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City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver (original 2000; edition 2003)

by Douglas Coupland

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226551,336 (3.9)10
Member:rightantler
Title:City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver
Authors:Douglas Coupland
Info:Douglas & McIntyre (2003), Paperback, 152 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Stewart's Read
Rating:
Tags:culture, travel, Y03

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City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver by Douglas Coupland (2000)

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Showing 5 of 5
This is a must-read for anyone who loves Vancouver or is interested in the city.

It is a series of short essays on the aspects that Coupland thinks make Vancouver unique--the good and the bad--arranged in alphabetical order from "Backlot North" to "YVR" (the airport code). Included are lots of interesting and unusual pictures, many of them historical.

Of any writer I've come across yet, Coupland has the finest talent for capturing the exact feel of Vancouver. Perhaps I think that because we are around the same age and know a bunch of the same people. Still, Doug's Vancouver experience doesn't exactly mirror mine--maybe because he grew up in a different corner of the city than I, or perhaps because he's a male who had different interests. For example, I was completely unaware of the "ESL Pot Holiday," which is the experience of masses of Japanese and Korean students who are here under the cover of studying English, but instead just party in an "affordable, chaperone-free idyll before they enter Asia's corporate meat grinder." Not really a surprise, come to think about it, but new to me. Otherwise, I didn't learn a whole lot about my city, but instead enjoyed Coupland's witty observations and thoughtful perspective.

A quick, entertaining read.

As an aside, I find it amusing that LT's "Will You Like It?" feature predicted with high certainty that I wouldn't like this. I wonder where it got that idea! ( )
1 vote Nickelini | Dec 26, 2011 |
An update to the original City of Glass. A thoroughly enjoyable book about the city, but the updates were difficult to spot.
  rightantler | Feb 5, 2010 |
Vancouver is a puzzle of a city of disparate neighbourhoods and vistas. A Canadian city Americans use to depict countless US cities in their TV dramas. Is it unique or is it generic? It jumbles European, Canadian, Asian and American influences into a strange mix. Vancouverite Douglas Coupland's style is ideally suited to capture these divergent elements in vignettes.

The book is not a tour guide. To fully appreciate it, one probably has to have visited or lived in Vancouver. Then, one can compare one's recollections with Coupland's remarks and gaze at the pictures (often quirky private snapshots that would be weeded out in any professional endeavour). In alphabetic order, Coupland plunges into aspects of Vancouver, rambles, recollects, and explains with love and amusement. I am not sure if I know more about Vancouver having read his book, but it was an interesting ride and captures the flavour of the city well. ( )
1 vote jcbrunner | Sep 9, 2007 |
Just like Souvenir of Canada, this is essentially a photo book with Coupland explaining/commenting/reflecting about the images. Whereas some of the images are truly great, for me as a Coupland fan, it's the text that makes this book marvelous - a lot of the texts are truly poetic.

It is not a guide book, but I'd definitely call it recommended reading if you're going to Vancouver, as it highlights things you might otherwise miss.

Of his normal books, I'd say that it mostly resembles Photographs from the dead, and should be enjoyable to those who liked that one. ( )
1 vote pontusfreyhult | Aug 13, 2007 |
Coupland juxtaposes a city's quest for identity with the twentysomething's personal quest: it's all muddled and confused now, and sometimes it's even awful, but there's SO MUCH hope for the future. I really like seeing Vancouver (where I've never been, sadly) through Coupland's eyes. This is not a guidebook, but a personal tour by a somewhat funky (and therefore, awesome) friend who shows you patchwork pieces of the place which can then be made into the tapestry of your choosing. Mine has a lot of dangling threads, but I like it anyway.
  trinityofone | Oct 24, 2006 |
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