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Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places

af John R. Stilgoe

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
274472,224 (3.58)7
Outside Lies Magic is a book about the acute observation of ordinary things, about becoming aware in everyday places, about seeing in utterly new ways, about enriching your life unexpectedly. For more than 20 years, John R. Stilgoe has developed and practiced the art of exploring the everyday world around us, where so much lies hidden just beneath the surface, offering uncommon knowledge if we but know what to look for. In this remarkable book, Stilgoe inspires us to become explorers on our own-on foot or on bicycle-and by so doing to reap the benefits of escaping, even temporarily, the traps of our programmed lives. "Exploration encourages creativity, serendipity, invention," he writes. And while sharing his insights on how to explore, Stilgoe provides a fascinating pocket history of the American landscape, as striking in its originality as it is revealing. Stilgoe dissects our visual surroundings; his observations will transform the way you see everything. Through his eyes, an abandoned railroad line is redolent of history and future promise; front lawns recall our agrarian past; vacant lots hold cathedrals of potential. From the electrical grid overhead to fences, malls, and main streets, Stilgoe offers a fresh understanding of the links and fractures in our society. After reading Outside Lies Magic, your world will never look the same again.… (mere)
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I read this as part of research I'm doing for work. I thought it was intersting and had some interesting bits of trivia, but I found him a bit too lyrical. I know that sounds strange, but I really wondered sometimes, as I got lost in the language, what the point was exactly. ( )
  Colleen5096 | Oct 29, 2020 |
There is so much that we simply don't see as we navigate our daily worlds, and this book is all about taking the blinders off. Wonderful and highly recommended. ( )
  PatrickMurtha | Mar 28, 2016 |
Possibly the most fascinating book I have read since Carl Sagan's The Dragons of Eden. How often do you read a book that makes you want to get up off your chair (perhaps taking the book with you if you haven't finished yet) and wander off into outdoor adventures with its tantalizing accounts of what you will find in your neighborhood and town, and their outlying areas?!

Stilgoe draws us out into the "real world" page by page in this exploration of the modern world around us, its intriguing history of urban and rural constructions, and what it all means. A great book, especially in that once you have read it, the book continues giving to you as you take what you have learned from it and go further into the everyday world.

Talking about this book practically makes me jump up and down with excitement over the possibilities. No, wait -- it's LITERAL! I am, in fact, jumping up and down. ( )
1 stem msouliere | Jun 11, 2009 |
Outside Lies Magic : Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places (1998) by John R. Stilgoe is a book that encourages the reader to become an explorer observing everyday things in everyday places. I learned about John Stilgoe and this book from MetaFilter. The book isn't so much a textbook for becoming an explorer, Stilgoe says that exploring must be done not taught. Instead its a series of observations connected in a James Burke fashion.

Basically Stilgoe wants us to get out and walk or bike and look at the world around us.

From power lines on creosote-treated poles (apparently unique to America) to

rural free delivery post boxes to

commercial strips to

the frontage road and overpasses of the interstate (much is hidden by the road side) to

Main Street (or our approximation of a past that never existed and how there function was guided by fire insurance) to

Motels and rest areas (places travelers rarely look at in the rush to get to sleep or get back on the road).

We can learn much about how a place came about and how we are connected to the earth and each other. I don't always agree with Stilgoe's sometimes snobbish political take on the world, but I enjoy his writing and hope I can become more of an explorer.

Quite coincidentally, this book ties in well with the previous book I read The World Without Us, although this veers to the opposite tact of observing the world with us. Even better companions to Outside Lies Magic are these two books which I've read and enjoyed previously:
( )
  Othemts | Jun 26, 2008 |
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Outside Lies Magic is a book about the acute observation of ordinary things, about becoming aware in everyday places, about seeing in utterly new ways, about enriching your life unexpectedly. For more than 20 years, John R. Stilgoe has developed and practiced the art of exploring the everyday world around us, where so much lies hidden just beneath the surface, offering uncommon knowledge if we but know what to look for. In this remarkable book, Stilgoe inspires us to become explorers on our own-on foot or on bicycle-and by so doing to reap the benefits of escaping, even temporarily, the traps of our programmed lives. "Exploration encourages creativity, serendipity, invention," he writes. And while sharing his insights on how to explore, Stilgoe provides a fascinating pocket history of the American landscape, as striking in its originality as it is revealing. Stilgoe dissects our visual surroundings; his observations will transform the way you see everything. Through his eyes, an abandoned railroad line is redolent of history and future promise; front lawns recall our agrarian past; vacant lots hold cathedrals of potential. From the electrical grid overhead to fences, malls, and main streets, Stilgoe offers a fresh understanding of the links and fractures in our society. After reading Outside Lies Magic, your world will never look the same again.

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