Monday, February 04, 2008

Finally, a book that truly understands Houston

So, I recently received the Houston It's Worth It (HIWI-The Book) book as a gift. I loved the web site, and now I love the book! The pictures are great at capturing the real essence of Houston. But what I'd like to share with you today are some of my favorite quotes from the book - the ones that say as much about our identity as the pictures.
  • "Hot bagels on Sunday, pad thai on Monday, Greek pizza on Tuesday, gnocchi on Wednesday, spring rolls on Thursday, daal on Friday, enchiladas on Saturday...."
  • "The rain. Large soak-you-to-the-bone rain drops. Fierce, beautiful lightning. It rains so hard, you can barely see. And it rains often enough to humble you, to show what is really powerful in the world, and to remind you of what matters."
  • "The lack of municipal zoning. Where else can you buy a $350,000 home sandwiched in between a chop shop and a seedy nightclub?"
  • "Houston is truly unique. To be successful here, you don't need to be born here, be in a certain family, or belong to the right clubs. In Houston, they throw you a uniform and say, 'OK, show us what you got.'"
  • "If America is a melting pot, I would say Houston is more like a fruit salad. The many cultures here don't blur together; in fact, they retain what's special about them. But it's that they live happily side-by-side with those unique differences that makes our town great."
  • "I've lived in LA, SF, DC, NYC, and Florida, but the nicest people I have ever met are, for some reason I have never understood, right here in Houston."
  • "It's a live-and-let-live environment."
  • "Houston is a world-class city hidden behind a row of strip malls, like the Scarlet Pimpernel, a hero disguised as an idiot, appreciated by those patient enough to look behind the facade, to take the time to learn to love it."
  • "The traffic, the aggressive weather, and the dominant insect population keep all the wussies out of our hair."
  • "Because there is no other place in the world where you can drive down a major road, with ditches on either side, pass a honky tonk that could have blown in from the West Texas plains, while off in the distance is the soaring, sparkling masterpiece of a tower by Philip Johnson. Zoning-schmoning. There is a kind of urban anarchy here that gives the city a real punch."
  • "Because at the end of the day you actually have some money left over with which to enjoy living in a big city."
  • And my #1 favorite quote from the book: "Because it's my home. It's in my blood and my lungs. Because I get lonely for the mercurial chaos and sprawl when I travel to sad, soulless, cookie-cutter towns. Everyone has a chance here; anyone can fit in and find a place of their own. No city in this country offers more diversity and opportunity alongside such friendliness and hospitality as Houston does."
Those are my favorites. If you have your own, by all means add them to the comments.

Extremely highly recommended book for anyone who loves Houston, or as a gift for anyone you want to love Houston...

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At 3:57 PM, February 05, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll probably check out the book but the title is such a disappointment. Sounds like a plead not a title for a book that is attempting to show the bright spots of Houston. That title's only marginally better than "Houston - It's Not that Bad!"

At 4:44 PM, February 05, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Where were you when all the discussion for tag lines for the city was discussed? This book (actually website first) was being formed around that time. Lots of ideas floated around then.

The problem is that no one slogan can truly encapsulate this entire city. We have too much varied things to offer to get it in one catchy phrase.

In then end, I think this book is as much for locals than outsiders. So many people live here and have no idea what's available to them.

At 5:38 PM, February 05, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! That's my quote! The "mercurial chaos and sprawl" -- that's me! How funny that it made it into the book.

When the HIWI website asked people to submit what they thought was best about Houston, they didn't ask for names, though, so now I'm a litle sad. But still happy that you liked my quote best of all. :)

At 10:00 PM, February 05, 2008, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Cool! Great quote. They have an index in the back with the quote authors. Katharine Shilcutt is listed for that one. Hope that's you.

At 9:18 AM, February 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Identity revealed!

Nice food blog, k. Love the Minas Tirith. Is that you biting into the strawberry?

At 11:41 AM, February 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, identity revealed through the glory that is HIWI. Heh. I'm glad you like the food blog and Minas Tirith. You should check out Bacon Pig, too... And, no, that's not me with the strawberry; just a stock photo. :)

At 11:03 AM, February 19, 2008, Blogger DavidH said...

Regarding recent proposal that Houston needs rail to the airports "because all world-class cities have one", it should be noted according to a study done some time ago that the most heavily used airport rail in the country was Reagan National (Wash DC) where 11% of departures/arrivals used rail. All other cities were under 5%. Nobody except maybe visitors to downtown want to schlep their bags on a 15 mph rail ride to the airports. Let the Convention and Visitors Bureau pay for these lines -- they are not in the interest of working/commuting Houstonians. Further since according to some recent analysis, the airport makes more money from parking than aircraft landing fees, (excluding rental car taxes)the city would be shooting itself in the foot to build these lines.


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