- the majesty and fertility of Willa Cather's prairies in O Pioneers & My Antonia
- the harsh New Mexican desert beauty in Cather's lesser known Death Comes to the Archbishop
- The stress and calm extremes of city life in Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, typified by noise and nature.
- The long urban rambles in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, mind and city reflecting each other's chaos
- The wild, familiar, warmth of Wendell Berry's Kentucky farmland and river valleys, in his books and poetry.
- Carl Sandburg's poetry of Chicago: the beautiful, maddening city and the many lives and stories unfolding there
- Lord of the Rings and the landscapes of myth and journeys.
I was reflecting upon my book collection the other day, and how, were it not for a last-minute discovery of the profession of Landscape Architecture, I may have ended up pursuing an English degree in undergrad. That's a different story, but for now, I noticed how many of my favorite books have a very strong element of landscape in them. In some, the landscape is even some sort of character - changing and reacting and acting as a foil against the other characters. I decided that if I ever wanted to teach a college course (which I really don't, teaching is not a skill I've mastered), I would teach a course on landscapes as seen through literature, and their design implications. A cross-breeding humanities and design course (maybe my time at UVA has something to do with this inspiration). Here are a few examples of the books (and their landscapes) that have inspired me: