The Great Books Thread

tobyjug

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"The God Delusion" - Richard Dawkins. Very funny.

40 plus years ago read a crumbling copy of U.S. Grant's book that was on my grandfather's shelf. All remember is that writing styles have changed over time. I guess it was a best seller in its day. The reason I think fondly of it is that U.S. was terminally ill and totally broke when he wrote it. I think the sales paid off his debts and set up his family.
 

kennedy

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The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

An interesting read less concerned with formal archi-speak and more of the emotional connection regular people have with the architecture around them.

Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger

More of an academic investigation into the importance of architecture in society, basically explaining "why architecture matters" beyond the provision of shelter.

Both are great reads, and can be bought in paperback at most bookstores. Or, if you're cool, hip, and technical, they can likely be found for Kindle or iPad.
 

GW2500

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Thanks, I might give it a read. Of-course I average a book every 1.5 years so, it might take me a while.
 

Lurker

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http://www.amazon.com/High-Cost-Par...496X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333940072&sr=8-1

Book Description

Publication Date: June 21, 2011
One of APA's most popular and influential books is finally in PAPE, with a new preface from the author on how thinking about parking has changed since this book was first published. In this no-holds-barred treatise, Shoup argues that free parking has contributed to auto dependence, rapid urban sprawl, extravagant energy use, and a host of other problems. Planners mandate free parking to alleviate congestion but end up distorting transportation choices, debasing urban design, damaging the economy, and degrading the environment. Ubiquitous free parking helps explain why our cities sprawl on a scale fit more for cars than for people, and why American motor vehicles now consume one-eighth of the world's total oil production. But it doesn't have to be this way. Shoup proposes new ways for cities to regulate parking - namely, charge fair market prices for curb parking, use the resulting revenue to pay for services in the neighborhoods that generate it, and remove zoning requirements for off-street parking. Such measures, according to the Yale-trained economist and UCLA planning professor, will make parking easier and driving less necessary. Join the swelling ranks of Shoupistas by picking up this book today. You'll never look at a parking spot the same way again.
 
P

Patrick

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http://www.amazon.com/High-Cost-Par...496X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333940072&sr=8-1

Book Description

Publication Date: June 21, 2011
One of APA's most popular and influential books is finally in PAPE, with a new preface from the author on how thinking about parking has changed since this book was first published. In this no-holds-barred treatise, Shoup argues that free parking has contributed to auto dependence, rapid urban sprawl, extravagant energy use, and a host of other problems. Planners mandate free parking to alleviate congestion but end up distorting transportation choices, debasing urban design, damaging the economy, and degrading the environment. Ubiquitous free parking helps explain why our cities sprawl on a scale fit more for cars than for people, and why American motor vehicles now consume one-eighth of the world's total oil production. But it doesn't have to be this way. Shoup proposes new ways for cities to regulate parking - namely, charge fair market prices for curb parking, use the resulting revenue to pay for services in the neighborhoods that generate it, and remove zoning requirements for off-street parking. Such measures, according to the Yale-trained economist and UCLA planning professor, will make parking easier and driving less necessary. Join the swelling ranks of Shoupistas by picking up this book today. You'll never look at a parking spot the same way again.
Thanks for posting this. I just got the Smart Growth Manual which I believe has a subchapter entitled the same as this book and was unaware an entire work was published on the matter. I agree with some of the statements made in the synopsis--mandating minimum off street parking makes no sense and fuels some strange design outcomes. The way I see it, if a developer thinks parking is necessary for their units, whether commercial suites or residential spaces, they will add them to the proposal, but if not they won't be included. Mandating them then makes no sense, other than to alleviate the neighbors who are concerned that they will have to compete for fewer on street spaces--but why they should be ensured that won't be the case has never made sense to me. Instead of demand generating parking spaces, parking requirements are influencing demand (by lessening it for intown structures where parking is scarce and expensive).

A good book I also just got and look forward to skimming is Ed Glaser's Triumph of the City.
 

Beton Brut

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The city needed a wake-up call.
And in that spirit, I reinvigorate this old thread...

If we wish to have a thoughtful conversation about race, socioeconomics, and opportunities in Greater Boston, J. Anthony Lukas's Pulitzer Prize-winning Common Ground is the Rosetta Stone. This is a hard book to plow through, a trove of well-researched details and (secret) histories. We'd all do well to absorb the facts and concepts exposed in its nearly 700 pages.

I read selections from this book half a lifetime ago in a sociology class; as a child of that era, revisiting at middle-age has been quite revealing.
 

tobyjug

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^^^^ Timeless classic.
What an embarrassment Boston was in the early 70's. Belfast on the Atlantic.

My current reading is less lofty! "Excavating Modernity: The Roman Past in Fascist Italy". An examination of the paradox of a movement rooted in Modernism that adopts the historicism of romanita.
 

Beton Brut

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What an embarrassment Boston was in the early 70's. Belfast on the Atlantic.
The distance we've traveled is only a reminder of how far we need to go. See the "comments section" for further details.

Wisdom gained from Lukas:

"In the South, it doesn't matter how close you get, as long as you don't get too high. In the North, it doesn't matter how high you get, as long as you don't get too close."

If we've any expectation of real change, this book needs to be in our water supply.

Your reading list is always of interest, Toby -- and anything about Fascism is germane to our present national dialog...
 

bostonbred

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'fUN With DICKEN Jane"

":confused:aSETRal WEAks: SECRETS history of 196868'

this one being GREAT BOOK of BOSTON Things for the HIP EYE for HIP GUY:cool:
 

dhawkins

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I was a big BCN fan in the 80s!

One book that I really thought had an interesting take on architecture was A Pattern Language. The book offered solutions to address big empty "auto centric" spaces of the new urbanism of the 50s and 60s by looking back to ideas of a building's plazas, porches, and thresholds to create a human space as opposed to the new modern brutalist architecture; to basically activate streets with walking people again. A novel idea for those "pave paradise and put up a parking lot" days.

Link -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_language
 

Arlington

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I highly recommend A Pattern Language. Also wondering what History/Econ experts think of The Great Transformation (by Karl Polanyi) which was recently re-issued in paperback. I'm looking for a slightly more practical version of some of Wendel Berry's stuff.
 

Charlie_mta

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No idea if this book will qualify as “great” by any metric, but I feel morally obligated to purchase it immediately.
I listened to WBCN every night during 1968, and then joined the Navy at the start of 1969. I wasn't going to college, and I had a high chance of being drafted into the Army (or even possibly the Marines) to fight in the Vietnam War, a war which I opposed. But that year of 1968 was special, with some of the best music ever made, and pretty much all of it on WBCN. I'll look into that book,
 

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