Absolute gem of a book on Japan. It’s one woman’s summary of her year living in Kyoto through drawings and short pieces of text. It’s a really interesting, obviously very subjective view into Japanese life but is the kind of thing you just can’t get from guidebooks or books trying to be objective about the culture of a city.
Link: A Year In Japan
This book really changed the way I think about specification and design. If you’re designing an app or a website, or are involved in asking for changes it’s a fantastic book to read packed full of insights.
Link: About Face 3
A set of short stories that are wildly different but all show detailed research and understanding of their subjects. Mister Squishy – the first one – is set during a marketing research group. It is beautifully observed look at the perverse world of marketing, with a wonderfully detailed world stretching out in both directions from the story.
The link takes you to Better World Books which sells used and new books and is an interesting alternative to Amazon which seems to lack much competition these days.
Link: Oblivion – David Foster Wallace
This book took me by surprise. It’s light weight and easy to read and after the clever set up doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but ends in a beautiful way without needing to clean everything up.
Link: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
A really good read with my favourite combination of education, a good story and great writing.
Link: A Town Like Alice
Adaptation of Robert Bringhurst’s classic book with the appropriate sections reworked to be appropriate for web typography. It’s far from complete, and I’m sure you will find things to disagree with, but it’s a great basis for arguments and a good place to go before you go and buy the book.
Link: The Elements of Typographic Style Applied To The Web
This is a curious short story by Philip K Dick, the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which because the basis of Bladerunner. Most of his work centres on the ideas of identity, authenticity and agency – this one is no exception.
It’s available free on Project Gutenberg as the copyright for the magazine it was published in was never renewed. The need to renew copyright in the US was removed in 1978. The fact renewal was required before then allows a great deal of interesting work to enter the creative commons and gives it much more influence than still copyrighted but no longer published ‘dead’ works.
Link: Beyond the Door – Philip K Dick