field tested books

everywhere i go i find myself looking at what other people are reading, and it has often struck me to consider what a person is reading within the given context or location. there is food for thought in that relationship. while too-meticulously pompadoured bookworms will always huddle on the F train reading obscure, dog-eared eastern european tomes, consider the middle-aged arabic guy in the bodega reading toni morrison or the house marm reading philip k. dick on a beach in florida. field tested books tackles this topic from the viewpoint of those readers. among the latest of recent wave of books on books, ftb is produced by coudal partners, a design, advertising and interactive studio in chicago. ftb is an effort by coudal to

"(convey the) notion that somehow through experimentation we could identify how our perception of a book is affected by the place where we read it. Or maybe the other way around. Maybe it’s possible to determine how a book colors the way we feel about the place where we experience it."

ftb began as an online project, and, now in its third incarnation, has recently graduated to hard copy. all three editions of ftb are available online for free.
this idea makes a lot of sense to me. i could go so far as to say that i identify with most of my books with reference to the particular time or place in my life in which i read them. that's probably why my favorite thing about field tested books is the approach. admittedly, i'm not one to ask for recommendations when considering what to read next, but the pieces in ftb read more like personal essays than reviews, and while they're not always perfect or pleasant, they are well written and unfailingly honest. so, if you're wondering what to read on your next camping trip in the ozarks or flight to tucson, maybe check out field tested books. but you don't have to take my word for it.

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