A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder

A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder

by Michael Pollan


$15.08 $16.00 Save 6% Current price is $15.08, Original price is $16. You Save 6%.
View All Available Formats & Editions


"A room of one's own: is there anybody who hasn't at one time or another wished for such a place, hasn't turned those soft words over until they'd assumed a habitable shape?"

When writer Michael Pollan decided to plant a garden, the result was an award-winning treatise on the borders between nature and contemporary life, the acclaimed bestseller Second Nature. Now Pollan turns his sharp insight to the craft of building, as he recounts the process of designing and constructing a small one-room structure on his rural Connecticut property—a place in which he hoped to read, write and daydream, built with his two own unhandy hands.

Invoking the titans of architecture, literature and philosophy, from Vitrivius to Thoreau, from the Chinese masters of feng shui to the revolutionary Frank Lloyd Wright, Pollan brilliantly chronicles a realm of blueprints, joints and trusses as he peers into the ephemeral nature of "houseness" itself. From the spark of an idea to the search for a perfect site to the raising of a ridgepole, Pollan revels in the infinitely detailed, complex process of creating a finished structure. At once superbly written, informative and enormously entertaining, A Place of My Own is for anyone who has ever wondered how the walls around us take shape—and how we might shape them ourselves.

A Place of My Own recounts his two-and-a-half-year journey of discovery in an absorbing narrative that deftly weaves the day-to-day work of design and building—from siting to blueprint, from the pouring of foundations to finish carpentry—with reflections on everything form the power of place to shape our livesto the question of what constitutes "real work" in a technological society.

A book about craft that is itself beautifully crafted, linking the world of the body and material things with the realm of mind, heart, and spirit, A Place of My Own has received extraordinary praise: —>

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385319904
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/1998
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.26(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Michael Pollan is the author of the award-winning Second Nature: A Gardener's Education, which received the QPB New Visions prize in 1991. He is editor at large of Harper's Magazine and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. Pollan lives in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut, with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer, and their son, Isaac. His e-mail address is: pollan@aol.com.


San Francisco Bay Area, California

Date of Birth:

February 6, 1955

Place of Birth:

Long Island, New York


Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Place of My Own 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jcbrunner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has liked Tracy Kidder's House will love this one too. Instead of a house, though, Pollan is building his own garden retreat. Why he needs a place of his own besides the house he already owns with his wife remains unclear. Somewhere down there I imagine he feared the encroachment of his first child. Thus, while his wife is pregnant with their first child, Pollan is pregnant with his plan for his shed.If there has ever been a person over-thinking everything, it must be Pollan. The mission to the moon cannot have been better analyzed and prepared than the construction of Pollan's garden shed. While reading this book, I felt profound sympathy for the poor architect who has to adapt and modify the plans countless times. In a limbo between friend and business partner, the architect works mostly pro bono Pollani. The intricacies of the Starbucks ordering system were developed for just such yuppie control freaks. At multiple times, I wanted to slap the author: It is only a shed. It isn't complicated and it doesn't require so much reflexion. Buying standard parts, Pollan could have saved himself a lot of trouble (but then he would have had more time to spend with his pregnant wife ...).If you are a doer, a lets-go person, you will probably hate this book. If you enjoy planning and (over-)thinking about buildings, you will find a pleasant read, although at times the reading experience slows down to watching paint dry. Perhaps it is well that nobody watched Thoreau build his cabin in the woods.