Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Right Architecture for Reading

M. and I played hooky and went to Taos last weekend. I spent part of two mornings reading In Search of Zarathrustra (interview with author Paul Kriwaczek here).

The book is both an exploration of how Zorastrian ideas influenced Western monotheisms and an travel book about Iran, Afghanistan, and other regions of Central Asia.

It seemed right to read it on the patio of El Pueblo Lodge, surrounded by adobe walls, because as Kriwaczek reminds his readers, the word paradise comes from the Persian for walled garden, and many of those walls must have been mud brick.

The old parts of Taos follow the Middle Eastern/Mediterranean model: walled off from the street and easily fortified. I am acutely aware of the difference when I come home to my own house, built in the Celto-Germanic model: rectangular and decorated with antlers.

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