BondGirl turned me on to Grady Clay with a rave review of Real Places: An Unconventional Guide to America's Generic Landscape.
What's a generic place? Don't ask me, the Seattle Public Library doesn't have it. I requested it, and I have high hopes, as they thoughtfully obliged me in my request for a copy of The Man With The Iron-On-Badge (I'm No. 2 in the hold list).
The SPL did have a copy of Clay's other work, Close Up, which I gulped down over the weekend.
Close Up: How To Read The American City is an examination of the 'new' urban landscape. Originally published in 1973, there are some anachronisms, such as a quaint use of the word 'bitch' as in 'bitch up' a couple of times (one can imagine Clay chuckling at how this would shock the administration). But many of the insights are still valid. It's a heavily illustrated book, visually as well as verbally fascinating. The illustrations are absolutely necessary. Clay supports every point he makes with numerous examples from cities around the US using street maps, overhead pictures, snapshots, etc.
I was delighted to see references to Seattle (gosh darn blangnabbit messed up grid patterns downtown), New York City, and Orange County, all places I have lived.
Good stuff, relevant and thought-provoking.