A Walk Around the Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (and Know Nothing About)

HarperOne. Oct. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9780062954756. $24.99. SCI
When Carlson (A splintered History of Wood) encounters a plumbing problem, he begins to reflect on how his water is consistently delivered to him. He realizes that he knows very little about where his water comes from, which leads him into an existential awakening about not knowing enough about the world right outside his front door. Reflecting on the fact that many of us don’t realize the engineering and natural marvels that are an integral part of our daily life, this book is an investigative journey to helping us better understand common elements of daily living that most of us take for granted. Carlson’s story becomes less about things and more about people. He spends time with postal workers and trash recycling operators in an effort to better understand the world that exists in many of our day-to-day lives. It becomes a practical experience that imparts advice and wisdom we all can use to better understand the world we live in.
VERDICT Carlson takes “mundane” objects and illuminates their importance to society, creating a unique book that will have readers looking at everyday objects in different ways.

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