Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Books We Read

Spending a week in a small, snow-covered cabin in the woods without television or internet, inevitably books become a central part of daily life. Armed with several new books, the entire family picked up something to read.

I was given a wonderful gift of Natural Flair by Klaus Kramp, a survey of contemporary buildings around the world which are particularly connected to the landscape and feature alternative energy systems. Talk about a perfect gift for inspiring James and me to set some new goals for Bouler Architecture.

Jackson and I enjoyed looking through the lush photography of The Way We Live With the Things We Love, a book about what people collect and display in their homes, a recommendation from Holy Hudson. It was interesting to see the objects which tickle someone's fancy enough to collect in the truckload: was the collection singular? eclectic? nostalgic? ethnic? Jackson thought of his godzilla collection and I realized after my fifth chicken purchase that I was inadvertently collecting those. The book, however, could do with a little more analysis of this drive to clutter a space with objects. In the end, as much as I enjoyed the book, it made me want to clean house.

Olivia curled up with one of the new Warrior books by Erin Hunter. We didn't see her until the next day, once the 400 page book had been properly devoured.

The Calvin and Hobbes Anniversary Collection became the family hit. Everyone took a turn reading the classic comic strip, which is as fantastic today as it was when it was in the naily papers. I particularly enjoyed reading Bill Wattersons' commentary, as he explained the genesis of his ideas, the challenges of the format, and the conflicts between his artistic integrity and commercial interests inherent in syndication.

On the car ride up and back, we listed to the audiobook of Outliers, read by Malcolm Gladwell, written in his usual anecdotal analysis of our culture, this time about those who surpass societal norms. It was an engaging read that brought on a couple of discussions and helped pass the hours in the car.

So if you are in search of something for the bookshelf or a way to spend a holiday gift card, these are some of the family recommendations.

1 comment: said...

checking out the cover of 'the way we live' inspired an idea of questionable taste: I saw a huge old mac monitor (clear lucite imac style) in a thrift store for $10). I figure, another 5 for a fireplace dvd and hook up my old dvd player, and I've got a permanent digital fireplace burning away on the floor next to my kitchen door. hmmmm