A marvelous book (that I've finally got around to reading) from Virginia Postrel, who I like to call The Smartest Woman in the World. I seem to recall from her blog that the original title was Look and Feel; that would have been better, I think.
And if this book had been written by someone else, I probably wouldn't have read it. As matters stylistic go, I'm solidly in the lower percentiles of the bell curve. Should Ms. Postrel visit my house, I would imagine an uncomfortable silence as she scanned the rooms, perhaps with a small arch of the eyebrow, gently biting her lower lip.
But I digress. Even if you don't think you're interested in that stuff, Ms. Postrel will make you interested, because her observations are fresh, insightful, and cleanly laid out with zero academic bafflegab. Topics range from toilet brushes, computers, cosmetic practices of Afghan women, plastics, shopping malls, and many, many more. She goes through life with eyes wide open, and she'll tell you interesting things that you'll be glad to know.
Coincidentally, Ms. Postrel recently had a blog post semi-lamenting the "respectable but unspectacular sales" of this book. So consider this an unabashed plug; the link above goes to Amazon, so go there and buy a copy already. (The link actually goes to the hardcover edition, because that's what I read, but you should buy the in-print paperback to get her the royalty.) You won't be sorry. Don't take two years to read it, either, as I did.