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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
From a young age, Matthew Newton understood that the shopping mall offered visitors far more than a collection of stores, it was a place of curiosity, ritual, and fantasy. The mall near Newton's childhood home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-the state's first enclosed shopping mall, and the backdrop for filmmaker George A. Romero's zombie opus Dawn of the Dead-was a destination that drew hundreds of strangers together at any given time; a climate-controlled pleasuredome that boasted the first indoor ice skating rink on the East Coast; and a place where waterfalls, fish ponds, and a monolithic clock tower were illuminated year-round beneath a canopy of interconnected skylights. Part memoir and part case study, Shopping Mall examines the modern mythology of the shopping mall-not only for the place it holds in our collective memory, but also for the significant role that this ubiquitous public space has played in our shared cultural history.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.