Strange Stories: Summer Reading List

A few of my books and some of J’s books. I still have to work on Compendium 3 of TWD before the next season starts.

A few of my books and some of J’s books that didn’t make it into my summer reading list. I still have to work on Compendium 3 of TWD before the next season starts.

Whenever I visit an unfamiliar city, I do my best to visit any bookstore to peruse the local recommendations. I love when shop employees leave hand-written reviews on the shelves for books they’ve enjoyed reading; it makes leaving empty-handed a little difficult, but I think it’s reached a point in which I can’t keep up with the growing amount of reading material. When I went to the iconic Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, it required will-power to leave without anything new. While a little heart-broken over the lack of any new literary acquisitions, I remembered there are at least twelve unfinished books (at least in recent memory) in my personal library.

That’s where the first day of Summer comes in. To mark the upcoming longest day of the year, I’ve started a modest reading list of books that I actually need to finish so I can gradually move onto the unread material I’ve been eyeballing in my shelves. Here’s the stack I’m making it a goal to finish this summer:

A stack of summer reading, a small potted aloe vera, and a cup of coffee on a wooden coffee table

This summer’s personal reading.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow | Sometimes with all this literature on creativity, I crave something a little more on the scientific or technical end, just to shake things up. I referenced this book a few posts back here, and I unfortunately haven’t made as much progress since that post. Daniel Kahneman writes about voluntary and involuntary thought, and how both affect our perception and decision-making. It’s a little slow at the beginning, but I’ve read a little further to find a few exercises to prove a few of the points Kahneman makes. So far, it’s an interesting look into one aspect of human cognition, and I’ve often found myself examining my own thought processes.

Debbie Millman, Look Both Ways | Debbie Millman’s book is a collection of personal essays on the intersections between design and real life. If her personal stories don’t charm and inspire, then maybe you might find the overall design of the book endearing. Some of her essays are embroidered or even hand-written in marker, on chalkboard, or even divided amongst index cards.

Kio Stark, Don’t Go Back to School | While I do believe there are professions that require a certain amount of schooling along with the appropriate advanced degrees and certifications, this book isn’t about pursuing those career paths; neither is it solely about bypassing the system. Kio Stark interviewed filmmakers, artists, journalists, and even a few scientists about how they’ve pursued other areas of interest, or furthered their careers without having to go the conventional route via grad school. It’s an inspiring read so far, with few a thoughts on the lifelong pursuit of knowledge without subjection to our merit-based educational institution.

Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style | Ah, the all-mighty required reading for undergrad design students everywhere—well, most of them at least. It was on a reading list from one of my typography instructors, but somehow it got neglected in between painstakingly drawing out and painting letterforms from the Garamond family and learning to use Adobe software. The Elements of Typographic Style was Bringhurst’s response to Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style. If Strunk & White believe a message should be clearly-written to serve its audience, then Bringhurst adds that it should be set in such a way that honors the content. It’s more of a refresher, even being years out from school, but I’m still learning new things from this book.

I just realized there isn’t any fiction in this list. Maybe during the next quarter, if I finish this stack, I’ll work on whatever unfinished fiction is on my list. What are you guys reading right now?