Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Well-Tempered City by Jonathan F. P. Rose (TLC Book Tours)

I love the subtitle of this book, “What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life.”  As an environmental engineer, I am fascinated on the topic of infrastructure.  A little over ten years ago, I took a fascinating urban planning class at Marquette University in Milwaukee.  It really got me thinking about the way we build and maintain cities.  I also realized I am a “new urbanist” and prefer to live in an old house in the city and fix it up rather than to contribute the urban sprawl.  Try explaining this to my family who seem to think the only sign of success is building your own new house on a one acre plot in the country!  I also worked a lot at my previous job in the area of low impact development.  How can we develop our cities smarter using less concrete to make sure that water can infiltrate into the soil and build back into our groundwater supplies?

I was intrigued with the Well-Tempered City as it is authored by a premier urban planner and promised to take a look at the past to come up with innovative designs for the city of the future.  Rose argues that the five qualities of a well-tempered city are coherence, circularity, resilience, community, and compassion. The book is broke up into five parts to delve dep into the five qualities of the well-tempered city. The book is set up in chapters with many interesting subsections within each chapter.

I must admit that I found Rose’s prose at times to be a bit pretentious, especially at the start of the book.  He spent the intro waxing on about Bach and his way to tune instruments and how that relates to urban planning. I am a fan of Bach, but the engineer within me just wanted him to get on with his book.  Once he got into the fascinating history of mankind and city building through the millennia, I was hooked.

My background is water resources and I’ve actually given many presentations on my designs of low impact development areas in the mid-west.  This is basically the natural infrastructure section of this book and pretty much part II, resilience.  Rose did a great job of tying this to climate change and how green infrastructure is really the way the country needs to move forward.  I also loved how the book had an entire chapter about how water is a terrible thing to waste.  This book had a great discussion about wastewater treatment and also water quality overall.  A lot of this material I currently teach in my environmental engineering technology program, but there were a lot of great facts sprinkled throughout that I could use to enhance my presentations.  I already used some of the facts this week in class and there are a lot more that I can use in the future.

Overall, I found The Well-Tempered City to be an intriguing look at urban planning the past with a path set forward.  As an environmental engineer in education, it included a lot of great environmental information which I love to see as a major part of how to build the cities of the future.  Clean water and green infrastructure are the passions of my life and I’m glad to see them getting included in urban planning on a wider scope.  As an educator, the book has a lot of great points that I can refer to in class.  I always love to recommend relevant books to my students!

Favorite quotes:

“Healthy cities must have both strong, adaptable governance and a culture of collective responsibility and compassion.”

“In a time of increasing volatility, complexity, and ambiguity, the well-tempered city has systems that can help it evolve toward a more even temperament, one that balances prosperity and well-being with efficiency and equality in ways that continually restore the city’s social and natural capital.”

“When the purpose of our cities if to compose wholeness, aligning humans and nature, with compassion permeating its entire entwined system, then its ways will be ways of love and all its path will be paths of peace.”

What would you like to see in a city of the future?

Book Source:  Review Copy as a part of the TLC Book Tours

About The Well-Tempered City

• Hardcover: 480 pages • Publisher: Harper Wave (September 13, 2016) In the vein of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—a visionary in urban development and renewal—champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century. Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity—and by 2080 will be home to 80 percent of the world’s population. As the twenty-first century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migration, and education and health disparity, among many others. In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose—the man who “repairs the fabric of cities”—distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for designing and reshaping cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity. Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament,” Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, and well-being, to achieve ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. While these goals may never be fully attained, if we at least aspire to them, and approach every plan and constructive step with this intention, our cities will be richer and happier. A celebration of the city and an impassioned argument for its role in addressing important issues in these volatile times, The Well-Tempered City is a well-reasoned, hopeful blueprint for a thriving metropolis—and the future. Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Peter BuckleyPhoto by Peter Buckley[/caption]

About Jonathan F. P. Rose

JONATHAN F. P. ROSE works with cities and not-for-profits to plan and build affordable and mixed-income housing and cultural, health, and educational centers. Recognized for creating communities that literally heal both residents and neighborhoods, Rose is one of the nation’s leading thinkers on the integration of environmental, social, and economic solutions to issues facing cities today. For his work as founder of the investment, development, and urban planning firm Jonathan Rose Companies, he has received awards from the Urban Land Institute, the American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, among many others. With Diana Calthorpe Rose, he is cofounder of the Garrison Institute and the creator of its Climate Mind and Behavior program. Find out more about Rose and The Well-Tempered City at www.welltemperedcity.com

Monday, September 12, 2016

In a Strange City by Laura Lippman

Baltimore’s most famous son, Edgar Allan Poe, has inspired the mysterious Poe toaster to honor the anniversary of his death each year by leaving three roses and a partial bottle of cognac on his grave.  In 2001, Baltimore detective Tess Monaghan has an odd client, John P. Kennedy, enter her office requesting that she determine the identity of the Poe toaster as he has stolen a valuable object from Kennedy.  Tess refuses to take the case, but can’t help but attend the annual event with her boyfriend Crow. This year there are two Poe toasters and one of them ends up dead.  Who is the Poe toaster?  Who was the murderer?  Who is John P. Kennedy and what object did he want?

I’m a fan of the Tess Monahan books, but I’ve read the last few in the series.  I was happy to be able to review this reissue of a previous entry in the series.  At this point Tess and Crow are a relatively new couple and are restoring their house together.  Tess is new as a PI and is flustered by this case.  She wants to solve it for personal curiosity more than for a fee of any kind.  The plot has many twists and turns and kept me riveted.

I was always intrigued by the Poe toaster and loved to read about him every year.  I was sad when he stopped this annual event.  I looked it up while reading this novel and it appears the original toaster passed on his mantle to someone else and this new toaster stopped in 2010.  Lippman also mentions this and recent Baltimore events in a very intriguing afterword.

I love how this novel was a love letter to Baltimore and also a look at greed.  At the heart are several people trying to obtain rare objects and sell them for high prices to others or keep them for their own sake.  Why do we as a society place so much value on “things” and want to keep items that remind us of our youth?

Overall, this was a great entry in the Tess Monaghan series.  I especially loved the Poe connection, the love of the City of Baltimore, and the look at society’s materialism.  I look forward to reading more in this series!

My favorite quotes:

“What is the difference between a ritual and a routine?”

“Former co-workers weighed in with the usual noninformation: ‘quiet guy,’ ‘kept to himself,’ ‘dependable.’  Just once, Tess would like to read a story where someone said, ‘He was a jerk, and we’re not the least bit surprised someone finally offed him.’”

“Evil isn’t particular about its personnel.”

“The standards for public discourse had fallen so alarmingly in recent years that anyone could say anything on the airwaves, especially if the target was dead.”

Do you collect items and esteem them?  (I do – books!)

What is your favorite Poe poem or short story?  (Mine is Annabel Lee)

Book Source:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and balanced review from William Morrow.  Thank-you!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy Blog Tour with Monica Fairview (and E-BOOK GIVEAWAY!)

I'm happy to have one of my favorite authors, Monica Fairview on my blog today.  Read ahead for a tantalizing excerpt from her new novel, Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy and leave a comment for an opportunity to win an e-book of one of her Darcy novels.

Monica Fairview, Mr. Darcy’s Pride and Joy

I’m delighted to be once again visiting Laura’s Reviews. I have such a strong admiration for bloggers like Laura who have managed to sustain their blogs over a long period of time. It’s unbelievable that the blog has been going since 2007! In fact, that was before I’d even written my first novel. 

This time, the occasion for my visit is the blog tour for the release of Mr. Darcy’s Pride and Joy. 

This excerpt is from Chapter Nine. I hope you enjoy it!

When Elizabeth returned from her long walk, her clothes were soaked through, and her petticoats encased in mud. The rain had poured down in buckets and the wind had whipped her hair into a frenzy, but the stormy weather reflected her spirits and she felt invigorated by it, even if it had not changed her mood. She ran upstairs quickly, knowing her mother would chastise her for getting wet. She changed quickly into a day dress and came slowly down the stairs, rubbing her hair dry with a towel.  

“You will never guess who was here,” said Kitty, as Elizabeth came into the parlor, bursting to tell the news.

Elizabeth continued to rub her hair indifferently.

Kitty, realizing she had not succeeding in arousing her sister’s curiosity, blurted out the information. “It was Mr. Darcy! Aren’t you surprised, Lizzy?”

“Mr. Darcy was here?” said Elizabeth, dropping the towel, hope arising inside her like sunshine after a storm.

“Yes,” said Kitty, very pleased at her sister’s reaction, “and he stalked off in his usual arrogant way, stiff as a poker.” She rose and marched around the room in imitation. Mrs. Bennet, who was just entering the room, laughed, and Mary sniffed.

“How long ago was that?” said Elizabeth.

“What does it matter?” said Mrs. Bennet. “I care nothing for him. I cannot imagine why he keeps showing up like a bad penny.”

“For heaven’s sake, mama, tell me, is he long gone?”

“What concern is it of yours? What do you have anything to do with Mr. Darcy? If you must know, he left about an hour ago, which you would have known if you were not off somewhere, wandering the Lord knows where.”

“Is he staying in Meryton?” said Elizabeth, ignoring her mother’s comments.

“I cannot say.”

Elizabeth knew she would learn nothing more from her mother, who had taken such a dislike to Mr. Darcy that not even his assistance in Brighton had changed her mind. Only her father could give her more information. Her heart was beating with anxiety. If Mr. Darcy had come all the way to Longbourn to speak to her father and not stayed to see her, it did not bode well. Something bad had happened. Elizabeth did not delay. She marched quickly to the library and knocked at the door, entering before her father had a chance to answer.

“Did you turn Mr. Darcy down?” she said, without preamble.

Her father took off his spectacles with deliberation and peered at her over his book. 

“If you are asking if Mr. Darcy asked for your hand, then the answer is yes.”

“I am asking if you refused him.”

“I did.”

It was as she had feared. She closed her eyes and tried not to imagine the look on Darcy’s face when it had happened. It was hard not to see it, having already witnessed his dejection on two occasions. Her heart went out to him.

“Oh, how could you?” she said, her eyes full of pained accusation. “I never thought you could possibly be serious. Why are you so against this match, papa? Do you not see that you are destroying my happiness?”

Her father looked away.  

“Is Mr. Darcy staying at the inn in Meryton or at Netherfield?”

Mr. Bennet sighed. “At the inn, child. I suppose there is no point in asking you not to make a spectacle of yourself—?”

Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy BLURB
A Jane Austen “what-if” novel.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are engaged at last, and Mr. Darcy is preparing to take out a special license to get married quickly. But, just when everything seems to be going just right, he encounters opposition from an unexpected quarter. Then, when his engagement is announced – to someone else – Elizabeth, understandably, begins to doubt his sincerity. 

Perhaps their love is doomed after all…

Find out more in this third part of the Darcy Novels series.

Author Bio

Monica Fairview is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen's wit. She loves to laugh, and she is convinced that her cats can understand everything she says. She is the author of several Austenesque novels: two traditional Jane Austen sequels, one post-apocalyptic tongue-in-cheek Jane Austen spin-off, one multi-author novel THE DARCY BROTHERS, featuring Mr. Darcy’s rakish brother Theo, and now the trilogy, THE DARCY NOVELS. She has also written a Regency Christmas novel, A VERY MERRY CHASE, which was published as part of The Regency Quintet anthology and will be coming out soon on Amazon. 

Monica Fairview’s real claim to fame is that she lived in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Manchester as a teenager, in the days when it was faded and neglected, so you could say she has the smog of NORTH & SOUTH in her blood. 

Monica lived in the USA for many years, where she taught literature to captive victims. She has lived in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, California, Washington State, Oregon, and Massachusetts. By some quirk of fate, she now lives in Surrey within the Greater London area, within a stone's throw of Jane Austen's picnic spot in EMMA, Box Hill. She loves visiting historical properties when it isn’t raining.


Twitter: https://twitter.com/Monica_Fairview


Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader and tablets: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/645094


One lucky winner will receive an e-book copy of any of the three Darcy novels Novels by Monica Fairview:    Mr. Darcy's Pledge, Mr. Darcy's Challenge, or Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy.  If you would like to win any of these three great novels, please leave a comment on which one you would like to read, and what interests you about Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. 
For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment. 
 I will be using random.org (or a Monte Carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments. 
This contest is only open to addresses in the United States
The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday September 23rd!
Please make sure to check the week of September 26th to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner, but lately I've been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.
Good luck!