Alan Balfour

Academic; Writer / Architecture / United States / Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture

Scholarship and Imagination: Alan Balfour’s Book List

This list is made up of three parts: first, books that have touched me in the last year or so, most related to supporting and stimulating my own writing; second, writers whose imaginations I can enter, whose books I can get lost within; and third, books that I often return to and continue to value.

3 books
Henry Mayhew
Edited by Peter Quennell

Nothing in Dickens comes even close to describing the underbelly of 19th-century London.

Alexander John Brown Youngson

A beautiful book whose design is matched by brilliant scholarship. Reading it makes one in awe of a society in which, for a short period, wealth was pooled to create a unified reality.

Colin Thubron

As with Sebald, I relish all of Thubron’s writings. They are travel books, but erudite and carefully stage-managed, they become a journey into the human condition and the realities that result. Thubron is part of a great tradition of British travel writing that includes Patrick Leigh Fermor and Freya Stark, whom I recommend only because they describe worlds and values so distant from ours.

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