Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Over the Counter #448

What book caught my eye this week? (Not over the counter and under the scanner though!)

The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Deirdre Mask.

From St. Martin's Press:

"An extraordinary debut in the tradition of classic works from authors such as Mark Kurlansky, Mary Roach, and Rose George.

An exuberant and insightful work of popular history of how streets got their names, houses their numbers, and what it reveals about class, race, power, and identity.

When most people think about street addresses, if they think of them at all, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won’t get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class.

In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Deirdre Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, and how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we also see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata and on the streets of London.

Filled with fascinating people and histories, The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t—and why."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over the counter at the library. But...I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)


Ethan said...

This sounds like a really interesting one. Years ago, my dad was the lead contractor on a residential subdivision. He was in the thick of all the discussions about street names. I remember one name, Bloodstone Way, got tossed out late in the game because the boss thought it sounded too gorry!

Luanne said...

I always wondered how and why street names were assigned. Interesting tidbit about Bloodstone!

Icewineanne said...

This sounds excellent. I’m definitely hunting it down. My street is ‘Botany Hill’ (not sure what that says about me LOL), I’m always surprised at the number of people who can’t pronounce the word Botany and have no idea what it means.