Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Guilty Confessions

Mikaela admits:
I, too, have bought books. Yes, even though I'm supposed to be focused on my thesis. Some of them were relevant. Some weren't. I admit it! I'm a book addict. Amazon is my dealer.

For the thesis, I bought a copy of John Forester's classic Planning in the Face of Power. I write about his distinction between hearing and listening here.

While I was at it, I bought Dolores Hayden's beautiful picture book, A Field Guide to Sprawl.

I was inspired because a former professor of mine, Robert Bruegmann, at the University of Illinois at Chicago just came out with his own book on sprawl that he had been working on since I was first a student there in 1998. He sponsored a National Institute of Health seminar on Sprawl the first summer I was in Chicago that I got to work for.

He had all the heavy hitters there, including Dolores Hayden and Kenneth Jackson (Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States). It was fascinating. Of them all, Bruegmann was the only one openly advocating sprawl. His main argument was that all the arguments against sprawl are not factually correct, and the only substantial argument is simply aesthetic: Sprawl is ugly. He argues that sprawl is environmentally sound, that it's what people want, and that it supports racial diversity, rather than creating white enclaves as is so often argued, wrongly in his opinion. His ironic title: Sprawl: A Compact History. Isn't he clever? Well, you can borrow the book and see for yourself.

I also bought Pierre Bourdieu's Language and Symbolic Power for the thesis. The smartest woman I know swears by it. We'll see when I dive into it after Christmas. He's one of the cultural studies key theorist, mentioned often in the same breath as Gramsci, Foucault, and LeFebvre. You can read my flippant poem of frustration with these cats here.

For fun and temptation, I just bought Brian Green's Fabric of the Cosmos, which I fantasize about here. To round out my popular science library, I picked up a copy of Heinz Pagel's Cosmic Code (now out of print). I haven't even cracked them open, I swear!


Blogger marjorie said...

yeah--i see those amazon boxes rolling in, Ms. M. I'd like to check out the Bourdieu.

12:52 PM  
Blogger mjae said...

And one that came yesterday:

Deception on His Mind by Elizabeth George. A mystery recommended by one of the smartest men I know, who's not usually into mysteries.

Hoping for the best!

2:03 PM  
Blogger Dean said...

An excerpt from Sprawl: A Compact History by Robert Bruegmann is available on the University of Chicago Press website: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/076903.html

12:52 PM  

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