September 12, 2012


I usually get in some quality reading time when travelling, and last week was no exception. I bought three books on a whim on the way to Oklahoma City, each very different, but each pretty indicative of the kinds of content I like to absorb:

Yes. A whole book about fonts. Not for everyone. But a great read for typography devotees and history buffs alike. I left this at Kathleen's house - the Page Six-like story behind the name of one of her favorite fonts (Mrs. Eaves - re: every italic on her blog), paired with the thoughtful analysis of typography's myriad impacts on our everyday lives, make me think she might enjoy it as well.

Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow
I picked this up because of, well, the impact of typography on my life and aesthetics. It's written in a poetically-structured kind of free verse that I had never seen before and knew would shape the way I experienced the narrative. And it did. It even kind of affected the way I breathed while reading it. Fun, werewolves-in-L.A. noir fiction - the kind of thing Bret Easton Ellis would write if he wasn't so busy trying to sound cool all the time.

Bursts: The Hidden Patterns Behind Everything We Do, from Your E-mail to Bloody Crusades, by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
I love fiction, for the power it has to transport and distract. But I also love nonfiction, for the power it has to probe and magnify. I love reading about human behavior (it might just be an excuse to think about myself). Not just the big, juicy aspects (serial killers, historical conspiracies) but the intimate, unfathomably small internal processes - for example, tiny sparks in our brains that shape daily perception and decision-making. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi is like Malcolm Gladwell's nerdy best friend: he dives into seemingly mundane aspects of human behavior, and illustrates them on grand scales and with engaging, literary asides until you are just as utterly obsessed as he is. And he would not have been surprised at my recent "burst" of reading activity. Fascinating and educational.