I had planned to take the bus to work on Tuesday morning, lugging the new book “Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City” in my trusty Penguin bag, hauling it in from our house in the suburbs — well, it’s still in Providence, but it feels suburban compared with my “commute” as a resident of downtown for a decade.
But “Paradise Planned” feels like a ton of bricks (12.3 pounds: Amazon), so by car we go. The prize for making fun of its size goes to Architectural Record’s reviewer Justin Davidson, whose “first instinct was to set the volume down on its own half-acre lot, give it a peaked roof, and simply move in.” Davidson says he worked out at a gym to acquire the strength to lift the book onto his “insufficient lap.”
Heavy-duty pages give the book a massiveness even beyond its 1,072 pages. More than 3,500 mostly color photos, plans, maps and diagrams, many small but printed at high resolution, testify to the luxury achieved by designer Pentagram and publisher Monacelli Press.
Truly a château among books.
Read the rest of this column at The Providence Journal.