Spike's Blog

BOOKLIST'S featured book of the day: "A Walk Around the Block"

Posted: 9/23/2020 5:58:15 PM

Check out the starred review and "Book of the Day" from Booklist



Adult Books - Nonfiction - Geography, Travel, &       Culture


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Titles similar to A Walk around the Block


A Walk around the Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About)


Spike Carlsen

Award winner Ebook Oct. 2020. 336p. illus. HarperOne, $24.99  (9780062954756); e-book, $12.99  (9780062954770). 031. 
REVIEW. First published September 1, 2020 (Booklist).

The day no water flowed from his faucets, Minnesota-based carpenter and writer Carlsen realized that he knew nothing about all “the things that sustain us.” This inspired a home-centered yet wide-roaming investigation and this lively, funny, surprising, anecdotal, and enlightening chronicle. Carlsen crisply illuminates the history and mechanics of our water and power supply systems, streets and sidewalks, and garbage and recycling processing. Nature is honored in his tributes to all the wonders trees bestow upon us and the remarkable yet maligned lives of pigeons and squirrels. Each curious detail about fire hydrants, sewage, front porches, and parking alters the way we see our habitats. Carlsen’s immersion in the postal system, an urgent subject as the pandemic and looming presidential election converge, leads to a fresh look at the evolution of communication technologies and the cellphone-oriented equipment we can spy on our neighborhood strolls. Environmental concerns shape his observations and are pinpointed in practical “Walk the Walk” sections, while he has fun with statistics in “Hacks & Facts” lists. He also advocates for walking, noting both physical and mental benefits. Writing in the mode of Edward Humes, David Owen, and Mary Roach, Carlsen offers an eye-opening and exuberantly informative walk-around-the-block tour that is made-to-order for this time of necessary at-homeness.

— Donna Seaman