what I am reading now
(in animated suspension)
what I have read
(I love to read)
of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring - J. R. R. Tolkien
Yes, I re-read the trilogy because of the movie
just like the publishers hoped I would. I enjoyed the series more than when I had
first read the books in grade 6 (8?) when I skipped over the
pages of needless detail - like everything not directly dealing with Frodo.
It's a good read and a fun read but I can't get myself to call it a Great
Read. Be sure to check out the lengthy appendix at the end of the series -
it's the real book that Tolkien wanted to write.
Society - Ivan Illich
make me think - Steve Krug
My favourite book on web design. One of my co-workers
picked my copy up, opened it up the chapter "Happy Talk Must Die"
and on that merit alone, decided to buy it. While not for the experienced
coder, this is the best book I've seen for those who have a say in designing
of Power - Gary Klien
It has an awful title - constructed I suppose, to attract
the insecure. Could you guess from the title alone that the book is about
decision making? The first three chapters are amazing. Klein uses stories
from firefighters and other emergency personnel to drive home the point that
people generally don't make decisions by optimization (that is, determine
all the courses of action, evaluate each, and then determine which is best)
but by sufficing - taking the first option that should work. But then the
author assumes that the reader is hooked and starts replacing the narratives
with references to scholarly literature. So I suggest to read until you
think it suffices.
The Real World of Democracy
- C. B. Macpherson
Lecture number 4, 1965)
One of the reasons why I have begun to systematically read
all the Massey Lectures is simply because the books are very short. Case in
point, the Real World of Democracy is a wee 67 pages of text. The
reading is a little dry as, presumably for the sake of brevity, Macpherson
does not back up his theories with evidence and antidote. That being
said, if have you already have given the matter some thought, you may find
as I did, that his evaluation of what is meant by "democracy" is
succinct and thought-provoking.
Educated Imagination - Northrop Frye
Lecture 2, 1962)
Comics - Scott McCloud
This was good, but I liked his Coins of the Realm more.
Real World of Technology - Ursula Franklin
(Massey Lecture 26, 1989)
When I first read this book some years ago, I thought it was
amazing. But when I re-read the book, I wasn't nearly as impressed. Thus, I
recommend the first reading of the book, but not the second.
I started my subscription to COLORS just after
the magazine's glory days when designer and provocateur Tibor Kalman was at
the helm. And now with the recent departure of photographer Oliviero
Toscani, COLORS will never be what it once was. But there's good news:
recent issues of COLORS do not try to imitate the past but in its stead
presents some of the most compelling photojournalism that I know of. And for
those who would rather the COLORS of the past, there's 1001 Extra/Ordinary
Things. It's a thick and rich book - a stew of humanity. I got a copy on my
birthday - it makes a great gift.
I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
Will writes for those people who
loves Canada, but hates Canadians. Well, he doesn't hate all Canadians. Separatists,
people who think that Canadians own the word "nice", and the folks
who cancelled his beloved Katima
especially raise his ire. But this book really isn't about Canadians that
piss our Will off. This is actually a history book! But its an opinionated history
book and funny in bits, so that's okay. Frank Magazine thinks he's too soft
on the Liberal Party and Jan Wong just skewered him in a recent "Lunch
With Jan Wong" column alleging that the man is a shameless
Party - Carol Shields
How do you tell an extraordinary story
about an ordinary person? Carol Shields knows and does so in such a gentle
manner that you don't realize that you are being skillfully guided through a
maze of an everyman's experience until the novel is finished.
Game - Ken Dryden
Do I recommend it?
Hell yeah! Ken Dryden writes really well and brings real insight to the
people, business, and game of hockey. Note I did not say, "Ken
Dryden writes really well for a hockey player". I said, Ken Dryden
writes really well.
Cyberselfish - Paulina
Do I recommend it?
No, it was too sloppy.
Insensitive - Russell Smith
Do I recommend it?
Only if the Toronto "Scene" presses heavily on your mind.
what I have given up reading
(Hurts my brain)
lives of a cell: notes of a biology watcher - Lewis Thomas
I hate poncy science writing.
A Short History of the Printed Word
- Warren Chappell
I like books but I don't like books that much to read about their
Growing up Absurd - Paul Goodman
I kept stumbling upon references to
this book in my magazine and non-fiction travels, so I thought I'd give it a
go. The book was written in 1956 and is currently out of print (but available
at the library - I mention this as a plug for libraries in general).
I think I can understand why
the book is out of print. While the absurdities of post-war society that Paul
points out sadly still the same (the meaningless of work, class structure and
struggle) the backdrop of his arguments has changed significantly. It's hard
to read sentences like, "Nevertheless, we see groups of boys and young
men disaffected from the dominant society. The young men are Angry and
Beat" without giggling. Kerouac just doesn't seem scary anymore. He wore
khakis that you can buy at the Gap.
Prize - Daniel Yergin
Why did I give up?
The history of petroleum industry is a long and sordid one.
It deserves our attention as oil rules the world. But I am weak.