March 1, 2021

Recommended: “The Address Book”

Here’s a recommendation for a book I haven’t even finished yet.

Yes, a whole book about street addressing.  It’s like one of those long-form New Yorker articles on a subject you never thought about and can’t imagine would be of sustained interest, like surveying.  You would be wrong.

It begins among the unaddressed in Kolkata and ends … well, I don’t know yet.  This is not a book to rush.  I save each chapter to consume one at a time, like selecting a chocolate in a particularly tempting box.  Nor are there a lot of empty calories. I’ve gained all kinds of related information and insights (why American cities use numbers to name streets, why Japanese don’t use names at all).

Indeed, I wish I had read the chapter on Korea and Japan (“Must streets be named?”) before visiting Tokyo.  I would have seen the city in a different way, more like the Japanese see their cities (and the world).

This book is about culture, not just numbers (or lack of them), and why urbanism is such a key to understanding the issues (like race and power) that capture our attention today.

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  1. Thanks for the reminder about this book, Gordon! I just downloaded it from Audible, and I can’t wait to listen to it while taking beautiful walks in Cascadia! 🙂

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