The Address Book is full of these sorts of insights — about the racial tensions caused by the renaming of roads in South Africa, for example, or the ridiculous prices paid for “vanity addresses” in New York, many of them nowhere near the actual building. The first city to come up with the idea of odd and even sides of the street? Philadelphia in the 1790s. The least popular number between one and 14 in the UK? No 13, of course — 34% of streets (and 74% in Birmingham, for some reason) skip it. Mask can sometimes be a bit too chatty, and she can often wander off topic, but her book is full of surprises — not the least of which is the drama and curiosity she brings to this most apparently mundane of subjects.