Dynamist Blog

New Video: Cochineal Dyeing

Following up on my previous video, on the history of cochineal, once the world's most valuable red dye, I tried my hand at using it and learned first-hand a few things I'd previously only known from books.

To see all my videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

UPDATED: In 2020, a Book Tour Means Never Having to Leave Your Kitchen

To promote The Fabric of Civilization, I've been doing lots of podcasts and Zoom talks from a makeshift studio in my kitchen. I use block-printed fabric I bought in India as a backdrop to cover the doors to my washer and dryer. You can get an idea of how it looks from these screen shots of a Zoom talk where I'm sharing my screen and one where I'm answering questions, or check out the videos.

Podcasts have replaced radio interviews as the book tour's bread and butter publicity, and I've been doing loads of them. They're generally a satisfying experience, because hosts have read the book and you can have a real conversation. Check these out:

a16z with Sonal Chokshi: "Textiles as Tech, Science, Math, Culture… or Civilization" Tech-oriented podcast hosted by the Andreesen Horowitz venture capital firm.

The Woven Road with Meadow Coldon: "The Fabric of Civilization, Interview with Virginia Postrel" Podcast hosted by "an inquisitive, knitting archaeologist in exploring the rich fiber art traditions from across history and around the world."

init with Dave Birnbaum: "Textiles and Tech" Podcast about the "tactile internet."

The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg: "Hipster Luddites" Podcast from a free-thinking conservative

EconTalk with Russ Roberts: "Virginia Postrel on Textiles and the Fabric of Civilization" Economics podcast

The Reason Interview with Nick Gillespie: "Virginia Postrel: When Calico Was Treated Like Cocaine" Wide-ranging interviews with a libertarian slant. Here's a short video based on that interview:

Virtual Memories Show with Gil Roth: "Virginia Postrel" Podcast "about books and life," focused on writers, artists, and comics creators.

Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb O. Brown: "The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World" The libertarian think tank's podcast, often focused on books

The Bookmonger with John J. Miller: "The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia Postrel" Short interviews about books, produced by National Review.

The Curious Task with Alex Aragona: "Virginia Postrel—How Do Textiles Shape Society?" Philosophy, politics, economics, and other ideas from a classical liberal perspective.

Alain Guillot: "Virginia Postrel, How Textiles Made the World" Personal development, personal finance, entrepreneurship

How to Get a Signed Copy of The Fabric of Civilization

Under normal circumstances, I'd be planning extensive travel and many in-person talks to promote The Fabric of Civilization when it comes out November 10. Instead, I'm doing Zoom appearances and podcasts. Knowing they won't be seeing me in person, several people have asked how they can get a signed copy. There are two options:

1) Pre-order a copy from any of the links to the right or buy it from your local bookstore. Email me at vp at vpostrel.com with the receipt, your address, and the name you want the book inscribed to and I'll mail you a signed bookplate.

2) Pre-order a copy through Chevalier's Books in L.A. When they receive their books, I'll sign them and they'll mail your copy to you. It will not, however, be personalized. If you want a particular name as part of the inscription, you need to get a bookplate.

Early Readers Love THE FABRIC OF CIVILIZATION!

I'm thrilled to see how enthusiastic early readers are about The Fabric of Civilization. Check out the early praise on the book's Amazon page and pre-order to get your copy on publication day!

The blurbs on the Amazon page were solicited from well-known experts in history, technology, and innovation. Fiber artists have also been praising the book. One of my favorite reviews comes from the supersmart weaver and color expert Tien Chiu, writing on her blog

I’ve also finished reading a fabulous soon-to-be-released book by Virginia Postrel. It’s The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World, available for pre-order from Amazon. I got my hands on a review copy from Virginia, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the most fascinating and compelling books I’ve ever read on the history of textiles. If you thought Elizabeth Wayland Barber’s Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years was interesting, you’re gonna swoon over this one. I think it’s actually even more interesting than Barber’s book. Run out and preorder your copy now. (I’ll write a more detailed review later, once it gets a bit closer to release.)

Thanks to NetGalley and Goodreads, the book has also gotten a couple of five-star early reviews from grassroots readers who read and review a lot of books. (In other words, my publisher and I don't know these people.) Here's an author's dream (if not a copy-editor's) from :

Breathtaking work of non-fiction!!! I didn't have such a thrill reading a research for a very long time. Both extensive historical research and master storytelling makes this book a hidden art.
Taking into consideration all parts involved, their resources and interests, the author masterfully presents the importance of textile industry un human development and successfuly vice-versa. This is the non-fiction done right and perfect anc can possibly convert more people to research this topic and appreciate textile and clothing more than we do nowadays.
As printed, please, please share a copy with me. This book will have its special place in my brain and bookshelf forever. Thank you! 

Pre-order your copy today from any of the links on the right of this page. (Click on the thumbnails below to see some of the early praise. And follow me on Instagram.

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