New: Book Report: Garbage Land

Yesterday was all errands, errands, errands. Except that one of those errands was "Return Garbage Land to the library." and since that library was in Berkeley, I made a couple of fun side trips.

I went to the Tauba Auerbach art show at the Jack Hanley gallery, featuring art based on anagrams, a game of telephone, overlapping letters, letters and digits ordered by frequency... a code-lover's feast. There were two piece of art next to each other--one a phonetic alphabet ("alpha bravo charlie") that I knew, but next to it one that I didn't ("allah born cee divine equality"). When I got back home and did some internet research, I found out that this second alphabet wasn't actually used as a phonetic alphabet. It was the Supreme Alphabet, a sort of mnemonic used by an offshoot of the Nation of Islam. Probably my favorite pieces were those that had overlapping letters, but those didn't inspire any research. Mostly, they made me want to have some free time try copycatting that work using some other fonts.

In Berkeley, I stopped off at a sort of artificial grotto by Moffitt library. There I noticed a couple of green plastic champagne glasses concealed in a pile of leaves. I dusted them off and put them into my backpack. Better late than never, I guess.

Yes, I picked up some trash. Maybe that's a good segue for finally getting around to talking about the subject of this book report: Garbage Land.

In this book, Elizabeth Royte follows her garbage around. She visits landfills, tipping stations, a garbage-choked creek, recycling stations, sewage treatment plants. She rides in a garbage truck, canoes past a landfill, visits Berkeley's Urban Ore. She worries about compost and considers whether consumer recycling is worthwhile. This book is pretty interesting and I recommend it.

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Posted 2007-05-13