I’m a self-proclaimed bookworm. The shelves in my room are stocked full with all kinds of books—romance paperbacks, design books, advertising publications, web design guides, mystery novels, and newspaper handbooks, among others. The problem is this: between classes, homework, and a wide array of demanding extracurricular activities, I don’t have a whole lot of spare time on my hands. If I had more free time, I might have the chance to delve into a few new books. Check out three of the books that currently top my reading list:
1. One Million by Hendrik Hertzberg
I came across this book while I was scouring Design Notes earlier this week, and I think the concept behind it is astounding. The book illustrates one million dots throughout its 200 pages, while all kinds of statistics are pulled from within. Each dot represents a number between 1 and 1,000,000, chronologically organized from front to back; numbers that have interesting data or consequential information related to them are highlighted, and the context of each is written on reserved blank space at the bottom of each page. The following excerpt from Michael Surtees of Design Notes best describes the wide variety of facts and figures communicated throughout the book:
As I was reading the pages it struck me that I was looking at the full circle of life. Common data was placed in the context of births, deaths, geography, military, space, time, travel, jail, money among many other categories. For instance we learn that 150,300 people crossed the Brooklyn bridge on foot on opening day, May 24,1883 while 150,835 US deaths in a day happened in 2008. It’s information like that to compare that makes the book fascinating.
This isn’t your typical book, and that’s what piques my interest; I love discovering new and compelling ways of communicating information. And to a steadfast lover of Jeopardy and Cash Cab, the wide array of interesting facts is immensely compelling. While it isn’t your typical narrative tale, it’s the unlikely dissemination of information that makes this book so intriguing.
2. Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico
As a creative, I’m constantly looking for visual stimulation and artistic inspiration, and I’ve recently found that one of the best ways to do so is to pick the brains of industry professionals and examine the creative processes that each adheres to. The authors of this book have done the leg work for me, compiling a vast assortment of pages photographed, scanned, and torn from the idea books of successful graphic designers from all around the globe. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of this book so I can scrutinize and examine the thought processes and workflows of all sorts of visual thinkers. What I love most is the huge variations evident throughout the book, from different types of materials and unusual subjects to disparate thought processes and varying levels of organization. Overall, it seems to be a very accurate representation of the many types of creative expression and design approaches that exist in today’s artistic community. For a more comprehensive sneak peek, check out additional interior pages here.
3. The Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy
Okay, so this isn’t a book that fits neatly into one of the categories I mentioned in the beginning of this post. In truth, it’s a cookbook… I forgot to mention that cooking and baking are two other hobbies that I like to engage in when I’ve got spare time on my hands (though my boyfriend often protests). I’m always looking for new recipes online and scouting new cookbooks at Borders. Being that I’m a graphic designer who tends to overindulge in the not-so-occasional bowl of pasta, this book definitely fits the bill.
Dressed from cover to cover in black and white graphic illustrations, this isn’t your typical cookbook. Ellen Shapiro of Imprint describes the book’s interior pages, explaining, “each pasta shape is introduced on a spread with title, description, dimensions, synonyms, and ‘also good with’ on the left. On the right is a full-page graphic composition, all of which are different.”
I’m on the hunt for my own copy of this book so I can try out a few of its inventive recipes myself—I can only hope they’ll be as tasty as the gorgeous graphics pictured throughout! Check out the rest of Shapiro’s article on Imprint for more images of the book and a Q&A with the masterminds behind it.
Alright, now that you’ve heard all about three of my favorite books currently on store shelves, tell me about yours. What books have recently piqued your interest and inspired you?