A captivating personal inquiry into the art of architecture, the craft of building, and the meaning of modern work
“A room of one’s own: Is there anybody who hasn’t at one time or another wished for such a place, hasn’t turned those soft words over until they’d assumed a habitable shape?”
When Michael Pollan decided to plant a garden, the result was the acclaimed bestseller Second Nature. In A Place of My Own, he turns his sharp insight to the craft of building, as he recounts the process of designing and constructing a small one-room structure on his rural Connecticut property—a place in which he hoped to read, write, and daydream, built with his own two unhandy hands.
Invoking the titans of architecture, literature, and philosophy, from Vitruvius to Thoreau, from the Chinese masters of feng shui to the revolutionary Frank Lloyd Wright, Pollan brilliantly chronicles a realm of blueprints, joints, and trusses as he peers into the ephemeral nature of “houseness” itself. From the spark of an idea to the search for a perfect site to the raising of a ridgepole, Pollan revels in the infinitely detailed, complex process of creating a finished structure. At once superbly written, informative, and enormously entertaining, A Place of My Own is for anyone who has ever wondered how the walls around us take shape—and how we might shape them ourselves.
Praise for A Place of My Own
“A glorious piece of prose . . . Pollan leads readers on his adventure with humor and grace.”—Chicago Tribune
“[Pollan] alternates between describing the building process and introducing informative asides on various aspects of construction. These explanations are deftly and economically supplied. Pollan’s beginner status serves him well, for he asks the kind of obvious questions about building that most readers will want answered.” —The New York Review of Books
“By shrewdly combining just the right mix of personal reflection, architectural background, and nuts-and-bolts detail, Michael Pollan enables us to see, feel, and understand what goes into the building of a house. The result is a captivating and informative adventure.”—John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
“An utterly terrific book . . . an inspired meditation on the complex relationship between space, the human body and the human spirit.”—Francine du Plessix Gray
“A tour de force . . . [Pollan] writes gracefully and humanely. He is a true carpenter-craftsman of prose.”—Phillip Lopate