I have been thinking a lot about community since reading the book I spoke about yesterday, Peter Lovenheim's In the Neighborhood.*
I liked the book, but I think there were some other books I liked better, or at least made me think about community and neighborhoods in slightly different ways (other than feeling guilty that I don't know many--any--of my neighbors). They were:
Peter Kilborn's Next Stop, Reloville: Life Inside America's New Rootless Professional Class. Not a perfect book, but it should make you realize what we're up against in our culture, trying to form communities. Kilborn points out that a large portion of the population simply has to move where their jobs are, and they want to live in innocuous, safe, homogeneous suburbs when they get there.
Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. A classic work, if a little dry, about changing participation in civil and public activities in America. I'd actually like to re-read this one; lately I've been wondering where we're going to go, soon, just to be among other people, as I believe video stores, music stores, and book stores are all on their way out.
Sudhir Venkatesh's Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor. Again, a bit sociological, a bit academic, but really interesting, and a good look at how people everywhere are still bartering and doing what they can to get by utilizing the resources nearest them.
I know there's more but I'm blanking on them right now. Anyone else have any suggestions? Either way, and regardless of where your community is, I hope you have a great weekend.
*Many thanks to Katharine, by the way, for suggesting this one.