I’m Colin Marshall, a Seoul-based essayist, broadcaster, and public speaker on cities, language, and culture. In the 2000s and 2010s I hosted the public radio show and podcast The Marketplace of Ideas, then its successor Notebook on Cities and Culture. My writing has appeared in publications like the Guardian, the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Architectural Review, and Boom: A Journal of California, and on sites like Open Culture, KCET, and Put This On. (You’ll find my essays collected at my web site.) I also created the video series The City in Cinema and am currently at work on a book about Los Angeles, The Stateless City.

Books on Cities is a fortnightly newsletter of my long-form essay-reviews of books old and new about cities the world over. If we can’t travel to and explore our favorite cities in the Time of the Coronavirus™, after all, we might as well catch up on all the city books we’ve been meaning to read or revisit, as well as keep up with the most intriguing city books being published right now. Subscribe today and you’ll be able to read each and every Books on Cities dispatch, including the full archive to date. As a Founding Member, you can also suggest a city book to be reviewed. Now let’s get to it — we’ve got city reading to do.

Some of the subjects of essay-reviews to come:

  • Metropolis: A History of Humankind’s Greatest Invention by Ben Wilson

  • A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

  • Americans Against the City by Steven Conn

  • Downriver by Iain Sinclair

  • Mapping Tokyo in Fiction and Film by Barbara E. Thornbury

  • Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk

  • The Sprawl by Jason Diamond

  • Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City by Mark Kingwell

  • Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding... Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis by Sam Anderson

  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

  • Barcelona: The Great Enchantress by Robert Hughes

  • Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies by Reyner Banham (for its 50th anniversary, coming up next year)

Subscribe to Colin Marshall's Books on Cities

Colin Marshall's essay-reviews of books, new and old, about cities the world over


Seoul-based essayist and broadcaster on cities, language, and culture, currently at work on a book about Los Angeles, "The Stateless City"