A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builderby Michael Pollan
At a turning point in his life, writer Michael Pollan found himself dreaming of a small wood-frame hut in the woods near his house--a place to work, but also a "shelter for daydreams." Weaving the practical with the philosophical, this book presents a captivating personal inquiry into the art of architecture, the craft of building, and the meaning of modern work. Line drawings throughout. Size C. 320 pp. National ads & publicity. 35,000 print.
"I wanted not only a room of my own," he writes, "but a room of my own making." A "radically unhandy man," he sought the guidance of two "Virgils": architect Charles Myer and handyman/carpenter Joe Benney. Pollan wanted a building custom- suited to his needs as a writer, beginning with the site itself. He found pertinent advice in the works of 18th-century writers such as Pope, Walpole, and Addison, but also made serious study of feng shui, a Chinese art of spiritual landscape. He settled on a site next to a large bolder, overlooking his house and pond. Myer's design, "basically a pair of bookshelves holding up a room," provided for an 8-by-13 hut with computer, fax machine, CD player, printer, and stove all within easy reach of Pollan's writing desk. There was tension from the start between the builder and the architect, with Benney making remarks about architects with their heads "in the clouds, if not someplace worse." As the two lead him through the process, from site location to blueprint and from pouring the footers to framing and setting the roof, Pollan muses on philosophy and architecture, with observations on everyone from Roman architect Vitruvius to Hannah Arendt and Frank Lloyd Wright. When the building is done, he's built "a good place to spend the day . . . between two walls of books in front of a big window overlooking life."
An engrossing, charming enterprise, but after all his poetic waxing for "a place of solitude a few steps off the beaten track," Pollan inexplicably denies himself and the reader a payoff passage that finds him comfortably seated at desk, pen in hand, ready for writing.
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 3 MB
Meet the Author
Michael Pollan is the author of the award-winning Second Nature: A Gardener's Education, which received the QPB New Visions prize in 1991. He is editor at large of Harper's Magazine and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. Pollan lives in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut, with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer, and their son, Isaac. His e-mail address is: email@example.com.
- San Francisco Bay Area, California
- Date of Birth:
- February 6, 1955
- Place of Birth:
- Long Island, New York
- Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University
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