You know of Thebes and Memphis, Alexandria and Petra—but what of Mohenjo-Daro and Tikal? And can you name the world’s first city? If not, consider an armchair tour across forty cities in the dawning age of urban life in Cities that Shaped the Ancient World (Thames & Hudson, $40). Edited by the estimably erudite John Julius Norwich, this volume showcases its subjects in four-to eight-page spreads, set off by the vivid illustrations characteristic of a Thames & Hudson fine art volume: detailed depictions of each city’s standout art and architecture (insofar as it is documented) and aerial views of the excavated metropolises. The sampling of cities is admirably varied, drawing of course from the Mediterranean and Levant, but also from the New World, Asia, and Africa, covering cities with a profound historical record as well as those whose material remains are sparse. As Norwich cautions, this collection is not a history book per se; “instead, it spins the globe and watches, as the earth’s endlessly varied peoples take their first tentative steps in that most challenging art of living together.”
Cities That Shaped the Ancient World Cover Image
By John Julius Norwich (Editor)
ISBN: 9780500252048
Availability: Backordered
Published: Thames & Hudson - November 11th, 2014

How perniciously do we judge people on the style of their home and landscaping? What beliefs about society can children pick up from public school design? And how might a desire for increased market share affect hospital design? Architecture is a forthcoming language, and just as she did in her now-canonical The Language of Clothes, Alison Lurie has written a probing primer to the vivid, infinitely subtle semiotics of the material world. Rather than a phrasebook to the jargon of architecture, The Language of Houses (Delphinium, $25.95) is a thorough but accessible exploration of all that buildings communicate, intentionally or unintentionally. Despite the title, the discussion is hardly confined to residences; hospitals and “Houses of God,” big box stores and mental institutions, restaurants and government monuments are all considered, revealing fascinating connections between the discipline of architecture and economics, religious belief, social dynamics, health, and civics. A Pulitzer-laureled novelist and critic, Lurie wears her learning lightly, and peppers the book with personal anecdotes and apt references to literature and its fictional buildings. Using this extended metaphor of language, she illustrates the variations of tone and diction, dialect and volume, depth of vocabulary and syntactical complexity, to which each and every structure is subject. Whether you’re ashamed that you don’t know more about architecture, or are perfectly fluent in its grammar, you’ll delight in this extended appreciation of its capacities.

The Language of Houses Cover Image
ISBN: 9781883285609
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Delphinium - August 19th, 2014

The Language of Houses: How Buildings Speak to Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9781883285661
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delphinium - September 8th, 2015

This book’s eponymous The Third Plate (Penguin Press, $29.95) concept may seem a little gimicky compared to the incredible nuance of the rest of the book, but it is a helpful way of explaining what Dan Barber’s book is about: if the “first plate” of American food is a big steak of dubious provenance with a side of frozen carrots, then farm-to-table, sustainable eating has merely replaced it with an equally big, choice “second plate” of steak, albeit grass-fed and pastured, and a side of organically grown carrots. A “third plate”—the future of American cuisine—must move from what our appetites demand to what good stewardship of the land can offer: say, a stew of carrots in a sauce made of second cuts of meat. Much-laureled chef of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Dan Barber narrates a wide-range of questions and lessons-learned about soil health, tastes in fine dining, ecology, diet, gastronomical prizes, and unconventional agriculture with integrity and insight. Unafraid to reveal his own mistakes and naivete, Barber heralds the possibility of deeper, healthier roots for the farm-to-table movement. A mouth-watering “menu for the future” follows probing chapters on the “dehesa” of Southern Spain, ancient strains of wild wheat, and perplexing new models of fishing. 

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594204074
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - May 20th, 2014

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143127154
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Books - April 7th, 2015