Books Read in July 2010

Color, Shape, Form, and Line by Gemma Guasch and Josep Asuncion

I'd bought these four books near the end of my time as an active artist because I was fascinated by the format - they showed how to do one piece, then what could have happened if it had been varied in different ways. I didn't read them before because I thought I would work through them as exercises. That's not happening this decade, so I decided to read them and enjoy seeing the variations and fascinations that they displayed. I miss creating art. I so hope that when I find a full-time job and don't have to be trying to build up a reputation so I can find a job (what I was doing previously) that I'll be able to do art again. 

Burnt Offerings, Blue Moon, and Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell Hamilton

Yep, a few more Anita Blake as I slowly work my way through the series again. Blue Moon was really where the flavor started changing from mystery to romantic suspense, although Obsidian Butterfly was kind of a detour in the main story line. After that they start feeling more like a guilty pleasure.

The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson

This was a good story about Joseph Priestly - the discoverer of oxygen and carbonated water - and how he fit into his times. The author brought in all sorts of factors - like Priestly's ability to communicate with other likeminded scientists, amateurs and otherwise, and the availability of both equipment and leisure time. I had no idea that he was considered one of the most important scientific men of his age. I did appreciate that the author also told the story of how Priestly turned off more and more potential patrons with his political and religious ideas as he got older.

Purpose by Nikos Mourkogiannis

I didn't find this book particularly compelling, for all that it was well written. I get the idea, that purpose matters, and agree that it was worth writing a book about, but I oddly enough found it difficult to care while reading. Maybe this is one of those books that is better when you don't already agree with the premise and are waiting for it to convince you. 

The Summer Country and The Winter Oak by James A. Hetley

A novel and its sequel about a modern crossing between the normal world and that of Faerie. They had a few unusual ideas embedded within them, but were more decent than fantastic.

How Doctors Think by Jerome E. Groopman

I really enjoyed this book. I could see the articles and research about successes and errors in critical thinking embodied in a very personal and real way. 

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

I loved seeing this author's skills put to another mythology. I liked the Greek series, but was even more engaged by this Egyptian theme, perhaps because it was more mysterious to me. The ideas were unexpected and I enjoyed how my understanding evolved along with that of the main characters. I wasn't thrilled with the little bit of contrivance of it being a transcript of a recording, but that was easily forgotten most of the time. I look forward to the next time.

Product Design and Development by Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger

I read this one because at one point it was part of the Personal MBA reading list. It was a textbook and the reading style was accordingly dry but the information was useful. I learned some new things about product development when it comes to a multi-component manufactured product versus a chemical formulation, so it was worthwhile. I agree it's a good introduction to the concepts but think it could have used a chapter on "when things go wrong."

Guerilla Marketing Weapons by Jay Conrad Levinson

It's amusing reading an outdated book about tactics. but this was a GREAT outdated book and it only took a little imagination to expand on the concepts and bring them into the internet age. I loved the short chapters, the organization, and the touch of story that bound them together. I think I liked this one better than the core Guerrilla Marketing book., actually.

On the Nightstand: Why Do I Love These People, Chaos, Collapse of Distinction