The Address Book: Discussion Thread #2

Welcome back! This week, we’re continuing with The Address Book by Dierdre Mask, a book that dives into the origins and creation of street addresses and what they say about the world they represent.

I’m really enjoying this one so far — this week the goal was to read up through Chapter 9, but there’s still plenty of time to get your hands on it — and here’s a few topics to kick us off:

  • In Chapter 5, we learned about the incredibly modern institution of “numbering houses,” and how Maria Theresia made it so that the government can find you. This chapter kicked off the idea that empires rename roads to suit their own purposes, one that continually comes up hereafter. Do you have experiences with this, or know any place like that?

  • Second Street is the most common street name in America, because sometimes “First Street” is named “Main Street.” Is your town numbered? Is it not numbered? Europe doesn’t like numbered streets, but Americans loved them, how do you come down on this?

  • There is a Bobby Sands Burger Bar in Tehran. Given everything that you know about Bobby Sands, the Troubles, Tehran, and what you learned about revolutionary street names in this chapter: given the opportunity, would you order and consume a hamburger from Bobby Sands Burger Bar in Tehran?

  • Chapters 8 and 9 have a lot to do with the politics of street names, like the organization of DC and how Russia has 4,000 miles of Lenin-named streets. What was the best thing you learned or know about this?

As a reminder, here’s our schedule:

Comment below with your thoughts!