Thursday, June 27, 2013

Peek Inside NYC

My inner voyeur took great delight in this book!

I loved peeking into these homes and the lives of their occupants. At first, I was disappointed that there weren't more photos included. (And also that the photos which began each chapter were in black and white.) About a third of the way into it, however, I decided I was glad there weren't photos as I'm convinced the imagination of my mind's eye probably composed more vivid scenes than the limitations imposed by the lens of a camera. (I believe this to be especially true in regards to Chapter 11, A Man and His Miscellany. What a terrific read!)

Somehow my very lengthy and well-worded first draft of this review was lost. I quoted from the chapter on the Austen House on Staten Island (another favorite for me) and mentioned that it was details such as the period architectural details of the house and the floorboards made from the hulls of whaling ships that had piqued that old flame within of the young person who dreamed of going off to the Big Apple to go for it all with gusto and verve!

The colorful details and imagery used throughout the various essays on the living spaces is wonderful. I found the New York sensability of naming people (referring to the married women in the essays by their maiden names) evocative of a place and social class system very different from that in which I live. (I must admit it felt a bit "superior" to me!) I always find it rewarding to be exposed to cultural phenomena that help to expand a person's world-view.

This book now tops my list of non-fiction recommendations for book clubs. I think it would also be a tremendous source for students going into journalism or other writing careers.

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