Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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Read This

April 3, 2006

Best hard SF (cyber noir) novel I have read in ages.


“Altered Carbon” (Richard Morgan)

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The power of the image

February 3, 2006

Check out your bookshelves or the display at the local book store. What do you see? What do you really see? How does it all make you feel.

The design of books might not be the most mainstream of topics, but it provides some real insight into marketing and culture. It is also one of the most fascinating segments of design. Books can be their own self-contained universe, and the design of a book (which goes beyond just the cover) can do so much to make that universe feel complete, project good or bad or neutral, and simply speak to the potential reader.

The most important person in contemporary book design, perhaps in book design in the entire 20th century, is Chip Kidd. If you are not familiar with the name you are highly likely to be very familiar with his work. It is so pervasive that it would be hard to own any reasonable number of books without his work appearing amongst them.

I have been an admirer of Chip for many years. He is also a noted Batman collector and has written extensively about Batman and been involved in the comic/graphic novel world as well.

I recently acquired the collection of his work:


“Chip Kidd: Book One : Work: 1986-2006 (Chip Kidd)” (Chip Kidd)

You should check it out.

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Some good things

September 11, 2005

Sometimes just a category of good things is enough to make the blog entry worthwhile.

Here are some good things in my world recently.

Apple iPod nano
You can choose to scoff and you can choose to ignore, but do so at your own peril. I remember being a kid and so deeply immersed in science fiction and the world I had waiting in the future. I had my 1970s and 80s gadgets and thought they were so cool (I doubt anyone reading this remembers Superscope cassette recorders — they were the Apple of their day and the hottest thing I had for a good many years growing up). I always imagined that the future would be filled with devices that could be carried around and do all sorts of things quickly and easily. Yes, Star Trek was an influence on my vision as well. There was something beckoning from tomorrow, and I so wanted to capture it.

The future has arrived. The nano breaks through a number of barriers, both real and Psychological, to create the perfect device of the true 21st Century. Unlike the original iPod, or even the mini, which both had a substantial “thickness” to them, the nano actually feels slim. This feeling of it being slim, something my RAZR barely achieves, is an amazing experience. Somehow, the dimensions are just so that it no longer feel like a “device” but feels more like a piece of information.

Add to this size factor the amazing color screen and the black body (black is clearly the new black) and without even knowing what the device does it is already something to desire. The fact that it plays music, carries pictures, has a set of world clocks (perfect for travelers), and even some simple games is almost beside the point. The nano is a key to a doorway. The doorway opens to the future.

Men’s Vogue

Yes, I am a certified over-35 metrosexual fashion slut. It is not enough that I already read the existing men’s fashion magazines, I once had my own subscription to Vogue itself. I love seeing the clothes, reading the stories, seeing the clothes, admiring the watches and shoes and briefcases, and seeing the clothes. I am not ashamed. I am their target.

Luis Martinez at Liberty Tattoo

The man rocks and did an amazing job on number three for me. Ask me if you want to see and I might oblige.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of he Kitchen — Harold McGee

Nerds who love to cook (and to eat) are a coveted target demographic lately. This book is the bible of this new religion of food elevated to transcendental consumption. Amazingly enough, I really had not paid attention to the existence of this book until recently. It was being whispered about in many other things I was reading, but never surfaced loudly enough for me to focus. My loss.

McGee explains everything that can be consumed. He does it beautifully and with both depth and breadth. End of review.

London

It is a city. Visit it. Stay at St. Martins Lane. Eat at Maze and Hakkasan. Buy a shirt at Ted Baker.

Oh, I did that already this week.

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The world is flat

August 31, 2005

I had the good fortune this morning of hearing Thomas L. Friedman speak about his new book, The World is Flat. This was a real treat, as his book provides some very incisive commentary on where we are and where we are going in the era beyond mere Globalization.

I strongly recommend you read the book, as well as his earlier works.

Friedman was very energetic and interesting speaker, a treat in the era of authors who really can’t seem to communicate beyond the page. Although his presentation was clearly “scripted”, he delivered it with genuine enthusiasm and interest. It was clear that he feels passionately about the subject and expects the audience to do so as well.

His audience was probably a lot further along the “gee, Globalization has happened and technology has changed everything and the best is yet to come” scale than typical. One thousand Microsoft employees in a room is likely to make anyone rethink any premise. The people are smart enough to be able to pick apart any argument, even the most rock solid. In this case, however, the audience was gracious and the questions very on point.

It is useful to remind myself how far along the curve my little universe is when it comes to the reality of leading the 21st century instead of being stuck in the 20th. If only someone like me was President.

Go read the book and enjoy the coming changes. You will only get a few warnings.

I think it is time to teach the little one Chinese.

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