Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for A place of my own : the architecture of daydreams
A place of my own : the architecture of daydreams


Publication Information:
Grand Haven, Mich. : Brilliance Audio, ℗2010.
Physical Description:
8 audio discs (9 hr., 49 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

In container (18 cm.).

Compact discs.
Michael Pollan, admittedly mechanically disinclined, sets out to build a small wooden hut to serve as a "shelter for daydreams", examining the history and meaning of the human enterprise of building.
Added Corporate Author:


Call Number
690.837 Pollan

On Order



Michael Pollan's unmatched ability to draw lines of connection between our everyday experiences--whether eating, gardening, or building--and the natural world has been the basis for the popular success of his many works of nonfiction, including the genre-defining bestsellers, The Botany of Desire , The Omnivore's Dilemma , and In Defense of Food . With this updated edition of his earlier book A Place of My Own , listeners can revisit the inspired, intelligent, and often hilarious story of Pollan's realization of a room of his own--a small, wooden hut, his "shelter for daydreams"--built with his admittedly unhandy hands. Inspired by both Thoreau and Mr. Blandings, A Place of My Own not only works to convey the history and meaning of all human building, it also marks the connections between our bodies, our minds, and the natural world.

" A]n inspired meditation on the complex relationship between space, the human body, and the human spirit." --Francine du Plessix Gray

Author Notes

Michael Pollan is a contributing writer for "The New York Times Magazine" as well as a contributing editor at "Harper's" magazine. He is the author of two prize-winning books: "Second Nature: A Gardener's Education" and "A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder."

Pollan lives in Connecticut with his wife and son. (Publisher Provided) Michael Pollan was born in 1955 and raised on Long Island, NY. He received his B.A. in English from Bennington College in 1977 and his Masters, also in English, from Columbia University, in 1981. He is the author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, as well as 5 New York Times bestselling books: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World and Ho wto Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Pollan, a freelance writer, columnist (House & Garden) and editor (Harper's) with no knowledge or experience as a carpenter or builder, decided he wanted a place of his own to write inDan elegant "hut" with electricity but without plumbing to be built somewhere behind his house in rural ConnecticutDand he would build it himself. His aim was "to get away from words," and he signed on a sympathetic professional architect from Harvard Square and a not always patient carpenter. His account of the adventure, which in fact is very involved with words, follows the project from its theoretical stage, choosing the exact site (which characteristically included research into classical Roman, Ming dynasty Chinese, 18th-century British and contemporary "scientific" concepts of site selection), drawing the plans (something of a crash course in contemporary architectural theory) andDfinally leaving theory in the dustDdigging the footings, raising the uprights, laying the roof (perhaps the most entertaining section), cutting in windows and threading the electrical wires. Pollan has a self-admitted weakness for overanalysis, but it is a human failing that should appeal to anyone drawn to his book in the first place. Thoreau gets mentioned a lot, as do Jefferson and Frank Lloyd Wright, but as the project moves toward completionDmore expensively, of course, than he ever expectedDPollan comes to appreciate some very nontheoretical distinctions, such as the difference between windows that swing inward and ones that swing outward. The result is a very special armchair adventure. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

An editor at Harper's magazine, Pollan (Second Nature, 1991) spent two and a half years of Saturday afternoons building a ``writing house'' in the backyard of his northwestern Connecticut home. ``I wanted not only a room of my own,'' he writes, ``but a room of my own making.'' A ``radically unhandy man,'' he sought the guidance of two ``Virgils'': architect Charles Myer and handyman/carpenter Joe Benney. Pollan wanted a building custom- suited to his needs as a writer, beginning with the site itself. He found pertinent advice in the works of 18th-century writers such as Pope, Walpole, and Addison, but also made serious study of feng shui, a Chinese art of spiritual landscape. He settled on a site next to a large bolder, overlooking his house and pond. Myer's design, ``basically a pair of bookshelves holding up a room,'' provided for an 8-by-13 hut with computer, fax machine, CD player, printer, and stove all within easy reach of Pollan's writing desk. There was tension from the start between the builder and the architect, with Benney making remarks about architects with their heads ``in the clouds, if not someplace worse.'' As the two lead him through the process, from site location to blueprint and from pouring the footers to framing and setting the roof, Pollan muses on philosophy and architecture, with observations on everyone from Roman architect Vitruvius to Hannah Arendt and Frank Lloyd Wright. When the building is done, he's built ``a good place to spend the day . . . between two walls of books in front of a big window overlooking life.'' An engrossing, charming enterprise, but after all his poetic waxing for ``a place of solitude a few steps off the beaten track,'' Pollan inexplicably denies himself and the reader a payoff passage that finds him comfortably seated at desk, pen in hand, ready for writing. (illustrations)

Booklist Review

Author and former Harper's editor Pollan, a writer fast approaching 40 and fatherhood, spent two and a half years (Saturdays mostly) building a writing hut in the woods behind his Connecticut house. Its taking shape is a springboard for exploring architecture, construction, and the concept of home. Not so much a how-to as a how-and-why-it-happened, this account details quickly and clearly everything from ancient construction techniques to postmodern architectural theory to the on-site politics among Pollan and his two guides ("Virgils," he calls them): Joey, the surly local handyman, and Charles, an old college friend and architect who occasionally gets zealous. Pollan's success, despite a confessed lack of skill or understanding, is heartening to others hoping to do something similar. His melding theory and practice, when, for instance, he considers roofs, foundations, windows, and walls as both objects and metaphors, makes this book particularly interesting to those content to study architecture from afar--which translates into a rather large group of readers. --Kevin Grandfield

Library Journal Review

Wanting to have a place of his own where he could think and write, Pollan decided to erect a small structure in the woods behind his house. Fancying himself a modern-day Thoreau, he wanted to build his "dream hut" with his own hands, even though he had no carpentry skills or experience. We learn very little about how to build a small structure; the majority of this book is devoted to Pollan's pretentious musings about a variety of architectural theories and about his interaction with the architect and carpenter who helped him (wasn't this supposed to be a simple structure?). Although it cost Pollan $125 per square foot and took him two and one-half years to build, ultimately it is the reader who works the hardest. Libraries serving those with a strong interest in architecture will want this title; other libraries should skip this book.‘Jonathan Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L., Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.