I am so excited! I just got a new book, one I’ve wanted to read for a long time. By German historian David Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany finally arrived in the mail!
I’ve been wanting to read this for so long that as soon as I busted it loose from it’s Amazon box, I flipped to the introduction and started reading.
Mind you, I am also currently reading Paris Reborn: Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City, by Stephane Kirkland. It’s a fascinating tale of how Paris was literally rebuilt in the mid-1800s. I can’t put it down.
And I have a stack of books waiting anxiously for me to pick them up and start them as well. Several are from work, one is in German, one I’ve technically finished but need to go back and take some notes on, and then there are the Nook books I’ve downloaded, which are mostly easy, fun fiction.
I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired on the sewing front lately, and craving intellectual stimulation, hence the mad need to read everything *right now*. I love being exposed to new ideas, and seeing how things all fit together. It stimulates my little grey cells, as Hercule Poirot calls them (yes, I’ve read those books too). I love getting new ideas and researching things to learn more, and find more, and on and on. I often think that I could easily be an academic and do nothing but read and write all day long.
I’m sort of in the research and write mode right now. On the first page of the introduction, in the first paragraph, Blackbourn mentions Wilhelm Boelsche, a writer, poet, and social reformer in early 20th century Germany who was also involved in the “Garden City” movement that “promoted more green space”* in German cities. What?! A green space movement in early 1900s Germany?! I need to know more about this – especially as we, a century later, are going through such a movement.
I’ve already found some really fascinating stuff online. There are a few recent academic sources, such as this PhD dissertation on the Columbia University Academic Commons website, a paper on the CUNY Baruch website, a Wikipedia entry (of course) that talks mostly about the British roots of the movement but lists Buckingham in Arlington, VA, as an example of a garden city. (Wait a minute! That’s near me! Now I will need to walk around this area and examine it more closely – how much of it still exists the way architect Henry Wright intended? This also explains alot about why I love my neighborhood.)
See? I’ve found out some really great stuff in a short amount of time. I can’t wait to read more, both about the Garden City Movement in Germany, and Blackbourn’s book itself. And I want to continue with Paris Reborn, because I think there are probably many parallels between the two, as well as many lessons to be learned. And adding green spaces into cities, to give citizens places to play, and relax, and be in nature, feeds right back into my interest about children in nature and brain development.
But really – there just is NOT enough time in the day to get all this reading done! What makes me think I can do this, as well as everything else? I must have a problem. It’s like a shopping addiction, or a chocolate addiction, I guess – I want MORE!!! I really wish I could write academic papers again, but I guess I can’t, so I’ll have to satisfy myself with a blog post down the road about how I see these two books fitting together. It will give me a good excuse to dust off some of my thesis research as well, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I suppose I won’t get much sewing done until after the wedding anyway, so I might as well make use of this more portable hobby, and get some reading done!
*Blackbourn, David. The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2006. Page 3.