On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes

Alexandra Horowitz. Scribner, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9125-5
Horowitz (Inside of a Dog) turns neighborhood walks into an exploration of how people interpret the world. Each walk pairs her with a different companion, each experience offering expertise in a wildly different arena, from the fractured geology of Horowitz's native Manhattan to a city block's surprisingly abundant insect life or how blind people experience the world. Some walks playfully dip into academic specialties, as when Dr. Bennett Lorber displays his Sherlock Holmes–like knack for diagnosing passersby, or when urban behaviorist Fred Kent shares his counterintuitive perspective as president of the Project for Public Spaces. Elsewhere, a sound engineer explains the "auditory restoration" phenomenon, in which the mind fills in unheard sounds, while a typographer examines fonts and lettering on signs and buildings, going so far as to distinguish between different forms of the letter "Q." Even when Horowitz leaves her home turf to venture to Philadelphia and to Springfield, Mass., or consults such dubious "experts" as her dog, Finnegan, and toddler son, her writing remains insightful. The quirks in how each individual processes the same picture provide readers with their own eyes refreshed, ready to take a good look around them. Agent: Kris Dahl, ICM. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2012
Release date: 01/08/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-1-4767-2779-0
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-1-4711-2621-5
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4391-9127-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-5934-5
Hardcover - 445 pages - 978-1-61173-697-7
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4711-2622-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-5932-1
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-1-4391-9126-2
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