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Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
The Amazing World of Gumball: After School Special by Ben Boquelet
Anna's Corn by Barbara Santucci
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
The Better Country by Dallas Lore Sharp
Boy Dumplings by Ying Chang Compestine
Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates
California by Edan Lepucki
Camera and Lens by Ansel Adams
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cleopatra in Space: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack
Draw! by Raúl Colón
Giant Days, Volume 3 by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang
Jem and the Holograms, Volume 2: Viral by Kelly Thompson
A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Scarecrow Magic by Ed Masessa
The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Tagged by Diane C. Mullen
This Land I Love: Waterloo County by Carl Hiebert
Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems
Witches' Bane by Susan Wittig Albert
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex

Miscellaneous
Armchair BEA introductions
April 2017 Inclusive Reading Report
Best Practices
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 01)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 08)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 15)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 22)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 29)
Mapping the roads of the American nightmare
Read Our Own Books - April 2017

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Better Country: 05/26/17

The Better Country  by Dallas Lore Sharp

The Better Country by Dallas Lore Sharp was listed as a source in The American Highway by William Kaszynski. In trying to track down primary sources for my road narrative project, I found a copy via Google Books.

Sharp's book is primarily an urban planning / urban renewal manifesto. A huge shift in the American city began near the end of the nineteenth century. Railroads had connected the major metropolises and provided easier access for the rural points in between. Besides the rail running between cities, the largest ones also built intracity rail as elevated rail, trollies (either horse or electric), and subways. The interplay between the inter- and intra-city rail started the push out from city center, giving workers more opportunities to live and work at farther distances than before where the distance one could either walk and ride a horse was the limit.

But it was personal transportation that ultimately forced the restructuring of the city. While the largest lasting effect has been the automobile, it was the bicycle that got things rolling, as it were. Bicycles in the early days before better shocks and breaks, required smooth roads. With such high demands (in part from the temperance and clean living movements), these new macadam or cement roads also needed to be wider.

Widening roads means taking away from the city footprint. It means eminent domain. And with eminent domain comes the temptation to gentrify in the name of urban planning / urban renewal.

That is where The Better Country comes into play. Sharp's thesis is decidedly anti-poor, anti-immigrant and pro-gentrification pro-suburbia. Sharp describes pushing the city out into the countryside to force smaller population numbers inside city bounds to improve the flow of traffic in and around the city.

In terms of my project, though, urban planning, a bit too tangential to be of much use. It is good to see the discourse that helped rationalize the massive building of suburbs in the post WWII era.

Two stars

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