The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin (Belknap/ Harvard) is one of the greatest books of the twentieth century, and it will make you want to assemble one yourself for your own life and time. This is a monumental work of excavation in history, philosophy and literature, a thousand pages long, endlessly readable, but entirely importable, which is its only weakness. This is material for reading in cafés and on public transit: you want to be out in a city in order to absorb and reflect on the city around you as you look up from the greatest of city books. Or you want to leaf through it lying on the couch, but you risk a broken nose if you fall asleep. This enormous tome deserves to be many small volumes, as it was originally compiled, in notebooks like the one you carry with you in order to add to die observations and meditations of the excellent Mr. Benjamin. Worth every penny of the 65 bucks or more that it will cost you.