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Alexandra Horowitz, “On Looking”

4 April 2014 1,785 views No Comment

On LookingThis book is very cool – gentle education on how to take in so much more from your surroundings. The writer takes walks around twelve blocks (she is American), initially on her own and then with different experts who point out specific details according to their area of specialist interest. It’s brilliant learning about the details that Horowitz – and of course ourselves – miss as we cruise by each day thinking that we’re paying attention.
Amongst my favourites were the walk with her son who is preoccupied with shapes, colours, textures and movements only noticeable to a toddler at knee height and with unending interest in the world. There was a walk with a geologist who identified multiple types of rock around a block that seemed at first glance to be all brick. Another was with a visually impaired lady who brought attention to all the non visual elements that you can experience when walking around. Not as obvious as hearing car horns or feeling gusts of wind, this was the change in temperature going from light to shade, the change in echoing sound as the street narrows. Quite amazing.
My favourite thing about this book however was the wonderful combination of history, science, Arts, geography, natural history, sociology, anthropology, and more. Through skillfully combining insights from such varied faculties Horowitz builds marvellous pictures of the world around us, encourages us to take in more from our surroundings and in doing so makes the familiar exotic and fresh.

Lay it on me... is this neat or nerd..??

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