I recently had a birthday and was very pleased to be given three books from Dover Publications. Daniel knows that I can never get enough floor-plan books, and Dover prints gobs of great ones! They also have a wide selection of nonfiction, classic fiction, children’s books, coloring books, how-to-draw books, clip-art collections, puzzle books, nature guides, textbooks, and lots more. Most of their books cost less than $20. They have a great environmental policy, yet their recycled-content paper looks and feels better than the pages of many other publishers’ books.
This is not a sponsored post. I am writing this just because we think Dover is a great company and want more people to know about them! Dover books are available from most bookstores, as well as from their own catalog.
In addition to floor-plans, I particularly like Dover’s illustrated history books. The one I just got for my birthday is The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record. Daniel and I got interested in this fair when we read The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (read my review here), and I happened to start rereading it last week; it’s a great story but has just a few pictures, so my imagination has run wild visualizing the White City of neoclassical buildings (some of them record-breakingly huge) that was built in less than two years. This new book gives me page after page of beautifully reproduced photos of the fair, plus a map and some other drawings, and when I get over gazing at the pictures I can read the text, which gives a detailed history of the fair’s construction. Did you know that the world’s first Ferris wheel, which was invented by a guy from Pittsburgh and built at this fair, was so insanely enormous that two thousand people could ride at once?! You can read all the numbers about it, but you won’t quite grasp the scale until you see it. Wow.
Two birthdays ago, Daniel gave me Dover’s illustrated history of the Brooklyn Bridge (which I can’t find on their site right now), and it fascinated our then-five-year-old son and me for an entire two-hour plane trip. This one also has lots of pictures and lots of detailed, well-written text. Do you know how a suspension bridge stands up, or how they get the towers out there in the middle of the river? Fascinating!
I realize most people are not at all interested in looking at floor-plans of houses, but to me they are absolutely fascinating. One of the reasons I’m not an architect is my obsession with plans over any other kind of architectural drawing or photo of the building–the plan is the most important, most interesting thing to me, and I can spend hours on end gazing at floor-plans. Surely there are other floor-plan geeks out there who want to know where to get good eye candy, cheap! Yes, you can buy books of floor-plans in any home-improvement center, but those are new books showing only the kinds of houses that get built these days. The architecture from about 1880 to 1940 was much better, in my opinion, and Dover has lots of books of it! Mostly these are plans for single-family houses, but New York’s Fabulous Luxury Apartments has plans of big apartment buildings built over the course of almost a century, and some of the house-plan books have a few multi-family designs quietly tucked in at the back. Country and Suburban Homes of the Prairie School Period offers a few duplexes, a few medium-sized apartment buildings, and even a small public library and a small rural school, in addition to lots of houses. One of my new birthday books, 100 Small Houses of the Thirties, has some duplexes in the back, including one in which the two units are different and interlaced in such an interesting way that I would pay $9.95 to look at that one alone–but these 100 houses are less than 10 cents each! (I may be weird, but at least I am inexpensively pleased.)
Dover Publications books work for me!