Michael Pollan’s unmatched ability to draw lines of connection between our everyday experiences - whether eating, gardening, or building - and the natural world has been the basis for the popular success of his many works of nonfiction, including the genre-defining best sellers The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. With this updated edition of his earlier book, A Place of My Own, listeners can revisit the inspired, intelligent, and often hilarious story of Pollan’s realization of a room of his own—a small, wooden hut, his “shelter for daydreams” — built with his admittedly unhandy hands. Inspired by both Thoreau and Mr. Blandings, A Place of My Own not only works to convey the history and meaning of all human building, it also marks the connections between our bodies, our minds, and the natural world.
"[A]n inspired meditation on the complex relationship between space, the human body, and the human spirit.” (Francine du Plessix Gray)
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Great writer, just not my fave of his books.
I hate to put a lower review, because Pollan is a fabulous writer, researcher, storyteller. It's only because this book (along with Second Nature) is completely different from his books The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Botany of Desire. The latter three, I devoured (pun intended), but I couldn't get through much of this one or Second Nature. They're terrific, if you like slow meditative autobiographical stories, but that's not my kind of thing.
Satisfying & I didn't even have to get a splinter.
This book is a wonderful journey for the mind and through Michael Pollan's building adventure. I particularly love Pollan's ability to approach theoretical concepts in a way that actually makes the process interesting and fun, it's like what they wanted to teach you at university (in a BA program) but were usually unable to achieve. Pollan brings the wishy-washy ponce that is architectural theory and sheds light on the primal and emotional aspects that make the art a tangible concept when understanding one's feelings about a space or the importance of dwellings.
It is like an academic text on the philosophy behind architectural theory, but much more fun.
Himself, but I particularly liked the way Pollan wrote about Joe. Not for the gun-control, conspiracy-theorist aspect but for the way Pollan described the depths beneath the blunt handyman exterior and what I see as a yearning for knowledge without the benefits of a background focused on education or skeptical research and critical thinking. I see much of this in my own renovation tradesmen.
I learned about balloon framing! I now look at pine forests and housing estates in a completely new way! Also: the value of meandering garden paths to my studio (which presupposes one has a phone line in the studio or else an answering machine in the house), a better understanding of shingles, sympathy for builders in cold areas dealing with the ravages of frost, an eye tuned to nostalgia in postmodern architecture, appreciation for a well sealed roof, and satisfying smugness for my solid stone country house and renewed awe for the previous owner who built it (and the garden studio) who did it mainly by 'feel'.
I wonder if Michael ever used his daybed or if it just ended up as another horizontal place to put piles of documents and books?