At the end of February I’ll be heading to Japan for a couple of months – introducing the baby to her Japanese family – and I am likely to spend most of that time in a suburban town outside of Tokyo. I’ll have the usual stuff to keep me busy, jogging, a little baby, trips into the city and the rest, but travelling around the country out because of the baby, plus I’ve seen a lot of it already. So I reckon I’m going to have to kick my reading up a notch or two to keep from getting too bored. I can speak Japanese, but trying to read book in Japanese would be a futile exercise and my past experience - I lived in Tokyo for a year and a half during college - has been that English books tend to be expensive there, so I’ve got to get them before I leave.
Here’s the list of non-fiction books I’ve acquired and will bring with me:
- Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt. I’ve heard this is a good read, and pretty informative.
- The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Ben Schiendelman lent me this about a week after I met him, and it was a great read. I’m going to take the opportunity to read this again.
- The Electric Interurban Railways in America by George Hilton. This was recommended to me at a meet-up by someone, and I’ve always been interested in the Interurbans.
This list is pretty short. I’ve ramped up to a book or two a week these days, and I imagine I can do twenty to twenty-five in the eight weeks I’ll be over there, plus two for the flights there and back. My rule is that I alternate reading fiction and non-fiction, so I really ought to have at least eight or nine more non-fiction books to bring over. Any recommendations? I’m particularly interested in books on transportation, transit or urban planning. I’m less interested in the sort of Geography of Nowhere books that are only condemnations of cars – I already know that story, and it’s kind of depressing - but if someone has a recommendation for a book that has convincing ideas about how to improve and promote sustainability and walkability in suburban neighborhoods that would especially welcome.
* blog + beg = bleg.