What’s on my Nightstand: March 2013

Here’s the highlights of what I’ve been reading lately. As always, if I’m missing out on anything cool, let me know in los commentos, which is not Spanish for anything.

A stack of “Rolling Stone” magazines

You may not know it, because so far I haven’t had anything new to add to the endless “music and architecture” conversation, but I’m a big music fan. Rolling Stone is a good barometer of music culture. I will admit, though, after years of arbitrarily ignoring “Spin”, I found myself leafing through an issue and being intrigued. Who knows, maybe by this time next year I’ll have jumped ship.


This was a birthday gift that I have been slowly working through a few shelves at a time. Frankly, as one who puts function highest on the list of priorities for a bookshelf, most designs come across as gimmicky. There are plenty that are thought-provoking or just plain cool, though.

Nine Stories

My nighttime reading wouldn’t be complete without some short stories, and in this batch we have J.D. Salinger’s classic collection. I have a friend who adores this book, and I finally decided to see what she likes so much about it. The collection is an amazing portrait of post-WWII America; not the whitewashed idyllic ‘5o’s we have come to think of, but the lives of the conflicted soldiers and their families. If you’re on the fence like I was, just read “For Esme — With Love and Squalor”. It will break your heart, and you’ll be reading the rest of them in no time.

The Sandman

This series of comics is written by Neil Gaiman, and fans of his will know that this guarantees the story to be top-notch. Each anthology covers one long arc or many short tales, usually exploring themes of mortality and dreams. Combine this with beautifully detailed artwork and it’s easy to see why this joins Sin City and The Watchmen as graphic novels that have managed to break out of the insular comic world and into the mainstream.

The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape

This amazing book traces the origin of the American suburb, detailing how the groundwork was laid well before the explosion of spec housing following World War II. In fact, elements of suburban mentality can be traced back to America’s first settlements. All those things that annoy you about suburban life, but you just couldn’t find the words to explain how? James Howard Kunstler, the author, gives a cutting sarcastic voice to all of your frustrations with suburbia. He also was evidently once editor of Rolling Stone, so that makes this the most coincidentally thematic “Nightstand” post to date.

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