I often stumble on authors who write about food, read the book, love it, and then find out that the person is rather well known. This happened with M.F.K. Fisher last year and now it's happened again with Laurie Colwin.
Things I’ve read
The Real World of Technology by Ursula Franklin is an amazing book. And it's made all the more amazing because the first two thirds of the book are lectures that were given in 1989 and the last third was written in 1999.
I've long been meaning to read something by George Eliot, and a few weeks back the author interviewed in By the Book mentioned Silas Marner and I knew it was the book I should read to see if I would like George Eliot's writing or not.
If you want a fun afternoon read, pick up Ghosts and think about life and death from a lovely perspective.
There are certain people in my life that when they recommend a book, I usually just trust them and go for it and start reading it. The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is one such book for me.
The Guinevers by Sarah Domet was on some end of 2016 book list and I decided to give it a go, not totally knowing what I was in for when I started reading.
Anna Debenham started the new year off by releasing an updated version of her book, Front End Style Guides and I spent some time reading it and highlighting and remembering what it is I love about style guides this week.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith is on almost every single best of 2016 book list I've seen. And I've been gravitating to reading fiction post US election, needing some escape that also may prompt me to think. Swing Time did just that.
Hacktivist appeared on a list somewhere and I decided to give it a try. I read it through my library and while I'm glad I read it and I liked it enough to keep going to the next volume, I'm not sure I loved it.
Jeremy Keith's talks are some of my favorite I've seen over the course of my career when I've been lucky enough to be at a conference where he's speaking. He's taken a lot of the elements of those talks and put them into a wonderful online book, Resilient Web Design.
Finishing a series is always bittersweet for me, especially a series that I've loved. On Christmas I finished the final book of the Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin, and it was one of those series where I was wanting to keep reading more about the characters I've come to love.
It's a cold war era spy thriller, with a married couple at the center of it, caught up in something that they aren't quite aware of in the beginning. And it's wonderful.
I'm not a fan of the screen printing era that includes the Campbells soup cans, but usually in a big show on an artist I'll find at least one era that I like. And this show had it, his very early work in advertising is amazing and I'd never seen it before.
I start a lot of books and for many of them, the books slowly draw me in, the first third is OK, the back story is building. The second third starts to get good and the final third is amazing.
I finished the fourth book in the Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin, Tehanu yesterday afternoon. It is the best of the series so far.
I recently was back on a comics streak, plowing through several volume twos of various series I've started, so here are some quick thoughts.
The book is composed of short "chapters" where a person talks about their home practice. Some of them are well known and others I'd never heard of, most are yoga teachers, and they are from all over the world. The great thing about the book is that no two people have an identical home practice.
Another Le Guin book, I know, I know. But she is just such a great writer and this series is just so fantastic.
I recently read a biography about the Mitford Sisters, an interesting read about six sisters and their lives in Britain during the interwar period. One of those sisters was an author, and I wanted to read one of her books to understand more about how she saw the world.
I preordered Inclusive Design Patterns by Heydon Pickering when it was announced last summer. And this past week I've been spending time reading through the patterns and learning more about accessibility.
Lupi, along with her friend Stefanie Posavec, trade postcards every week for a year with a data visualization on it of something they tracked in their lives for a week.
I finished the final book in The Mapmakers Trilogy yesterday. It was with the typical sadness when you finish something you truly enjoyed and you just want to be able to dive back into the world of the characters you've come to love.
Lately I prefer to read fiction before bed, I think because I want to be taken into another world after living another day in our world. And I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book, but it surprised and challenged me.
I loved this book, and I love that Le Guin wrote it based on the landscape of Eastern Oregon and that I know that because she shares so much about how she came to write the book.
I read the second volume of Berlin in just two days. Part of the reason is because I'm fascinated by history, especially the two World Wars and the interwar period of the twentieth century. I find it fascinating because so much of it changed not just those years of history, but the history of much of Europe and the US for years to come.
So when I came upon a review of The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters, I was intrigued. These women came out to society during the interwar period and the six of them took dramatically different turns in their lives. Many of them met Hitler, one is a famous author, and several of them married either late or divorced early.
This past weekend I was hunting through what has become a rather long wish list in my digital loan app from the library. I came across Stella by Starlight by Sharon M Draper and spent a few days reading.
I spent the past week reading a chapter or two a night before bed from Ursula Le Guin's Wizard of Earthsea. I spotted this book at our local Powells and didn't think I wanted to read it, but then happened on it again in the digital library app and decided to give it a try.
Over the past 10 months I've been getting back into drawing and now, painting. It's been great for me, a way to do something that is completely away from the screen. And over that time I've picked up various books on both drawing and painting but none of them appealed once I started reading, so I never finished them. But this past week I sped through Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger. I really enjoyed this book.
I've been on a hold list to get a copy of Berlin, Book One by Jason Lutes for quite some time. For some reason whenever I'm on a long hold for a library book I assume that it will be good.
I've been spending time with Val Head's new book Designing Interface Animation: Meaningful Motion for User Experience and it's so fantastic.
If you've ever seen Chris Coyier speak at a conference, you know how deep his knowledge of SVGs is and how entertaining he makes learning about them. His book, Practical SVG, is no different in that respect.
One of the reasons I love reading books by Ursula Le Guin is that her stories help me understand more about the world I live in. The way she frames things that may be completely different than Earth, help me understand more about myself as well.
When I saw that one of my favorite comic book writers had done a series on James Bond, I was there.
I spent some time on the porch this weekend, reading Lumberjanes and am so glad I did.
I can't remember who recommended H is for Hawk first, but it finally felt like the right time to read it and it was indeed.
I just finished reading the final book of The Xenogenesis Series by Octavia Butler, also known as Lilith's Brood. It is amazing. So much about how she talks about humans and their innate tendencies is appropriate for what is happening in the world right now, it was so helpful to read at this moment in time.
In my continuing quest to learn more about web performance, I just finished reading Using WebPageTest by Rick Viscomi, Andy Davies, and Marcel Duran.
I'm behind on writing up the books I've been reading, but over the 4th of July weekend I read Elizabeth Strout's The Burgess Boys and it was a lovely holiday weekend jaunt into a family's life that was both difficult but so much like so many us experience.
During a twitter conversation with some other developers a while back I was introduced to Tammy Everts and her book, Time is Money, so when it was offered as a free PDF by Everts' employer, I grabbed it.
I read a review of Patience and put it on my library list and started a hold on it. I had never read anything by Daniel Clowes, but the cover and the review intrigued me.
I read the first volume of Chew last night. It's another Colly recommendation. It is wacky, strange, weird, and any other synonym for those words you can think of. And I loved it.
Grace, the main character of the book, is based on a real person who was an infamous murderess in 1840s Toronto. Atwood based her character on the real Grace Marks, but there wasn't a lot to go on so she invented much of the novel.
Quite a while ago, probably over a year, I started Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle. This past weekend I picked it back up, sat out in the sun, and finished it.
Along with Local, I finished Palestine over the weekend. A really lovely and difficult read at times. Joe Sacco spent several months in Palestine in the early 1990s and he chronicles what he learned in the book.
Just recently Simon recommended a whole slew of comic books and I added a bunch of them onto my list and just this past week got started reading them. First up was Local and it is absolutely brilliant.
I know it's early to say this, but Nimona is in the running for the best book I've read in 2016.
Le Guin, after reading just two of her books, is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She critiques so much about our society so well through the building of her worlds and characters.
There are a handful of books that I've read in my life that I can point to and say: “This book changed my life.” Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher has entered into that small group.
Fatale is an old fashioned noir looking mystery with a bit of an occult twist.
Ms. Marvel is probably my favorite comic series ever (at least right now).
Not only are we getting to know the Lazarus better, the families better, but also some of the lesser people on the planet.
Yesterday afternoon, on a rainy spring day here in Portland, I got under a blanket and read through Design for Real Life by Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boetcher. This is an important book, especially if you have never thought through how the design of the the thing you are making can translate into many different situations and scenarios.
I read my first title from Oni Press over the weekend, The Bunker by Joshua Hale Fialkov with art by Joe Infurnari. It's a great dystopia of the future going horribly, but the future is speaking with the present.
I'm going to be honest and say that after reading the first volume, I'm still unsure about the comic. Comixology has the second volume for a pretty good price, so I'm considering reading it digitally or from the library if I do keep going.
It is an absolutely lovely story of a man in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century who's losing the way he earned a living, no one will buy his rugs.
As I continue on the quest to catch up on all the webbish reading I have started or stacked up, I finished A Web for Everyone by Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery and it was a great refresher on accessibility.
I've no idea how I discovered Red Sparrow, but I did and over the last week I read through the spy thriller. But I know it made it on my list because one of the main characters was a woman.
I first read a draft of Git for Humans before it was published, David Demaree asked me to read through and provide a quote for the site about the book. It's a fantastic book and I reread it yesterday to highlight and be able to do a review justice.
Clark's well known in the world of the web for his passion about interaction design and in particular all the new and varied ways we relate to, use, and design for the multi device world we live in. In Designing for Touch, he doesn't disappoint with a small volume absolutely packed with information.
The final book of The Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie, Ancillary Mercy is a great wrap up, tying together a lot of different threads well. But I will say, of the three books in the series, it is the weakest. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, but the story didn't capture me quite as much as the previous books.
I finished Ancillary Justice and eagerly put a hold on the next volume, Ancillary Sword at the library to be able to get to it as soon as possible.
I started The Imperial Radch series based on the review on Mandy's site. And Ann Leckie is a great writer.
As I read Gilead I was reminded of thoughtful, thinking faith. I was reminded of all the good things I find in many of the people I've known in my life. Not all Christians are what we see in the media, especially in an election year.
Last fall while on vacation I picked a book at random from my library list and read it, The Glass Sentence. And as I said then, I really enjoyed the characters and the story. Well, Sophia and friends are back in The Golden Specific and it's just as much fun.
In and amongst my reading this past month, comics have take a bit of a back seat. But I did read the first volume of Star Wars and enjoyed it.
If you don't like lots of back story and set up, then I'm afraid you shouldn't read this one. It takes quite a long time to get to the meat of the story and the conflict and we don't find out the big secret until just pages before the end of the book.
I've been scouring the best of the year lists over the past few weeks and my library wish list has grown exponentially. And, in my quest to take a true break this holiday season, I've been reading a lot of fiction that I otherwise may not read.
I made another foray into the comics of writer Brian K. Vaughan last week, reading the first volume of Ex Machina. It took me a few issues to really get into it, since there is so much going back and forth in time to explain the story, but overall I really enjoyed it.
Over a year ago I started reading American Terrior: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields by Rowan Jacobsen. It's the type of book where you can read a chapter, put it down, and come back to it weeks or months later and pick it right back up.
Last night I finished up Karen McGrane's latest book, Going Responsive and if you know people, especially bosses or CEOs who aren't sure if going all in with responsive web design is for them, this is the book to give them.
I recently finished reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, it was an unexpected read, as it seems all my novels of late have been.
I just spent quite a bit of time reading some new comics and I'm not sure I've mentioned all of them on this site, so here we go with the latest and some thoughts.
I spent my Sunday afternoon reading Ethan Marcotte's new book Responsive Design: Patterns & Principles, much of it in front of a fire, under a blanket, gobbling up the words as fast as I could. It was a great way to spend a Sunday. And I'm grateful to Ethan for sharing his wisdom with us yet again.
A few weeks ago, I went to the comic shop and I picked up Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick. The author, in particular, came highly recommended.
It takes place in Iceland in the 1820s, when Iceland was still a part of Denmark (which I did already know since I work with a Dane), and is about a woman who is sentenced to die for killing two men.
I finally picked up the first volume of Injection by Warren Ellis. I am a huge Ellis fan, as I've been working my way through all the comics he's written and I'd heard good things on the Twitters about this latest series so I was excited to read it.
I don't know about you, but I like food, and I really like cooking good food. So I often spend weekend afternoons reading cookbooks. I'm usually getting ideas, planning what I want to cook in my head, and daydreaming about the perfect pantry and kitchen set up.
It took me a while, I came back to it after leaving it, but I finished Hild yesterday morning.
I am a dog lover, through and through. And a few weeks ago when standing in the Powell's on Hawthorne, I saw Mary Oliver's Dog Songs and had to have it. It's a slim volume, mostly made up of poems, but there are a few short essays as well. And it is lovely.
The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove is a great rollicking adventure featuring the story of Sophia, the niece of one of the renowned cartologers of her age. The world has gone through a great disruption and it has thrown all the various places on Earth into different time periods.
This was not an earth shattering book, but it was a really great story to get lost in as we began our vacation.
I finished China Miéville's Embassytown the other night just before going to sleep. This was yet another book where for the first part I wasn't too sure what I was reading, but wow, the end grabbed me and I couldn't put it down.
Last weekend I finally read the first volume of Low, an interesting series that is set far into the future where the sun is actually burning up the surface of the earth, so all the people have moved into the depths of the Ocean.
I read the first volume of Hawkeye last night. I'd been on the hold list for quite some time at the library trying to get it. And now, I'm in love.
Just over a week ago I started reading Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg. This book is already changing the way I write, the way I think about writing—it made me want to learn sentence diagramming. Strangely surprising.
I ended up reading The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. If fit the bill perfectly, it isn't a great book, but it was delightful in many ways.
Yesterday I finished reading Monica Byrne's The Girl in the Road and, to be quite honest, I'm still sorting through what the book was about and if I liked it.
I read some more comics over the weekend. A while back I bought the first volume of Copperhead and Saturday turned out to be the day to read it.
I finished The Martian last night. I'm a fairly fast reader, but I usually read several things at once, so it takes a while to finish things. Not this time. I started the book last Sunday, read two thirds that day, another 75 pages on Monday night, and because of schedule issues, finished it last night.
I just recently finished the second book in the series that Hilary Mantel has written on Thomas Cromwell, Bringing up the Bodies. It was a good read, taking the reader through the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn.
I don't know why, but one day last month I wandered into the science fiction section at the main Powells. And while there, happened upon a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.
On the heels of reading Ministry of Space, I picked up a volume that's been on the shelf for quite some time after I found a cheap used copy at Powells, Y: The Last Man.
I got back into some new comics I've had on my shelf for a while now this past weekend. I've been finding reading comics is my way of just unwinding and usually I love to read things that may have depth, but you can also gloss over that if you want. But I just read Ministry of Space written by Warren Ellis.
Many moons ago, my friend Sara recommended this book to me. I was doing Couch to 5k and I was also writing more, so it seemed a good fit. I finally picked up What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami a few months ago and I finally started reading it a few weeks ago.
This past weekend I read what I like to call brain candy. An easy going, entertaining book, that won't make me think too hard. Many times these are spy thrillers and this was no different, I hung out in Cairo with The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer.
Over the past few months I've been reading The Gastronomical Me by MFK Fisher off and on. It's a great memoir about food, travel, and life in Europe in the lead up to World War II, but I also had to be in the right mood for it, so I slowly made my way through the book.
I chose Alex + Ada. It was the perfect choice given some of the things I've been thinking about this past week.
I'd heard a lot of good things about Wolf Hall, the novel by Hilary Mantel about Thomas Cromwell. So I finally got my turn to read the digital copy from the library and spent most of last weekend devouring it.
I'm a bit behind on getting my reading stuff up here. But while I was on the plane to Boston and back, I read Rocket Girl and it is fan-freaking-tastic.
Over the weekend I needed a bit of a get away from it all read, and, as it worked out, my turn came up at the library to read the latest Olen Steinhauer spy novel, All the Old Knives.
Several weeks ago I picked up Elle Luna's new book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, and I started it and then set it aside for a while. I'm participating in The 100 Day Project and have been using my time to keep that going and some travel, but today I got back to and finished the book.
I know, I know, I know! More Warren Ellis, but I did say in the last post that I'm on a bit of kick with his comics, so I'm reading all I can get my hands on.
Last night was a rainy spring evening in Portland, so I settled in with a glass of wine and Global Frequency by Warren Ellis.
I finished up a novel the other night by an author I'd never read before, Elizabeth Strout. A different novel of hers made its way onto my wish list for library loans some time ago and when I looked into it more deeply, I decided to read her first novel first.
Last weekend my turn finally came up on the library hold list to check out The Sculptor by Scott McCloud.
I finished the first volume of Trees last weekend and it is now one of my favorite comics.
I keep a rather long list of books in both my library wish list as well as Amazon's wish list. They get on the list through a variety of means, maybe I read about them in the New York Times book section, maybe someone tweeted about them, maybe I saw them mentioned in an article I read—but no matter how they get there, I usually don't get to them until I've long forgotten how or the source.
I read Alison Bechdel's Fun Home based on several recommendations. It was my first graphic novel with serious subject matter since I read Maus many years ago.
Here's the most recent comics I've been reading. It's been so fantastic to get so many wonderful recommendations from fellow comic readers. Thank you all so much!
I know, I just wrote about comics last week, but I'm writing about them again. Because I read my first super hero comic over the weekend, actually I devoured it.
I read the first edition of Ethan Marcotte's Responsive Web Design when it came out and just today finished reading the second edition. Ethan is a wonderful writer, making me laugh and keeping my attention, even when the division sign is used a lot.
I finally read Lara Hogan's fantastic Designing for Performance: Weighing Aesthetics and Speed over the past couple days. It's a fantastic read, along with Scott Jehl's book Responsible Responsive Design should be read by pretty much everyone working on the design and front end of sites today since performance is such a crucial element of our work.
Almost one year ago I read my first comic. I know, I'm a late bloomer here. But since that first trade of Fables I've become a comic lover. Since I'm trying to record what I've read on this site, comics are no different, but since I don't really highlight from them, I'm just going to do a roundup here of the latest series I've started reading in the last month.
The Manual: Issue 4 lives up to the high bar set by the first three issues of the publication.
2014 will always be associated with comics for me. It was the year I started reading them, diving into Fables and catching up with current issues, then the entire Sandman series, Saga, and making a start on Lucifer.
I am woefully behind in reading a lot of tech books that I have purchased in the last 6 months. Between client work, getting ready to speak, and just plain old not wanting to always think about CSS, I've let things sit for a bit. But it's a new year and I'm back at it! Vicki Murley's book CSS Animation: An Interactive Guide is fantastic.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway is a great novel. The writing is magnificent, the characters are interesting, and I absolutely loved the mix of real history with some science fiction like changes.
Over the weekend I needed to disconnect and get away, so I dove into a novel. I've long had a fascination with World War II, so I gravitate to novels that take place in that era of history.
Last week, just before the holiday, I finished Scott Jehl's book, Responsible Responsive Design and it is a great book.
I sat down to read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because Mandy recommended it and well, Mandy's recommendation are usually always good. What happened while reading was that I got lost in the world of Ifemelu....
I am a bit of a founding fathers history nut, I really enjoy reading about that period of our history because there is such drama and personalities all battling it out to figure out where this new country will go. And my favorite founding father by far is John Adams, one of the reasons for this is because he married an equally interesting woman who we know so much about because they wrote to each constantly.
I often go to Mandy's site to find good books to read and the latest on her recommendation that I finished is Submergence by J.M. Ledgard. If you read either of the posts that Mandy wrote about the book, you can get a flavor of what it's about, but I would add that the writing is absolutely amazing. Ledgard writes amazing descriptions and it is dense, I often reread paragraphs simple because the words were so amazing. Another learning experience about writing while reading something that took me into two very different worlds than my own.
In the last month or so I've read both of Teju Cole's books. They are both wonderful. His writing style is incredibly descriptive, taking me fully into the world his characters inhabit.
I finished Jason Santa Maria's book On Web Typography today. Having worked with Jason, I heard his voice as I read, knowing much of what he was saying were things he has said to me before, but I am so grateful to have them on paper to refer to again and again.
I recently read, what for me, was a fantastic book to learn how to use words to describe things beautifully. Thank you Teju Cole
Highlights from The Gift
Highlights from tiny beautiful things
Highlights from Bird by Bird
Highlights from Sass for Web Designers
Highlights from A Pocket Guide to Front-end Style Guides
Highlights from Just Enough Research
Highlights from The Library at Night
Highlights from The Design of Everyday Things
Highlights from An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
Highlights from Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
Highlights from Mindfire
Highlights from Quiet
Highlights from Content Strategy for Mobile
Highlights from The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work
Highlights from The Art of Choosing
Highlights from reading Where Good Ideas Come From