I came across a book the other day that I found charming. The whole concept of “Houston: It’s Worth It” began as a discussion amongst friends and then become a website, here, that gained in popularity; then there was an exhibition of photography; and eventually, this book. It is mostly photographs, interspersed with brief quotations in extra-large text – perfect for coffee table browsing – communicating that tagline theme. Houston: it really is worth it.
The concept is to say that this city has a lot going for it despite what they call “the twenty afflictions” (they list, for example, the heat, the humidity, the hurricanes, the flying cockroaches, the mosquitos, the traffic, the construction, the sprawl…). You can get a pretty good idea of what they’re trying to do with the website, the book, the whole HIWI franchise, at their about page. As alluded to in my review of The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic, I am rather a Houstonlover myself; and this is just my brand of cheerleading: a little self-deprecating (hey, it IS humid here), a little tongue-in-cheek, but at heart, appreciative of the awesome facets to my hometown.
The photographs are outstanding, and all citizen-contributed. They show nature, architecture, landmarks, food, drink, weather, and people. I think they show a great deal of diversity – of people (ethnic, religious, cultural) as well as lifestyle and cuisine – and diversity is always at the top of my list of what’s great about Houston.
In short, this is a great little coffee table book that shows why Houston is SO worth it in pictorial as well as text form; it’s attractive, well put together, and not too serious for its own good. I’m glad it happened across my desk.