extraordinary intensity the feel of historical eras: the grit and difficulty of daily life during the long centuries of meager illuminations when crude lamps and tallow candles constricted waking hours; and the driven, almost crazed pursuit of whale oil and coveted spermaceti across the world’s oceans.
She indelibly portrays, too, the emergence of a vibrant street life under gaslight, a new illumination which not only opened up the evening hours to leisure, but also fundamentally changed the ways we live and sleep. These changes became all the more pronounced with the advent of incandescent light, as Edison’s “tiny strip of paper that a breath would blow away” produced illumination that seemed to its users all but divorced from human effort or cost. And yet, as Brox’s informative, chilling portrait of our current grid system shows, the cost is ever with us.
Brilliant is a compelling story imbued with human voices, startling insights, and—only a few years before it becomes illegal to sell most incandescent light bulbs in the United States—timely questions about how the light of the future will shape our lives.
Immediately prior to the author series program, at 6 PM the public is invited to the Tin Mountain artist of the month gallery reception to meet and greet local watercolorist, Jane Carlson. Tin Mountain Nature Programs are sponsored by L.L. Bean and Evenor Armington Fund. Donations of $3/person and $5/family are appreciated; members are free.