Picked up some new reading material to start off 2014.
Daemon, and its sequel Freedom, by Daniel Suarez are two of the best fiction books I have read in a long time. Props to Daniel for the recommendation.
all of these choices—these transpositions we choose when reading— work. They work for us because books do not tender precise images, sounds or smells. Books, like plays, present ideas, and the juxtaposition of ideas. It is the interaction of ideas that catalyzes feeling in us readers.
A long essay that is well worth the read.
I’m still working my way through Foucault’s The Order of Things and have made slower progress than previous weeks. Busy weeks at work and lots of travel will do that. As I was working through my notes from the last 100 pages this quote caught my eye:
To know is to speak correctly, and as the steady progress of the mind dictates; to speak is to know as far as one is able, and in accordance with the model imposed by those whose birth one shares.
I particularly like those first six words. To know is to speak correctly. Has a nice feeling to it.
Earlier today I started Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I’m already half-way through reading it. A fantastic read with the right mix of tech, books, and intrigue.
I strongly believe digital books benefit from public endpoints. The current generation of readers (human, not electronic) have formed expectations about sharing text, and if you obstruct their ability to share — to touch — digital text, then your content is as good as non-existent. Or, in the least, it’s less likely to be engaged.
Word. Art Space Tokyo is a gorgeous site and I bet will drive a lot of digital sales, in addition to readers.
If digital covers as we know them are so ‘dead,’ why do we hold them so gingerly? Treat them like print covers? We can’t hurt them. They’re dead. So let’s start hacking. Pull them apart, cut them into bits and see what we come up with.
This is an essay for book lovers and designers curious about where the cover has been, where it’s going, and what the ethos of covers means for digital book design. It’s for those of us dissatisfied with thoughtlessly transferring print assets to digital and closing our eyes.
The cover as we know it really is — gasp — ‘dead.’ But it’s dead because the way we touch digital books is different than the way we touch physical books. And once you acknowledge that, useful corollaries emerge.
Craig Mod — Hack the Cover.
Ian Beck’s post the other day inspired me to jot down some notes here about what I recently read. Similar to Ian, I am a binge reader of sorts. There are months that go by where I hardly crack open a book. Other months I will finish a half-dozen.
Before I moved this site to WordPress.com I had a custom post type that listed out which books I recently completed in a special page template. Since that is no longer, here is what has kept me interested recently.
A relatively easy read but superbly interesting. Matthew Crawford writes about his experiences in life as a mechanic and at a think tank. The guiding philosophy behind the book is one I agree with.
I just finished this the other day and loved it. I had heard good things from others and the book did not disappoint.
This has the benefit of being a 7-part series. I have been a Stephen King fan since 5th grade but I really think this is his finest work. I started the series a couple times before but this time I finally have consistent time to finish it. Since August I read volumes 3–5 and am about halfway through volume 6 now.
The Dark Tower is a wonderful mix of futurism and western fiction with a few dark twists thrown in. Handily the first volume is short and easy to read. I would encourage anyone to give that a read. If it hooks you the series just gets better from there.
Michael Pick recommended this to me at our Budapest meetup. It was fascinating. If you don’t mind non-linear fiction with a bit of imaginary world construction I cannot recommend it highly enough. Possibly the best piece of fiction I read this year.
If you are interested in ideas around managing teams this is a good one. Yes it is from the 1960s, but the advice is solid. Unlike some other business books it focuses on the concrete with digestible advice that actually gives you something to take back to your work.
If your book is 600 pages long, you are demanding more of my time than I feel free to give. And if I could accomplish the same change in my view of the world by reading a 60-page version of your argument, why didn’t you just publish a book this length instead?
The honest answer to this last question should disappoint everyone: Publishers can’t charge enough money for 60-page books to survive; thus, writers can’t make a living by writing them. But readers are beginning to feel that this shouldn’t be their problem. Worse, many readers believe that they can just jump on YouTube and watch the author speak at a conference, or skim his blog, and they will have absorbed most of what he has to say on a given subject. In some cases this is true and suggests an enduring problem for the business of publishing. In other cases it clearly isn’t true and suggests an enduring problem for our intellectual life.
Sam Harris — The Future of the Book.