The gravitational pull of my current project is such that it’s even changing the way I’m choosing U.S. history books for 8-year-old S and 3-year-old F.

This month, we’re focusing on biographies of Americans born within a decade of Alan Lomax — between 1905 and 1925. The subjects are an eclectic bunch:

The boys’ favorite so far seems to be the Grace Hopper book, because of its deft use of a visual pun. It includes a photograph of the computer bug — that is, the actual moth, taped to a notecard — that brought an early room-sized calculator to its knees. Even Jackson Pollock can’t compete with that.