This month has been a busy and exciting time. I moved to another country for work. Going back to school means sacrificing various aspects of my life like the ability to read for fun. That isn’t to say that there isn’t lots to read. There is an endless list of things for me to read both in terms of general readings and fun bonus readings that profs expect us to do. We have been warned not to try and do all the readings because they will both literally crush us (under the sheer bulk of books) and in terms of our mental health and ability to lead balanced lives. On the other hand profs keep doing this annoying thing where they expect us to have done the readings when we show up to class. I’m always like you do remember saying that we shouldn’t even try to do all the readings right?
I am reading. Not as much as I am supposed to be. Apparently I only got through three books. That doesn’t include the heaps of PDFs. At least it’s a lot faster to write.
Out of the Woods: The Armchair Guide to Trees by Will Cohu
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space by Jan Gehl
I bought Out of the Woods by Will Cohu randomly while strolling around Waterstones. It’s a nice bookstore with loads of good stuff in it. I was still living in temporary accommodation before moving in and had lots of time on my hands. I was almost done the book I was on so I bought it. Out of the Woods was quirky and humourous. I learned a lot about trees and left with a greater appreciation for forested areas. It was focused on England so I don’t know how much of it is relevant here.
I found Case Histories by Kate Atkinson at a Little Free Library in Vancouver. I’d read A Night at the Museum and liked it so I decided to take it home. I didn’t have time to read it so I brought it to Calgary. It ended up in my backpack on the flight over mostly because Atkinson is from Scotland. I thought that would be appropriate. I really liked the novel and her take on detective stories. The characters were interesting and she revealed things in clever ways. Unlike many detective novels she didn’t do anything too crazy or over the top. The story lead the way.
Of all the books on our list Life Between Buildings by Jan Gehl seemed like the most interesting one so I decided to read it first. I’ve read his work before and liked it. The ideas are interesting and there are lots of pictures — the upside of urban design is that some of the books include a lot of pictures.