Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rainy Day Books, pt. 1

This was never meant to be a book blog, but I am a library student after all. And it's been raining here in Danbury for several days, which can make for some very interesting artistic photography, but not so much when you're trying to represent the architectural highlights of Main Street in their best light.

I just finished reading Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places, by John R. Stilgoe, Orchard Professor of Landscape History at Harvard University. (I'm not making that up; that's what it says on the back cover.) The author's purpose in writing this little (187 pp) book is to open our eyes to the man-made landscape, and in particular to those portions of it that we have been conditioned to ignore: power line, rail, and interstate rights-of-way; the strips of land behind commercial strip malls; all the main roads that immediately became "back roads" when the interstate came through. If you've ever wondered why it takes so long to get a letter from Point A to Point B, when some cities used to have twice-a-day mail delivery; if you've ever wondered about all those faded enameled signs at the town limits, announcing the monthly meetings of various men's service clubs; if the idea of being a modern day explorer, on foot or on a bicycle, appeals to you, then you'll enjoy this book.


Mikabelle said...

Sounds very interesting. It's hard to imagine anything can be said about the strips of land behind strip mall. I think of them as usually lonely dirt lots with bits of trash and some random vegetation. Now I'm curious!

Sharon said...

Wonderful! Then I've done my job! Thanks for joining in on the conversation.