Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams Paperback – December 30, 2008
|New from||Used from|
"Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)" by David Sedaris
In one of the most anticipated books of 2017, David Sedaris tells a story that is, literally, a lifetime in the making. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Michael Pollan's A Place of My Own might be suspiciously viewed by some readers as a text begging for interpretation. What is it that causes this man at midlife to attempt to put up a structure, an actual wood and concrete dwelling, where he can work on his own craft away from his domestic life? Arguably, Pollan's intentions are more transparent than a too clever postmodern audience can easily appreciate. The author of this fine, well-crafted book offers an explanation that seems honest and understandable: "Whenever I heard myself described as an 'information service worker' or a 'symbolic analyst,' I wanted to reach for a hammer, or a hoe, and with it make something less virtual than a sentence."
In Pollan's bestselling book Second Nature: A Gardener's Education, he illustrated his facility with both hoe and pen. In A Place of My Own he hefts the hammer and again records with great intelligence how thoroughly thought and reflection can be woven into our common lives and the patterns of a day's work. His book's subtitle, "An Education of an Amateur Builder," captures much of what this book contains: the lessons learned by a diligent student of architecture, design, and construction. The writing contains no gaps or unsightly seams, and it's full of clues to readers who share a similar desire to build something tangible in a world that prizes the evanescent. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
Wanting to have a place of his own where he could think and write, Pollan decided to erect a small structure in the woods behind his house. Fancying himself a modern-day Thoreau, he wanted to build his "dream hut" with his own hands, even though he had no carpentry skills or experience. We learn very little about how to build a small structure; the majority of this book is devoted to Pollan's pretentious musings about a variety of architectural theories and about his interaction with the architect and carpenter who helped him (wasn't this supposed to be a simple structure?). Although it cost Pollan $125 per square foot and took him two and one-half years to build, ultimately it is the reader who works the hardest. Libraries serving those with a strong interest in architecture will want this title; other libraries should skip this book.?Jonathan Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Pollan refers frequently to Thoreau and shared his desire to find a place of his own to write and spent untold hours surveying his land, bringing a chair to rest upon to look at each aspect at different times of day before selecting the perfect site for his hut. He wrote a letter to his architect to describe what he was looking for, and pored over drawings with the architect. Realizing his limitations as a handyman, he selected a skilled young carpenter to help him one day a week on the project. He visited the mill from which the wood was sourced, and found a custom shop to produce the windows where he planed some of the lumber for the framework himself. He developed a genuine reverence for the wood used in his hut, having selected and sanded and nailed almost every piece himself. He wrote that "buildings give us a way to leave a lasting mark, to conduct a conversation across the generations."
He concluded with "So this was the house for the self that stood a little apart and at an angle, the self that thought a good place to spend the day was between two walls of books in front of a big window overlooking life." The book concludes just as he is moving his books into the "writing house". I only wished that he had extended the book a bit to give us some flavor of his experience of working in the writing house, whether it inspired him or made him more productive. Indeed his writing career really flourished after the hut was built, but I think only his first book or two were written in Connecticut before he moved to Berkeley, California.
There's certainly some of that present in this book, but there's also a lot of talk on architecture and its movement and meanings. A lot. I consider myself a bit of an information sponge and love learning about a variety of topics, but I found this very dry. I often wished the discussions of architecture included basic drawings the same way some of the construction detail sections do, so that perhaps I'd have some concrete idea what he was referring to. This is a very "writerly", head in the clouds, theoretical take on a subject, and for me it was just too abstract.
Pollan is at his best in this book when describing people. He brings his carpenter and his architect to vivid life and imbues a real sense of humor into his work with, and challenge between, each of them. The segment about how all roads lead to gun control with carpenter Joe is without a doubt my favorite few pages in the book. The details of construction and his reverence for his materials are engaging and understandable, despite my lack of familiarity with the subject.
All told, this is a well-written book that happened to miss the mark for me personally.