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

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  50 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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4.10  · 
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 ·  223 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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David Schaafsma
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A mock field guide, not to birds or wildflowers, but to the thing you find everywhere in the city or the wild, all over the planet: Shopping carts. Montague keeps a consistent mock-scholarly tone throughout as he develops an elaborate taxonomy based on hundreds of photographs he takes of usually broken down, smashed carts. I smiled throughout, but I also winced at photos he includes of carts in the most idyllic settings, such as lakes or flowing fields, so there's an underlying sad environmental ...more
Jan B
Mar 14, 2009 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 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
Emm - One Thousand Years of Books
Jul 18, 2018 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: the grocery store in your heart
I wonder what it would be like to see a shopping cart in its natural habitat. Gosh, it must be like spotting a wild unicorn. Except, unlike a unicorn, if you drink a shopping cart's blood, you won't live forever. You'll just get tetanus.
So don't.
Luis Alberto
Jan 17, 2010 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.
J & J
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an earnest attempt at giving dignity to lost, stolen and/or stray shopping carts. The seriousness in which the author creates an intricate classification system deserves accolades. Prior to reading, I thought this book would give me a chuckle but by the end of it, I couldn’t help but feel a strange metaphorical connection to each shopping cart.
Feb 17, 2016 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
Dec 02, 2008 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.
Aug 27, 2007 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!
Sep 17, 2016 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.
Jul 05, 2011 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
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a surprisingly dry and academic book.
I have to imagine that the author took pictures of stray shopping carts for several years and then had to come up with some premise to make them interesting to other people. The result is a detailed and meticulous system for classifying shopping carts, first by their relationship to their source store, then by what has happened or been done to them to make them something other than simple shopping carts.
A non-stray shopping cart is one that is in t
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
Aug 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Amazingly comprehensive treatment of this overlooked area of study.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I laughed, I cried. The book on shopping identification..
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
3.5 stars. The librarian in me really appreciated the classification system!! Very amusing.
Rebecca Davenport
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! A copy of this book should reside on every coffee table!
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My only question is did Julian have a large collection of shopping cart photos that he needed to do something with OR did he start taking all those photos with an intention to publish a book? Pondering that was almost as amusing as paging through all these pages of poor, pathetic carts.

The classification system was the best part of the book. Heh, so much fun, I snickered every time I saw a class "Rarely occurs in the southern regions of the United States" e.g. A/6 Plow Crush at Source. The clas
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
Does anyone understand the author's complex identification system? I didn't think so. Does it matter? Not at all! This is spectacular and sad at the same time - all these lonely, often damaged (sometimes purposefully!) carts just out there, somewhere . . . but I must say that I am impressed with the 'complex vandalism' involving an empty swimming pool surrounded by six foot fence on page 42. Some people have way too much free time. Not talking about the author - but the people who do this stuff. ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult
I found this "gem" on Goodreads so CLEARLY I needed to investigate. While this is obviously a peculiar subject, I expected the book to be far more amusing. The author took the field identification VERY SERIOUSLY. There are several amusing pictures. However, I suggest this title only if you have a serious interest in the study of shopping carts.
Anastasia Alexandra
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Whether you're a professional Shopping Cart watcher or just a beginner who likes to hunt for stray shopping carts in their free time, this book is a must have!
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, in, 2009
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
Sep 15, 2011 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.
Susan Klinke
May 07, 2010 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 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
Apr 27, 2013 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 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
Mar 06, 2014 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.
Jan 13, 2011 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.
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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