Reviews and Comments


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Joined 1 year, 4 months ago

Reader of all sorts of fiction, and non-fiction mostly about urbanism, technology, or anything else that piques my curiosity.

For non-book related tooting, you can find me at @[email protected]. And I sometimes write on my personal blog at

Got any book recommendations?

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Scattered All Over the Earth (2022) 4 stars

Welcome to the not-too-distant future: Japan, having vanished from the face of the earth, is …

The Land of Sushi

4 stars

Scattered All Over The Earth is set in a future where Japan (the land of sushi) has given way to the ocean and its rising tides. It manages to be both a story of climate refugees raising questions of national identity, as well as a poetic homage to languages. She has lived in Germany for decades and even writes in both Japanese and German, and I can’t help but imagine how her experience of coming to Germany in the 1980s has influenced this book.

Nerves and Their Endings (2022, Scribe Publications) 5 stars

A timely and arresting collection of essays about the body, climate change, privilege, and environmental …

Full of thoughts that stayed with me for the weeks that followed

5 stars

I started writing book notes on my blog about the book but ended up writing anything but an actual review. This being a collection of essays centred around climate collapse, one of the themes in my post was that over the years I had a sliver of an idea lodged in my brain. Usually not something that made me stop in my tracks and reconsider a bunch of things immediately, but rather a little nagging thought that came back over the weeks that followed. Until ultimately I changed my behaviour to align it better with my values and the impact I want to have on this world.

I am sure this book has managed to do exactly that. Some of it will result in me examining another way in which my behaviour has a negative impact, hopefully leading to a change in my behaviour at some point down the line.

Soft City (2019, Island Press) 5 stars

Soften cities to make urban living less harsh

5 stars

David Sim has managed to compile a manifesto on how livable cities ought to be designed. One of his main arguments is to soften the harsh form of built-up density by explicitly designing for as many exposures as possible. Exposing people to their fellow neighbours, be that the immediate neighbours living under the same roof, or further out in the same block or neighbourhood. And exposure to people’s immediate natural surroundings, be that potted plants or small gardens, parks, or even the weather and climate.

Over the past handful of years, I found an interest in urbanism, movement, and transit, especially from the angle of bikeable cities. This book was a great opportunity to take this interest to the next level and in addition to streets think about how buildings, their preferably mixed and flexible use, and ultimately blocks and neighbourhoods contribute to the quality of urban life. Walkability is …

Intimate City (2022, Penguin Publishing Group) 3 stars

Approachable architecture, but more interesting local activism stories

3 stars

While the conversations with architects were for the most part approachable, very few of them stuck in my memory. On the other hand, I enjoyed the walks with historians and local activists.

Especially the two walks and conversations with Eric W. Sanderson, senior conservation ecologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society at Bronx Zoo, with the first one centred on the southern tip of pre-colonial Manhattan, or Manaháhtaan as it was called back when it was past of Lenape territory.

Or the walks through Greenwich Village with Andrew Dolkart, professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University and founding member of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, giving plenty of background information on the Stonewall riots.

Another memorable walk was with Monxo Lopez, an environmental and urban justice activist, who, on a walk through Mott Haven and the South Bronx told stories of various immigration waves in the history of the Bronx. …

reviewed Sojourn by Amit Chaudhuri

Sojourn (2022, New York Review of Books, Incorporated, The) 5 stars

Captivatingly random, like getting to know a new place

5 stars

In some sense, this short novel manages to capture the essence of coming to a new place. The randomness, fleeting encounters, few of them last, getting lost, etc. In many ways it reminded me of my own first few months after moving to Berlin.

I've only gotten slightly irritated by some of the geographical inaccuracies, for example my local U-Bahn station was described as if it were to have two side platforms, while in reality it is a single island platform. I kept wondering if and how geographical fact checking took place in the editorial process. Sometimes the inaccuracies felt like they helped the storytelling, but other times there was no apparent benefit.