Book Review: On Looking

by Alexandra Horowitz

5 Stars

A wonderful book that makes the world come alive, this non-fiction piece by Alexandra Horowitz follows her adventure in learning about the often ignored parts of the city she walks through every day. In each chapter, she enlists a different expert on a subject to walk with her around the city so as to notice much more about the world, the people, and even her own senses. She goes on 11 different walks through the city with people who study geology, animals, the auditory world, and even one walk with her dog, in which she explores how smells may play a big factor in a dog’s life, as just some examples. Each chapter is short enough to give you an overview of the subject being discussed while still keeping you interested. Personally, I loved this book. After reading each chapter, I felt like I had new knowledge that could help me view the world through a new lens each time I went on a walk around my city. It was interesting to hear the perspectives of different experts, especially when you don’t know anything about the subject. Horowitz writes in a very accessible way, which helped me feel involved in every chapter, even with topics I never thought I would be interested in before! For example, after reading a chapter about the geology of the city, I went out and noticed that the walls that make up buildings almost always have signs of past life (like insects) inside of the rocks, which I would never have paid any mind to previously. Overall, I really enjoyed how Horowitz wrote this book with the reader in mind, not adding complicated terms that lose the reader instantly. A once bland city comes alive with new knowledge after reading this book.

Reviewed by Piper I.

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