{pdf} This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live Author Melody Warnick – Vansonphu.com

This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live Well I just loved this book so much I devoted an episode of One Great Book to it I ll share a link so you can listen, but here s the short version This book is all about loving the place you live, which is relevant because so many people in the United States move house every year Warnick s description of just how many made me giggle she calls it a national game of musical chairs with 36 million players Warnick draws on a great deal of research about mobility, happiness, demographics, an Well I just loved this book so much I devoted an episode of One Great Book to it I ll share a link so you can listen, but here s the short version This book is all about loving the place you live, which is relevant because so many people in the United States move house every year Warnick s description of just how many made me giggle she calls it a national game of musical chairs with 36 million players Warnick draws on a great deal of research about mobility, happiness, demographics, and place attachment to guide her readers in what works and what doesn t when it comes to finding geographical and community contentment, but the book doesn t have that textbook feel It unfolds like a conversation with a friend who s telling you about the stress of her recent move, the perks and challenges of her new community, the actions she s experimenting with in an attempt to feelsettled.What Warnick found in her research was that people who love their communities don t necessarily live in great places they might, or they might not But they ARE extremely proactive about the ways they engage in those communities This is good news for anyone on the move, or who wishes to bloom where they re planted, and deepen connections where they already are Highly recommended for data and planning nerds like myself, and for anyone who s new to their community, or wants to becomeattached to it You can listen to that One Great Book episode right here I read this with a book group discussion and I m so glad it was chosen for the spring read.While there was no new earth shattering information for me, there was so many things worth thinking about and considering It took me a while to fully get into it because at first I didn t identify with the author, but theI read along theI liked the book.I d already done some of what s suggested to feel at home but I see now that I can do muchI m hoping that remembering some of the tips I read this with a book group discussion and I m so glad it was chosen for the spring read.While there was no new earth shattering information for me, there was so many things worth thinking about and considering It took me a while to fully get into it because at first I didn t identify with the author, but theI read along theI liked the book.I d already done some of what s suggested to feel at home but I see now that I can do muchI m hoping that remembering some of the tips and actions mentioned in the book will be useful for me when I have to move, whether it s to a different dwelling, neighborhood, city, or state, especially if I have to move to a place I don t immediately find desirable to live At first I just read it as an autobiography, and I was enjoying her journey I even eventually identified with her, given what she was researching and what she said about what her ideal town might be good at roller coasters, art museums, independent bookstores She got me with those three examples.To give an idea of what subjects she covers, the chapter titles are The Lost Are of Staying Put, Lace Up Your Sneakers, Buy Local, Say Hi to Your Neighbors, Do Something Fun, Commune with Nature, Volunteer, Eat Local Food, Get More Political, Create Something, Stay Loyal, Settle Down The author was a mover and was trying to learn to be a stayer I m definitely a stayer and in some ways a rooted too I thought the mix of her story, others personal stories, and hard research results were interesting and highly entertaining, and smartly done and well written I thought many of the statistics and the studies reported on were fascinating and I enjoyed learning the information While much was common sense, there were some surprises She presents many good ideas about things to do to encourage loving where you re living now, including a helpful list at the end of every chapter This is a book I d actually like to own, but for now at least I ll hope that wherever I will live my library will have it available for borrowing As I read it I thought on one particular friend an incredibly rooted one and I ve told her about it and encouraged her to read it I ll even consider getting it for her for her next birthday.There were so many fun activities mentioned that could be used by everybody, whether they live in rural areas she didn t really focus too much on them but many of the ideas could work there too or towns or big cities I d never heard of cash mobs, the chalk festival sounded fun, all the ideas for community building seemed worth doing, whether it was to get to know people or to support people businesses in your area.I d love to see all city town planners and leaders read this, but also everybody I know that if many people in my immediate neighborhood read it and even a few people tried to implement a couple of the actions in this book, where I live would be a better place I think that s true for every city, town, area, neighborhood, street block, probably everywhere in the world It took me a long time to read this book I was reading it concurrently with other books But every chapter stands on its own and it worked well for me to read it chapter by chapter Overall, it was a very enjoyable reading experience NO SPOILERS I want to put This Is Where You Belong into the hands of every chronic mover and every rooted that is, those people who keep moving in search of the perfect fit and those who are the exact opposite, who love where they live and never want to move I found it affirming and enlightening in equal parts, and somehow it made me love where I live eventhan I already did.The book opens with author Melody Warnick moving into her new home in Blacksburg, Virginia new town and NO SPOILERS I want to put This Is Where You Belong into the hands of every chronic mover and every rooted that is, those people who keep moving in search of the perfect fit and those who are the exact opposite, who love where they live and never want to move I found it affirming and enlightening in equal parts, and somehow it made me love where I live eventhan I already did.The book opens with author Melody Warnick moving into her new home in Blacksburg, Virginia new town and new state number six This move was the catalyst for her a chronic mover to begin questioning the why behind her restlessness It was time to stop moving once and for all, she decided Using her new life in Blacksburg as a guinea pig, she set about on a series of ten bold experiments to become rooted The book is part personal, documenting her experiments in entertaining detail, and part investigative journalism It s very liberally sprinkled with research to bolster her points and lend legitimacy to her experiments she didn t choose these ten experiments randomly In each chapter, she also interviewed experts and influential rooted citizens who made appreciable improvements to their towns or were especially representative of an experiment What she presented here is fascinating, and I was frequently inspired What struck me is how I never gave much thought to why, exactly, I m rooted or place attached, to use another term from the book I liked Warnick s clear and direct writing in explaining I also liked, and found surprising, the fact that the way to become place attached doesn t involve anything dramatic but it does involve a great deal of pro activity Connecting with neighbors in a significant way is important Patronizing local businesses is important This chapter is crucial and enough to make the book worth reading Getting involved in local politics is important These aren t, perhaps, particularly revelatory, but what Warnick did was give proper recognition to those simple things that foster place attachment to dispel the all too common belief that it s the big things a.k.a plentiful amenities that make people love where they live to get movers to stop the the insanity This Is Where You Belong honors what s unsung It s needed.Warnick s book is engaging, very readable from the start, and I enthusiastically recommend it for all nonfiction fans In particular, I can t recommend it enough for chronic movers, those continually disappointed in their quest for happiness via the perfect town For them, the book is actually an excellent practical guide, as they can replicate Warnick s experiments step by step to become rooted, if they so wish There s even a checklist at the end of each chapter Rooteds can gain a lot from this too This Is Where You Belong is one the few nonfiction books I ve read that s changed how I now operate in the world My expectations were completely exceeded Oh dear A book of platitudes that attempts to add gravitas by citing lots and lots of research or, what I would less charitably call, statements of the bleedin obvious.The vacuity of its 257 pages is neatly summarized by the closing Love Where You Live Principles There are 11, but these three should give a good sense of what you ll be getting into When you re happy and healthy then you re happy and healthy where you live Experience joy for as long as you re there If you want to love yo Oh dear A book of platitudes that attempts to add gravitas by citing lots and lots of research or, what I would less charitably call, statements of the bleedin obvious.The vacuity of its 257 pages is neatly summarized by the closing Love Where You Live Principles There are 11, but these three should give a good sense of what you ll be getting into When you re happy and healthy then you re happy and healthy where you live Experience joy for as long as you re there If you want to love your town, act like someone who loves your town would actThe premise of the book is a good one Americans move a lot on average nearly 12 times for work, for health, for family, for retirement, or simply to find a better place.For author Warnick, the grass always seemed greener somewhere else until she decided to take stock of what made her happy and what she could do to feel settled and part of the community of Blacksburg, Virginia, aka Bleaksburg.The chapter headings tell the story Buy Local, Say Hi to Your Neighbors, Commune with Nature, Volunteer, Eat Local Food, Get More Political, etc and there are some good suggestions on how to integrate, but theI read theit felt like a magazine piece stretched to book length.So here s a suggestion By just reading the bullet points at the end of each chapter you could save yourself a ton of time and free yourself up to engage with something noble, or civic, or fun I waffled between 3 and 4 stars for this Mostly because the book didn t offer many insights, and I m annoyed with myself because I kind of knew in advance that it wouldn t I mean, coming to appreciate a community just isn t that complicated You go to local events, patronize local businesses, participate in the locally available activities, and try to be friendly Still, the author worked this up to a 250 page book, and kept it tolerably interesting Part of the issue, for me, is that Melody Wa I waffled between 3 and 4 stars for this Mostly because the book didn t offer many insights, and I m annoyed with myself because I kind of knew in advance that it wouldn t I mean, coming to appreciate a community just isn t that complicated You go to local events, patronize local businesses, participate in the locally available activities, and try to be friendly Still, the author worked this up to a 250 page book, and kept it tolerably interesting Part of the issue, for me, is that Melody Warnick is looking at exploring and coming to love the people and amenities of a city, and I bought the book hoping for insights on integrating myself into a much smaller community Melody, moving to Blacksburg, VA pop 42,620 in 2010, according to Wikipedia from Austin, TX pop 931,830, also according to Wiki feels like she is moving to a tiny place with little to do And, comparatively speaking, I guess she s right But for a reader living in a one stop sign rural community, where the nearest larger community has about 3,000 people, and the nearest city, where said reader shops, sends her daughter to school, etc., has 4,000 people, the complaints about Blacksburg sound well, like something that our hypothetical reader would love to have to cope with It was early in the book, page 45, to be exact, when Melody says there aren t many towns left in America without a Target within thirty miles and I realized that I was probably not the target demographic for this book I m at least fifty miles from the nearest Target Not that Melody is recommending Target shopping she actually suggests, sensibly, that one does better things for one s community by shopping at locally owned businesses But my point is that she is making recommendations based on certain options being available, and for readers in significantly different situations many of her suggestions will be of only modest help.Still, there was a lot I enjoyed here I really liked her focus on building communities, neighborliness, supporting small businesses, participating in festivals, hikes, etc For readers with adequate budgets her ideas of dining out at the same restaurant every single week, joining a CSA, taking part in a flash shopping mob okay, this idea actually just strikes me as weird would probably be fun, and would certainly boost the local economy While I didn t get any Oh my gosh I never thought of that revelations from this, there were a number of times when I thought, Yeah, I reallyshould makeof an effort to get to the Farmers Market, explore the local trails, etc She does say some inane stuff When you re happy and healthy , then you re happy and healthy where you live, Experience joy for as long as you re there, etc but given the title and the genre I expected that So, no big insights here, but some fine reminders of ways to enjoy and support one s community It s no secret that I really do not love my new city I ve been here just over a year I picked this up to attempt to learn how to appreciate it I ve got so many thoughts, some of which I m still mulling Warnick makes many good points, and there are certainly some suggestions I could employ to better appreciate where I live Also, full disclosure, in many MANY margins I wrote my reasons and possible excuses for not loving or even liking the place I am right now.this mental change is goin It s no secret that I really do not love my new city I ve been here just over a year I picked this up to attempt to learn how to appreciate it I ve got so many thoughts, some of which I m still mulling Warnick makes many good points, and there are certainly some suggestions I could employ to better appreciate where I live Also, full disclosure, in many MANY margins I wrote my reasons and possible excuses for not loving or even liking the place I am right now.this mental change is going to be a slog, ya ll I don t know when a nonfiction book has hit so close to home for me Perhaps it s because I m a Mover , one of those people who pack up and move for one reason or another For me, it has been jobs in Upper Arlington, Ohio Huron, Ohio Port Charlotte, Florida Lee County, Florida Glendale, Arizona Evansville, Indiana While journalist Melody Warnick had to learn to love Blacksburg, Virginia, I never had a problem falling in love with Arizona Three and a half years after leaving, I still mi I don t know when a nonfiction book has hit so close to home for me Perhaps it s because I m a Mover , one of those people who pack up and move for one reason or another For me, it has been jobs in Upper Arlington, Ohio Huron, Ohio Port Charlotte, Florida Lee County, Florida Glendale, Arizona Evansville, Indiana While journalist Melody Warnick had to learn to love Blacksburg, Virginia, I never had a problem falling in love with Arizona Three and a half years after leaving, I still miss Arizona Warnick s investigation, her determined Love Where You Live experiment, is fascinating in This Is Where You Belong The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live.Melody Warnick and her family were eager to move to Blacksburg from Austin, Texas, when her husband, an English professor, landed a job at Virginia Tech Warnick had just turned thirty six, and the family s average stay in any city was 3.2 years But, she wasn t immediately drawn to Blacksburg in the Blue Ridge Mountains As a journalist, she decided to examine the idea of making a city into a place to love What if a place becomes the right place only by our choosing to love it She made a conscious effort to love Blacksburg, Virginia.Because she s a journalist, Warnick set about methodically learning to love Blacksburg She interviewed people, studied why people gravitate to one place or another, how they become involved in a city, what connects them to other people there Walking the city, learning to find your way around it is an important step, and walkable cities are inviting to outsiders She has a chapter about buying local, supporting local stores that make the community different from other cities Meet your neighbors Learn what is fun to do in your city Get out into nature Volunteer in order to feel as if you are helping your community Eat local food Get involved in local politics Create something The Stay Loyal chapter was fascinating, focusing on people who suffered through tragedies in their cities As Melody Warnick worked through her experiment, she found herselfattached to Blacksburg.This Is Where You Belong is a fascinating book And, maybe I found it so fascinating because it explained a great deal about my own passion for Arizona That was the one place I lived as an adult that I took most of the steps Warnick mentions, although I d consider home the Phoenix area, not just Glendale I walked, supported local businesses, volunteered, did so much that was fun, and even found my third place there Warnick and others refer to it as place attachment It would be interesting to see if Warnick s process works for people, if they can force a place to feel like home This Is Where You Belong is a fascinating book I just don t know when if I ll find that place again for myself, and, honestly, I m not willing, right now, to put that kind of effort into it This was a very thought provoking book for me I was attracted to it because my husband and I have mostly been Movers during our life together, like the author and her family The longest we ve lived in one home was 10 years, but several were a year or even a little less, so the average is probably about 3 years I always find myself victim of the grass is greener on the other side syndrome, wanting to move to places we vacation, surfing Trulia and Zillow, looking for that perfect next place This was a very thought provoking book for me I was attracted to it because my husband and I have mostly been Movers during our life together, like the author and her family The longest we ve lived in one home was 10 years, but several were a year or even a little less, so the average is probably about 3 years I always find myself victim of the grass is greener on the other side syndrome, wanting to move to places we vacation, surfing Trulia and Zillow, looking for that perfect next place, and expecting things to be better somewhere else than wherever we are currently living After full time traveling for the past few years, I think we are ready to find a home base that we really enjoy, even though we still plan to travel This book has given me some good tools to put into practice to try to bond with the place we choose to be our next base Using some of Warnick s ideas, I want to getinvolved in the town and community, rather than always feeling like a newcomer or restless, uncommitted outsider The average restless American will movetimes in a lifetime For Melody Warnick, it was move , from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered Aren t we supposed to put down roots at some point How does where we live become the place where we want to stay This time, she had an epiphany Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family s perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it no matter what How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong She dives into the body of research around place attachment the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well being then travels to towns across America to see it in action Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likeable locales She also speaks with frequent movers and loyal stayers around the country to learn what draws highly mobile Americans to a new city, and what makes us stay The best ideas she imports to her adopted hometown of Blacksburg for a series of Love Where You Live experiments designed to make her feel locally connected Dining with her neighbors Shopping Small Business Saturday Marching in the town Christmas parade Can these efforts make a halfhearted resident happier Will Blacksburg be the place where she finally stays What Warnick learns will inspire you to embrace your own community and perhaps discover that the place where you live right now is home This book is in the same family as Gretchen Rubin s The Happiness Project Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun This particular branch of the self help tree concerns itself with giving practical, useful advice to people with vague feelings of unhappiness and disconnection First world problems I guess that label fits But I m not convinced one needs to feel guilty or embarrassed because some people have This book is in the same family as Gretchen Rubin s The Happiness Project Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun This particular branch of the self help tree concerns itself with giving practical, useful advice to people with vague feelings of unhappiness and disconnection First world problems I guess that label fits But I m not convinced one needs to feel guilty or embarrassed because some people have it worse Gretchen Rubin s book asked, How can I be happier and Melody Warnick s book asks, How can I feelattached to where I live Both books take subjective dilemmas and seek to resolve them through a combination of research and anecdotal information I enjoy this brand of inquiry, and I hope that books like these find a wide audience, so there can beof them for me to read.Since I ve seen some reviewers questioning whether such a book will really be useful to anyone or if most of the suggestions and strategies are common sense , I d have to say that it depends on where you re coming from I am definitely a Mover, who, over, was raised by Movers There was not even a common thread to put me into a larger community of Movers I was no military brat We simply moved quite a bit as a family As a result, I have no real experience with having a hometown, and the feelings of rootlessness are sometimes acutely painful My sisters and I have talked about this, but it s always been something that feels like it can t be helped or remedied at this point My sisters have gone on to have families of their own, and each made sure to give their children a hometown, even though they both have said they don t feel like their new town is their home, even if it is where their husbands grew up I ve stayed a Mover and continue to move every so often It s mostly pleasant I like the places I live, but it s always a sort of an offhand, careless affection I like being there, but I m also fine with leaving I remember I first questioned this lifestyle choice when I was on a visit to Park River, North Dakota, where my grandparents lived and where I was born but from where I moved before I turned two People would ask me where I was from and I would say, Pittsburgh, where I was living at the time I realized that if someone asked me that exact same question in Pittsburgh, I would say, North Dakota Why the answers would change and what I needed to get across was the information that, I m not from here, and that felt like the right answer in both situations Right but depressing as hell.Over the years, I have made several attempts to attach to someplace I even think choosing to teach was motivated in part by the idea of becoming a member of a community, but it never seemed to work out The attempts were always repelled in ways that now seem darkly comical I was surrounded by others who were securely planted, but it still felt as elusive to me as ever I started to think that perhaps rootedness was a condition that I was probably never going to really achieve, and that it was really an ability that some people have and some people lack So when I saw this book, I thought it was rather perfect To feel at home in a place is not as easy for some as it is with others Like an autistic person requires explicit instruction in social niceties, a nomad might need explicit instructions in how to feel connected to a place If you were raised in a place or in a family where feeling connected was as easy and natural as breathing, good for you Let s just acknowledge that your experience was likely not universal Onto reviewing the book Warnick s research is top notch She has clearly done her homework for this book She talked to a lot of people and heard a lot of stories about how others connect to their environments I would encourage her to take a note from Rubin as to spending a bittime ruminating on the implications of why and how something works or the nuances of a trick just expand the view a bit zoom out a littleI know some people were turned off by Rubin s know it all attitude, but her thorough examinations are, I believe, one of the most valuable things her books offer I believe Warnick did a great job in this respect in the last two chapters Stay Loyal and Settle Down They were incredible explorations into how tragedy can shape a community and her rethinking of the rigid categories of Movers and Stayers, but I think her earlier chapters could benefit from being a little less focused on giving advice and spendtime looking at the bigger picture I thought this book was marvelous It addresses a current modern problem that is often sorely felt but not often explored in a thorough way I think the premise of the book was wonderful, and I think the execution was thoughtful and informative There is a lot of current information about resources out there to help you in bonding with your city that I had no idea about It seems that there are even ways that a Stayer might use in order to get to know and love their city better If you have an impulse to strengthen your ties with your city, I would recommend this book

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