Thanks to our shared evolutionary ancestry, there are certain aspects of our environment that have near-universal effects on our psyche. Penned by acclaimed British-American architect and design theorist Christopher W. Alexander, with help from several of his peers, A Pattern Language explores this phenomenon. This architecture bible is broken up into over 250 numbered mini-chapters, each of which discusses a "pattern" related to building an environment, whether it be the angle of the sun relative to a building to why, as social creatures, we prefer half-exposed side-yards to fully hidden backyards. The first half applies the same principles to building a town, from the width of the roads or walkways to the space between the buildings, while the second half tells you exactly how to make a home that's "alive". Coming in at nearly 1,200 pages, it's a must-read for anyone who's building or dreaming about a new home, planning a town, or just wants to better understand what makes a comfortable, cozy space.