City of Glass
Is this an obvious choice? Absolutely. Can’t be helped. City of Glass continues to capture the zeitgeist of this place (well, minus the bit on “monster houses”; that battle has been fought and lost). With compelling photos, graphics, and illustrations, author Douglas Coupland has efficiently catalogued what makes Vancouver, Vancouver. Fleece as uniform. Sushi as fast food. Grouse Grind as singles bar. And how the city can stand in for just about anywhere on film. These things are now cliches, liberally quoted. This is the original source material.
My favourite lines are these: “My own theory about Vancouver is that we’re at our best when we’re experimenting with new ideas, and at our worst when we ape the conventions of elsewhere. Vancouver is, literally, one of the world’s youngest cities. Some day we’ll be old and creaky, but not now—right now is for being young.”
City of Glass is published by Douglas & McIntyre. A revised edition is out later this month. Click here for details.