Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Planet Earth, Tiny Homes, and My Own Space

When I started college, I was studying architecture - it truly is my first love. Unfortunately, math and science are not my strong subjects of study, and I ended up having to take the first of several math class for the pre-architecture program three times before I passed...and did so only marginally. Though not good with numbers, I could easily forsee that pursuing a degree which required taking classes multiple times would take forever.

Having dropped architecture, I floundered for a while and dabbled in education and literature classes. Eventually I stumbled upon social work and was instantly captivated. To this day, though pursuing a graduate degree in geriatric social work, my love for architecture still exists. Two of the coolest books on the subject that I have come across at the bookshop are A Place of My Own and Little House on a Small Planet.

Michael Pollan is best known for his 2006 work Omnivore's Dilemma and 2008 follow-up In Defense of Food. Written before his newly found fame, A Place of My Own offers up a quarkier, more personal side of Pollan. With guest appearances from builder/construction worker friends, reflections on Woolf and Thoreau, and initial writings on food and its connection between humans and the land from which it comes, Pollan covers an array of topics. What I found most captivating, though, were his thoughts on space; the questions he asked himself and readers regarding how much living space they actually need, and if their homes accurately reflect these answers.

And while I grew up in a household of five where one bathroom sufficed, some of the coolest homes I've yet to see - and currently desire - are not outlandish and huge. Rather, they are smaller and use space wisely; cuter and distinctly unique; eco-friendly and more energy-efficient than modern-day monstrosities. They are, of course, little houses on are ever-seeming-to-become-smaller planet...and suprisingly in sync with my own answers to Pollan's questions. You'll definitely want to stop in and take a peek at both of these titles!

~ Ross Wulf, Bookseller


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