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    5 books you'd take w/ for semester in Europe

    By Tom Denney
    Jul 13, '06 6:38 PM EST

    It looks like I will be spending the fall semester based in Paris and doing a semester there. I want to travel light and have limited myself to only taking 5 books with me. I was curious if anyone had any suggestions of books they would want to have with them. So far I have:

    1. Christopher Alexander's "A Pattern Language"
    2. Kevin Lynch's "Good City Form"
    3. Gaston Bachelard "The Poetics of Space"


    • melivt

      3. the ticino guide
      4. sein und zeit
      5. the thought of construction

      (lose the alexander book and take a few sketchbooks instead, it'll be better for you)

      Jul 13, 06 6:51 pm  · 
      Tom Denney

      sketchbooks and camra are already a given, the books are more for threory and assisting in appreciating on a deeper level the opputunity I will have.

      Jul 13, 06 7:20 pm  · 

      take one for the plane ride, pick up a copy of dwell or FHM at the airport to spice it up, and buy the rest when you land in Europe

      Jul 13, 06 10:18 pm  · 

      The Count of Monte Cristo
      The Origin of Species
      Blank Slate: Modern Denial of Human Nature
      American Psycho
      Comic Book

      Jul 13, 06 10:28 pm  · 

      I'm probably not the best person to recommend only five books: I brought nearly thirty just for my month abroad. Personally, I'd drop the architecture books (especialla A Pattern Language--so much bulk!) and bring five good pieces of literature. Read Proust or Joyce or Woolf or Conrad or James or Flaubert, books that everyone should read regardless of their professional background.

      Jul 14, 06 3:22 am  · 

      yeh, i gotta say is best to drop the archi-books. why read when you can see it all out the window and on the street? There is a reason that corb never carried a camera with him on trips..equally valid for books. a pen, several sketchbooks and some entertaining lit are more than enough.

      The rest is at your feet, no filter required.

      Jul 14, 06 4:12 am  · 

      seriously - the only books you need are sketchbooks, travel guides and maps. If you are brining theory books, take ones that realte to the Parisian experience like viollet-le-duc, guy debord, victor hugo, georges perec louis aragon ... etc.

      Jul 14, 06 4:53 am  · 

      read kerouac at Paris, thats my best suggestion, u will have plenty of external stimulation thru the city, instead of staying in and reading go out and absorbe the way the european city is experienced...then go back home, finish school, work hard for couple of years, and then write your own book...

      no, seriosuly dude, drop the books for a semester and be city-sensitive...the sketch book and Kerouac's book is as much books as i recommend u

      Jul 14, 06 5:06 am  · 

      but, if you must, take the high-middle road:

      Italo Calvino - Cosmicomics, Invisible Cities etc....
      (his books also have the benefit of being small and worthy of multiple reads...)

      Jul 14, 06 8:56 am  · 

      I'd like to take along something lighter in both content and size. If I were in your spot, I picture myself taking a couple of Pamphlet Architecture volumes. Also, i'd bring something that I can really get into for those days in the parisian parks or train rides; a novel-sized good long story. And how about "Guns Germs and Steel" by j. Diamond? It's a history book but he tells everything so simply. I'd use it as a reference for history since everything's a reference in history... you're bound to use something from it in discussions and research.

      Jul 14, 06 3:22 pm  · 

      Take anything in english that you don't mind reading over and over again, especially if your course work is in French. You will want a break from thinking and living in another language.
      DON'T take architecture books - you will want to buy Euro architecture books that you can only find in Paris. I think I brought back over 30 books I found in Italy after my year in Venice.
      And, just remember that all books are freakin' heavy to schlep back.

      Jul 14, 06 3:32 pm  · 
      Arnaud M.

      Delirious New York: Rem Koolhaas
      Human Action: Ludwig von Mises
      Biomimicry: Janine Benyus
      A year in the merde and its sequel: Stephen Clarke, specifically suited for a semester in Paris.

      Jul 14, 06 6:23 pm  · 

      I agree, ditch the architecture books mostly. I bought a book over there called "The Seven Ages of Paris" which was a great history of Paris (written in English). Definitely get Proust. All the english versions you can get over there are the British editions, so they have cooler covers sometimes!

      Jul 15, 06 7:43 am  · 

      umberto eco's 'foucault's pendulum': it's a murder mystery, ultimately. but it tracks through a lot of the places you'll see in paris and offers eco's usual games with reality/history and meaning to keep you from suffering too much brain-atrophy during your visit.

      [the first 50 pages are hell> keep going.]

      Jul 15, 06 7:52 am  · 

      If your an American in Paris, it could be fun to take something by Ernest Hemingway - maybe a book of his short stories.

      Also, the Corb guide by Deborah Gans is excellent. In addition to general info about the projects, it includes addresses, maps, directions, access information etc. for getting into all of the Corb buildings.

      Jul 15, 06 7:56 pm  · 

      Jack Kerouac - On the Road
      Hunter S. Thompson - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
      Earnest Hemmingway - The Sun Also Rises
      JD Salinger - Franny and Zooey
      Thomas Merton - The Seven Storey Mountain

      Jul 16, 06 12:47 pm  · 

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