Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit
How is the logging of the Sierra like a Brazilian wax? All of Rebecca Solnit’s books are great, but this one about, among other things, how we get from place to place and the kinds of footprints we leave, the connections between all kinds of strange bedfellows, stays with you long afterwards. In the essay about following Benjamin’s last walk over the Pyrenees you know the period at the end of the sentence, how it will end, but her reading of his last days is especially poignant.
The Future of Nostalgia by Svetlana Boym
Her interpretations of Berlin, in particular, help clarify a city so full of re-writings and re-inventions; she navigates several entrancing landscapes while pointing out the buried dinosaur ribs of history before you trip over them.
Berlin: City of Stones: Book One and City of Smoke: Book Two, both of which are graphic novels by Jason Lutes
Drawn with the kind of detail found in Hergé, interconnecting an enormous range of characters and factions from Communist to Fascist, misguided seductions from the personal to the political between the wars. I couldn’t put these down and hope, though they took years to write, that the third one is out soon.
Susan Daitch recommends BERLIN BOOK ONE and TWO.