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The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  176 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
A must-have for anyone with a passion for shopping carts and a love of the great outdoors.

In The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America author Julian Montague has created an elaborate classification system of abandoned shopping carts, accompanied by photographic documentation of actual stray cart sightings. These sightings include bucolically littered locations suc
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Harry N. Abrams
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141st out of 2,412 books — 2,398 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan B
Mar 14, 2009 Jan B rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction, art
Yesterday I saw a woman who made a small snowman in a shopping cart and was pushing it around the bank, muttering.
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
Not sure exactly what I was expecting. Something a bit funny, a fun "fake" field guide with funny pictures of stray shopping carts.

Instead, the field guide portion was too involved and I didn't care to memorize the "code" for different cart classification subtypes. 33 subtypes. And they weren't all that humorous.

I yearned for something a bit more whimsical. Carts doing funny things or ending up in interesting places. Instead, it was a lot of pages of similar type, sad looking carts with a too
Oct 05, 2012 melydia rated it really liked it
This is one of those books shelved in the humor section only because most bookstores don't have a WTF section. It is, in short, exactly what the title suggests: a study of shopping carts that have escaped their shops and parking lots. The subject matter is taken so seriously and each cart categorized so meticulously that it's difficult to accept that this is all truly meant as a joke. I read the entire thing, though, and actually quite enjoyed the photography. There's a certain beauty to the urb ...more
Luis Alberto
Jan 17, 2010 Luis Alberto rated it it was amazing
Stewart O'Nan and I share a fascination with empty lots, abandoned places, melancholy gravel pits. So for Christmas, O'Nan sent me this hilarious/eerie book, a field guide to identifying abandoned supermarket shopping carts. Yay Stewart! I started going through the book laughing, but to be honest, it started getting under my skin. It could be a photo installation by David Byrne. Or David Lynch. If you're like me, this book will amuse you but it might make you write some poems.
Dec 02, 2008 Nancy rated it liked it
You will not look at stray shopping carts the same way again. But more importantly, you will not think about identification systems the same way again. Julian has raised the bar very, very high. This is not, as you might think, a funny ha-ha book. In fact, it walks the line between banal and astute so weirdly, you will come away moved. Unsure how.
Feb 17, 2016 Harris rated it really liked it
I have always been a fan of tongue in cheek parodies of naturalist field guides, and this one I found to be among the most elegant, funny, and thought provoking entries in the genre I've read. The author constructs a detailed, elaborate methodology behind tracking and analyzing stray shopping carts as though they were a mysterious and little known species of urban wildlife.

In order to track the habitat and lifecycles of shopping carts in the urban and suburban landscapes of eastern North Americ
Aug 27, 2007 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Totally brilliant. Montague developed a whole system for classifying stray shopping carts and includes numerous photographic examples of each kind. My favorite classification is "plaza drift," which he defines as "a cart situated in a foreign lot connected to the source lot by the continuous pavement of a shopping plaza." Ha! This is really an art project in book form. Love it!
Apr 30, 2013 Orsolya rated it really liked it
Growing up in Ohio, I experienced a multitude of rare shopping cart experiences such as seeing them on large snow banks, in woods, and even in bodies of water. Julian Montague explores and scientifically categorizes these specimens in “The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification”.

Initially, I thought “The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America” was simply a clever, artistic, coffee table book which would feature photos of shopping carts in various lo
Sep 17, 2016 Kevin rated it really liked it
It makes me happy that our Dallas public library stocks books such as this. Here's a thoroughly researched, well illustrated, and serious field guide to a ridiculous subject. Pure genius.
Julian Montague has taken the stray shopping carts of Eastern North America and classified them according to different factors, the two main differences being whether they are true or false strays. One is tempted, while reading this, to memorize Montague’s classification system and apply it to carts one encounters in one’s own environment. However, this would be silly. [But briefly entertaining.] After explaining how carts are classified, the remainder of the book is made up of examples – photog ...more
Sep 15, 2011 Craig rated it liked it
when i saw the title of this book, I knew that I absolutely needed to own it. I have something of a lifelong fascination for images of human industrial waste in nature. Yes, I know that sounds odd, but there's a strange, sick beauty in a rusted old ford sitting on a dry riverbank... That, and the title itself was quite funny.

And the book continues that humor - a fabulous tongue-firmly-in-cheek seriousness about itself that is awesome. Its classification system is well researched and interesting.
Jul 23, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it
this truly is a well researched naturalist taxonomical guide to abandoned carts. either you think that's brilliant or painfully boring.
Sandra Willey
Aug 22, 2010 Sandra Willey rated it liked it
Amazingly comprehensive treatment of this overlooked area of study.
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 Beth Cato rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in, 2009, nonfiction
To make things clear from the start: I'm a dork.[return][return]The book appealed to such a high level of dorkiness that I couldn't help but love it. The title is exactly what you get - a detailed, full-color book showing the placement and condition of various shopping carts with a detailed taxonomy of class and type. It is 176-pages featuring over 250 pictures of shopping carts in various states of disrepair, imprisonment, and modified use. Most of the images are from around the Buffalo, New Yo ...more
Susan Klinke
Sep 10, 2011 Susan Klinke rated it really liked it
How could I pass up a book with this title?! The humble shopping cart as a subject worthy of study - I love it! Actually, I would have approached shopping carts in a more poetic subjective way than the author did, but the fact that he considered them worthy of his attention at all makes me smile. His approach to shopping carts is like that of Linnaeus classifying the natural world, a bit dry and orderly.

Under the category, Structurally Modified Cart, the author includes one of my favorite "spec
Jul 09, 2013 Steven rated it really liked it
This is the first field guide to shopping carts one will find in the northeast. What's fascinating is that the author has created a ground-breaking system of classification based on the situations in which they are found. Its quite a revolutionary taxonomy if you think about it, and it enables to cross-classify and better identify the shopping carts one will see - regardless of where said shopping carts are found.

The classification system consists of two classes and thirty-three subtypes and the
Jan 02, 2014 David rated it really liked it
As soon as I heard the title on the radio I knew I needed to both check it out and to posses a copy, its a work of art that appeals to the inner geek on a very special way. When I went to Boffins to buy this book the man behind the counter shouted to a colleague, Oi its another one for that shopping trolley book!
I now have a strange compunction to photograph stray shopping trolleys, print them and slip them into the correct category in the book.
Something for the grand children to think about whe
Matthew Hundley
Jan 17, 2016 Matthew Hundley rated it liked it
Picked this up on a whim. It looked whimsical. But after the amusement fades, disgust sets in. Not at this book. But at the habits of humans who readily steel and this carts. Whether it's our desire to stick it to the man; our thinking that we give enough to this store that they owe us a cart; our disrespect for property. Again, this is kind of a joke photography book that alludes to a more serious environmental problem. A more serious state of man issue. Which is pr ...more
Jan 13, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Who knew stray shopping carts could be so interesting? The classification system was clever and some of the photos were amusing. You will never look at a discarded, misplaced shopping cart the same way again.
Julie Miller
Mar 31, 2012 Julie Miller rated it it was amazing
This is a hysterical "field guide" that organizes stray shopping carts scientifically into orderly categories. There are lots of great images to illustrate each grouping. You will never look at stray shopping carts the same again. So much fun!
Aug 30, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Best Toilet reading in existence EVER. This book should also be given to anyone planning to be a layout or design student as it one of the best presented, photographed and arranged technical manuals I've ever seen; the esoteric subject matter makes this all the more surprising.
Jul 04, 2012 Justus rated it liked it
Cute cheeky book with lots of pictures of stray shopping carts. As a resident of Texas and California, I am not used to seeing snow so its fun to look at the photos and see a world that is both utterly mundane and foreign.
Mar 08, 2014 Raven rated it really liked it
This is an absolutely amazing, weird, odd, thought provoking,interesting book. It's a quick read, being made up of primarily photographs, but it will make you look at shopping carts in a whole new way. Very interesting.
Feb 11, 2012 Dawn rated it really liked it
I discovered this title on a "strange books" list, and just had to have it. The photos are oddly sad. Poor abandoned carts ...
Rachel Anne
Sep 17, 2015 Rachel Anne rated it really liked it
I like this book, but I was a little disappointed it wasn't more about what stores various carts came from.
Jul 08, 2014 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
Someone had waaaayyy too much time on their hands for this one. Funny for like the first 5, but scientifically categorizing 600 of them seems a little bit overkill.
Glenn Birkemeier
Jan 15, 2016 Glenn Birkemeier rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: beginning readers, shopping cart fetishists.
Recommended to Glenn by: Kenny Gallagher
What a crazy twist ending! This easily ranks near the twenty books on shopping carts I've ever read.
Jan 02, 2008 Tim rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Wow...Julian Montague has come up with a clever/cute arts
project involving shopping carts. This sort of creativity
really gets me giddy. When I own a coffee table, this is
going right on top.
Mar 21, 2012 Maddy rated it it was amazing
Hahahah, the premise and execution of this book made me laugh so hard!
Eric rated it it was amazing
Sep 07, 2014
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Julian Montague is a Buffalo, N.Y.-based graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, and installation artist. He employs his design, illustration, and photography skills in a series of art projects that explore the peripheral features of the domestic and urban environment. He is best known for a project in which he developed a system of classification for stray shopping carts. His book, The Stray ...more
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