Writing About Place: A Reading List


January 24, 2012, Washington, DC: And then it was everywhere. In every book I opened, every conversation I overheard, every article I read. People were curious about why those around them gravitate to the places they do. Suddenly it was clear I'd been pursuing this independent study for years. While packing and unpacking boxes. While working as a trip leader for a travel company. While studying the sociology and history of cities like New York. While writing essays about my neighborhood from Royal Ground Coffee on Polk Street. Over time, the books piled up, reflective of this narrative I was stringing together. They were reflective of my story. Lens tightly focused on one subject, the proof bubbles up everywhere. To remind you that it's a worthy exploration. That it's a good use of time. That these are good questions.

Read on for my suggested reading list on the power of place and add your suggestions in the comments after the jump.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States by Kenneth T. Jackson

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

Katharine Graham's Washington An anthology by Katharine Graham

A Good Place to Live: America's Last Migration by Terry Pindell

Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner

For The Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places by Peter Kageyama

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel by Lawrence Durrell and Alan Thomas

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser

The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life by Richard Florida

Outside 25: Classic Tales and New Voices from the Frontiers of Adventure by the editors of Outside Magazine

The course continues. Share your favorite books about the power of place in the comments below.