Peter Merholz

Peter Merholz

I’m not eating; I’m snacking. (he/him)

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30+ Book Recommendations by Peter Merholz

  • The Library Book

    Susan Orlean

    Susan Orlean’s bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is “a sheer delight…as rich in insight and as varied as the treasures contained on the shelves in any local library” (USA TODAY)—a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries. “Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book” (The Washington Post). On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. The fire was disastrous: it reached two thousand degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who? Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a “delightful…reflection on the past, present, and future of libraries in America” (New York magazine) that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before. In the “exquisitely written, consistently entertaining” (The New York Times) The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries; brings each department of the library to vivid life; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago. “A book lover’s dream…an ambitiously researched, elegantly written book that serves as a portal into a place of history, drama, culture, and stories” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis), Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country.

    @PavelASamsonov I just read THE LIBRARY BOOK, which I loved. CASTE was my favorite book from last year.

  • Edward Hopper

    Gail Levin

    @nathanacurtis Our Hopper book https://t.co/LaANUClWel

  • In this hilarious and highly practical book, author and professional speaker Scott Berkun reveals the techniques behind what great communicators do, and shows how anyone can learn to use them well. For managers and teachers -- and anyone else who talks and expects someone to listen -- Confessions of a Public Speaker provides an insider's perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone. It's a unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking to crowds of all sizes. With lively lessons and surprising confessions, you'll get new insights into the art of persuasion -- as well as teaching, learning, and performance -- directly from a master of the trade. Highlights include: Berkun's hard-won and simple philosophy, culled from years of lectures, teaching courses, and hours of appearances on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC Practical advice, including how to work a tough room, the science of not boring people, how to survive the attack of the butterflies, and what to do when things go wrong The inside scoop on who earns $30,000 for a one-hour lecture and why The worst -- and funniest -- disaster stories you've ever heard (plus countermoves you can use) Filled with humorous and illuminating stories of thrilling performances and real-life disasters, Confessions of a Public Speaker is inspirational, devastatingly honest, and a blast to read.

    @kennethn @berkun's Confessions of a Public Speaker https://t.co/9SEMPj7Rmh

  • The New York Times bestselling security droid with a heart (though it wouldn't admit it!) is back! Having captured the hearts of readers across the globe (Annalee Newitz says it's "one of the most humane portraits of a nonhuman I've ever read") Murderbot has also established Martha Wells as one of the great SF writers of today. No, I didn't kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn't dump the body in the station mall. When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?) Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans! Again! A new standalone adventure in the New York Times-bestselling, Hugo and Nebula Award winning series!

    A new Murderbot book is out? Today?! https://t.co/fCFieIktbJ https://t.co/D8W1TOvwzW

  • Cognetics and the locus of attention - Meanings, modes, monotony, and myths - Quantification - Unification - Navigation and other aspects of humane interfaces - Interface issues outside the user interface.

    @intrcnnctd @genmon For a period "zoomable user interfaces" were intriguing, for these cognitive reasons (https://t.co/woYMQLJPkE). Jef Raskin's _The Humane Interface_ is a worthwhile read on this front. https://t.co/9YijOIVjaW

  • Whether you’re designing consumer electronics, medical devices, enterprise Web apps, or new ways to check out at the supermarket, today’s digitally-enabled products and services provide both great opportunities to deliver compelling user experiences and great risks of driving your customers crazy with complicated, confusing technology. Designing successful products and services in the digital age requires a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in interaction design, visual design, industrial design, and other disciplines. It also takes the ability to come up with the big ideas that make a desirable product or service, as well as the skill and perseverance to execute on the thousand small ideas that get your design into the hands of users. It requires expertise in project management, user research, and consensus-building. This comprehensive, full-color volume addresses all of these and more with detailed how-to information, real-life examples, and exercises. Topics include assembling a design team, planning and conducting user research, analyzing your data and turning it into personas, using scenarios to drive requirements definition and design, collaborating in design meetings, evaluating and iterating your design, and documenting finished design in a way that works for engineers and stakeholders alike.

    I attended the launch party for this book 12 years ago, and I am still not aware of a single book better at laying out digital product design. I consider it 'canonical.' https://t.co/o1KGTDhco4

  • The Manager's Path

    Camille Fournier

    Managing people is difficult wherever you work. But in the tech industry, where management is also a technical discipline, the learning curve can be brutal--especially when there are few tools, texts, and frameworks to help you. In this practical guide, author Camille Fournier (tech lead turned CTO) takes you through each stage in the journey from engineer to technical manager. From mentoring interns to working with senior staff, you'll get actionable advice for approaching various obstacles in your path. This book is ideal whether you're a new manager, a mentor, or a more experienced leader looking for fresh advice. Pick up this book and learn how to become a better manager and leader in your organization. Begin by exploring what you expect from a manager Understand what it takes to be a good mentor, and a good tech lead Learn how to manage individual members while remaining focused on the entire team Understand how to manage yourself and avoid common pitfalls that challenge many leaders Manage multiple teams and learn how to manage managers Learn how to build and bootstrap a unifying culture in teams

    Big ups to @skamille whose book THE MANAGER’S PATH, though targeted to engineering leaders, is super relevant to design leaders and managers. https://t.co/Jlcc0l575w I’m finding all kinds of gems in there.

  • More Work For Mother

    Ruth Schwartz Cowan

    In this classic work of women's history (winner of the 1984 Dexter Prize from the Society for the History of Technology), Ruth Schwartz Cowan shows how and why modern women devote as much time to housework as did their colonial sisters. In lively and provocative prose, Cowan explains how the modern conveniences—washing machines, white flour, vacuums, commercial cotton—seemed at first to offer working-class women middle-class standards of comfort. Over time, however, it became clear that these gadgets and gizmos mainly replaced work previously conducted by men, children, and servants. Instead of living lives of leisure, middle-class women found themselves struggling to keep up with ever higher standards of cleanliness.

    @katerutter @odannyboy MORE WORK FOR MOTHER, Cowan

  • Teaming

    Amy C. Edmondson

    The next level of breakthrough thinking in organizational learning, leadership, and change Harvard professor Amy Edmondson shows how leaders can make organizational learning happen by building teams that learn. Based on years of research and case studies from Verizon, Bank of America, and Children’s Hospital, Edmondson outlines the factors that typically prevent groups from learning, such as the fear of failure, groupthink, power structures, and information hording. She shows how leaders can control these factors by encouraging reflection, creating psychological safety, and overcoming defensive routines that inhibit the sharing of ideas, among others. Leaders can use practical management strategies to help organizations realize the benefits inherent in both success and failure.

    @katerutter @odannyboy TEAMING, Edmondson ARCHITECTURAL INTELLIGENCE, Steenson

  • Architectural Intelligence

    Molly Wright Steenson

    Architects, anti-architects, and architecting -- Christopher Alexander -- Richard Saul Wurman -- Information architects -- Cedric Price -- Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Architecture Machine Group -- Architecting intelligence

    @katerutter @odannyboy TEAMING, Edmondson ARCHITECTURAL INTELLIGENCE, Steenson

  • Sorting Things Out

    Geoffrey C. Bowker

    What do a seventeenth-century mortality table (whose causes of death include "fainted in a bath," "frighted," and "itch"); the identification of South Africans during apartheid as European, Asian, colored, or black; and the separation of machine- from hand-washables have in common? All are examples of classification--the scaffolding of information infrastructures. In Sorting Things Out, Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star explore the role of categories and standards in shaping the modern world. In a clear and lively style, they investigate a variety of classification systems, including the International Classification of Diseases, the Nursing Interventions Classification, race classification under apartheid in South Africa, and the classification of viruses and of tuberculosis. The authors emphasize the role of invisibility in the process by which classification orders human interaction. They examine how categories are made and kept invisible, and how people can change this invisibility when necessary. They also explore systems of classification as part of the built information environment. Much as an urban historian would review highway permits and zoning decisions to tell a city's story, the authors review archives of classification design to understand how decisions have been made. Sorting Things Out has a moral agenda, for each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences another. Standards and classifications produce advantage or suffering. Jobs are made and lost; some regions benefit at the expense of others. How these choices are made and how we think about that process are at the moral and political core of this work. The book is an important empirical source for understanding the building of information infrastructures.

    @katerutter @odannyboy I don't know about favorite, but SORTING THINGS OUT, Star and Bowker INFORMATION ECOLOGIES, Nardi and O'Day

  • Information Ecologies

    Bonnie A. Nardi & Vicki L. O'Day

    "An information ecology is a system of people, practices, technologies, and values in a local environment. Like their biological coounterparts, information ecologies are diverse, continually evolving, and complex. Nardi and O'Day encourage the reader to become more aware of the ways people and technology are interrelated. A key to thoughtful action, they say, is to ask more "know-why" questions, before jumping to the more straightforward "know-how" questions. They talk about practical ways to have more "know-why" questions, to dig deeper and reflect more on how we use technology"--

    @katerutter @odannyboy I don't know about favorite, but SORTING THINGS OUT, Star and Bowker INFORMATION ECOLOGIES, Nardi and O'Day

  • Caste

    Isabel Wilkerson

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. "[Caste] should be at the top of every American's reading list."--Chicago Tribune "As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

    No surprises here. The first 5-star book I’ve read in a while. Difficult, eye-opening, thoughtful, mind-expanding. Should be required reading for all Americans. https://t.co/KM94rWK46A

  • Cognetics and the locus of attention - Meanings, modes, monotony, and myths - Quantification - Unification - Navigation and other aspects of humane interfaces - Interface issues outside the user interface.

    @lkanies I can't recall if Tesler is. It's author, Jef Raskin, is zealous about modeless interfaces. He goes to great lengths to explain how a truly modeless interface could be designed. The book proved formative in my thinking about UI.

  • Neurotribes

    Steve Silberman

    "A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently"--

    In 30 minutes, I will be joining the @QuarantineBook featuring @stevesilberman talking about his book "NeuroTribes", hosted by my pals @muledesign. See you there! https://t.co/iS0ZvLBLSS

  • High Output Management

    Andrew S. Grove

    The president of Silicon Valley's Intel Corporation sets forth the three basic ideas of his management philosophy and details numerous specific techniques to increase productivity in the manager's work and that of his colleagues and subordinates

    Light weekend reading https://t.co/YlHoXFuTzw

  • Sorting Things Out

    Geoffrey C. Bowker

    What do a seventeenth-century mortality table (whose causes of death include "fainted in a bath," "frighted," and "itch"); the identification of South Africans during apartheid as European, Asian, colored, or black; and the separation of machine- from hand-washables have in common? All are examples of classification--the scaffolding of information infrastructures. In Sorting Things Out, Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star explore the role of categories and standards in shaping the modern world. In a clear and lively style, they investigate a variety of classification systems, including the International Classification of Diseases, the Nursing Interventions Classification, race classification under apartheid in South Africa, and the classification of viruses and of tuberculosis. The authors emphasize the role of invisibility in the process by which classification orders human interaction. They examine how categories are made and kept invisible, and how people can change this invisibility when necessary. They also explore systems of classification as part of the built information environment. Much as an urban historian would review highway permits and zoning decisions to tell a city's story, the authors review archives of classification design to understand how decisions have been made. Sorting Things Out has a moral agenda, for each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences another. Standards and classifications produce advantage or suffering. Jobs are made and lost; some regions benefit at the expense of others. How these choices are made and how we think about that process are at the moral and political core of this work. The book is an important empirical source for understanding the building of information infrastructures.

    @mulegirl I’m compelled to say that you NEED to read SORTING THINGS OUT by Star and Bowker. Also @mwesch gave a great talk at UX Week 2010 on the role of imposing bureaucracy (forms, categories) on cultures. https://t.co/3cSRQYWARb (among many other things)

  • The Overstory

    Richard Powers

    The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of--and paean to--the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers's twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours--vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

    @brownorama The Overstory - Richard Powers Team of Teams - Stanley McChrystal

  • Team of Teams

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal

    As commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), General Stanley McChrystal discarded a century of management wisdom and pivoted from a pursuit of mechanical efficiency to organic adaptability. In this book, he shows how any organization can make the same transition to act like a team of teams - where small groups combine the freedom to experiment with a relentless drive to share their experience. Drawing on a wealth of evidence from his military career and sources as diverse as hospital emergency rooms and NASA's space program, McChrystal frames the existential challenge facing today's organizations, and presents a compelling, effective solution.

    @brownorama The Overstory - Richard Powers Team of Teams - Stanley McChrystal

  • Twenty-year-old college undergraduate Lyra is once again thrown together with Malcom Polstead, now a professor, after Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, receive secrets from a dying man about a daemon-haunted city and the origins of Dust.

    Finishing THE SECRET COMMONWEALTH (The Book of Dust, Part 2) by Philip Pullman. https://t.co/8HULloHgm0

  • The Cuckoo's Egg

    Cliff Stoll

    The first true account of computer espionage tells of a year-long single-handed hunt for a computer thief who sold information from American computer files to Soviet intelligence agents

    Clifford Stoll’s THE CUCKOO’S EGG was the 1st book I read thru the night into the morning to finish. It’s a real-life cyber crime story… from over 30 years ago. He’s now my neighbor in Oakland (literally around the corner). Read WIRED’s Profile: https://t.co/8ujQZZdWPI

  • Sorting Things Out

    Geoffrey C. Bowker

    What do a seventeenth-century mortality table (whose causes of death include "fainted in a bath," "frighted," and "itch"); the identification of South Africans during apartheid as European, Asian, colored, or black; and the separation of machine- from hand-washables have in common? All are examples of classification--the scaffolding of information infrastructures. In Sorting Things Out, Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star explore the role of categories and standards in shaping the modern world. In a clear and lively style, they investigate a variety of classification systems, including the International Classification of Diseases, the Nursing Interventions Classification, race classification under apartheid in South Africa, and the classification of viruses and of tuberculosis. The authors emphasize the role of invisibility in the process by which classification orders human interaction. They examine how categories are made and kept invisible, and how people can change this invisibility when necessary. They also explore systems of classification as part of the built information environment. Much as an urban historian would review highway permits and zoning decisions to tell a city's story, the authors review archives of classification design to understand how decisions have been made. Sorting Things Out has a moral agenda, for each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences another. Standards and classifications produce advantage or suffering. Jobs are made and lost; some regions benefit at the expense of others. How these choices are made and how we think about that process are at the moral and political core of this work. The book is an important empirical source for understanding the building of information infrastructures.

    @round @mulegirl Though perhaps the most important book on categorization I’ve ever read is SORTING THINGS OUT by Star and Bowker. It rewired my brain in a good way.

  • Interface Culture

    Stephen Johnson

    "As our machines are increasingly jacked into global networks of information, it becomes more and more difficult to imagine the dataspace at our fingertips, to picture all that complexity in our mind's eye . . . Representing all that information is going to require a new visual language, as complex and meaningful as the great metropolitan narratives of the 19th-century novel."--from Interface Culture In this hip, erudite manifesto, Steven Johnson--one of the most influential people in cyberspace, according to Newsweek bridges the gap that yawns between technology and the arts. Drawing on his own expertise in the humanities and on the Web, he not only demonstrates how interfaces--those buttons, graphics and words on the screen through which we control information--influence our daily lives, but also tracks their roots back to Victorian novels, early cinema and even medieval urban planning. The result is a lush cultural and historical tableau in which today's interfaces take their rightful place in the lineage of artistic innovation. With Interface Culture, Johnson brilliantly charts the vital role interface design plays in modern society. Just as the great novels of Melville, Dickens and Zola explain a rapidly industralizing society to itself, he argues, web sites, Microsoft Bob, flying toasters and the landscapes of video games tell the digital society how to imagine itself and how to get around in cyberspace's unfamiliar realm. The role once played by novelists is now fulfilled by the interface designer, who has bridged the gap between technology and everyday life by providing a conceptual framework for the vast amounts of information and computation that surround us. Johnson boldly explores the past--a terrain few tech thinkers have dared enter, and one that throws dazzling light on the modern interface's roots. From the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages to the rise of perspective drawing in the Renaissance, from Enlightenment satire to the golden age of television, Interface Culture uses a wealth of venerable "interface innovation" to place newfangled creations like Windows 95 and the Web in a rich historical context. Controversial, clear-sighted and challenging, Interface Culture also looks at the future--from what PC screens will look like in 10 years to how new interfaces will alter the style of our conversation, prose and thoughts. With a distinctively accessible style, Interface Culture brings new intellectual depth to the vital discussion of how technology has transformed society, and is sure to provoke wide debate in both literary and technological circles.

    @ewout @dweinberger @Wikipedia see: @stevenbjohnson’s deconstruction of the use of hyperlinks on https://t.co/9b1DSaPfNT in his book INTERFACE CULTURE

  • Ruined by Design

    Mike Monteiro

    The world is working exactly as designed. The combustion engine which is destroying our planet's atmosphere and rapidly making it inhospitable is working exactly as we designed it. Guns, which lead to so much death, work exactly as they're designed to work. And every time we "improve" their design, they get better at killing. Facebook's privacy settings, which have outed gay teens to their conservative parents, are working exactly as designed. Their "real names" initiative, which makes it easier for stalkers to re-find their victims, is working exactly as designed. Twitter's toxicity and lack of civil discourse is working exactly as it's designed to work.The world is working exactly as designed. And it's not working very well. Which means we need to do a better job of designing it. Design is a craft with an amazing amount of power. The power to choose. The power to influence. As designers, we need to see ourselves as gatekeepers of what we are bringing into the world, and what we choose not to bring into the world. Design is a craft with responsibility. The responsibility to help create a better world for all. Design is also a craft with a lot of blood on its hands. Every cigarette ad is on us. Every gun is on us. Every ballot that a voter cannot understand is on us. Every time social network's interface allows a stalker to find their victim, that's on us. The monsters we unleash into the world will carry your name. This book will make you see that design is a political act. What we choose to design is a political act. Who we choose to work for is a political act. Who we choose to work with is a political act. And, most importantly, the people we've excluded from these decisions is the biggest (and stupidest) political act we've made as a society.If you're a designer, this book might make you angry. It should make you angry. But it will also give you the tools you need to make better decisions. You will learn how to evaluate the potential benefits and harm of what you're working on. You'll learn how to present your concerns. You'll learn the importance of building and working with diverse teams who can approach problems from multiple points-of-view. You'll learn how to make a case using data and good storytelling. You'll learn to say NO in a way that'll make people listen. But mostly, this book will fill you with the confidence to do the job the way you always wanted to be able to do it. This book will help you understand your responsibilities.

    And, uh, the Kindle version is currently $2.99, which is a 10th of what I paid for the printed version: https://t.co/vHTYPxxkPn

  • @round @A_Silvers @sladner I tried GNOMON last week and couldn't get past the first 40 or so pages. Big fan of Cixin Liu's THREE BODY PROBLEM series.

  • This special boxed set includes the New York Times bestselling author N. K. Jemisin's complete, two-time Hugo award-winning Broken Earth Trilogy. This is the way the world ends. For the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy. The Broken Earth trilogyThe Fifth SeasonThe Obelisk GateThe Stone Sky

    @KCurkowicz Big fan of the Stone Sky trilogy. Don’t know The Power. Whose the author?

  • @berkun @alicerawsthorn @ABRAMSbooks @wwnorton And because they under printed it, you can’t find paper copies for less than $80??? https://t.co/XnOU05m7Al

  • Penetrating analysis of the functions and organization of city neighborhoods, the forces of deterioration and regeneration, and the necessary planning innovations

    @anna_saraceno @mulegirl The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Architectural Intelligence by @maximolly

  • Architectural Intelligence

    Molly Wright Steenson

    Architects, anti-architects, and architecting -- Christopher Alexander -- Richard Saul Wurman -- Information architects -- Cedric Price -- Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Architecture Machine Group -- Architecting intelligence

    @anna_saraceno @mulegirl The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Architectural Intelligence by @maximolly

  • The Overstory

    Richard Powers

    A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.

    @gretared @dburka The Three Body Problem series. And I’m SUPER digging The Overstory by Richard Powers.

  • Space Odyssey

    Michael Benson

    The definitive story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, and of director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke—“a tremendous explication of a tremendous film….Breathtaking” (The Washington Post). Fifty years ago a strikingly original film had its premiere. Still acclaimed as one of the most remarkable and important motion pictures ever made, 2001: A Space Odyssey depicted the first contacts between humanity and extraterrestrial intelligence. The movie was the product of a singular collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and science fiction visionary Arthur C. Clarke. Fresh off the success of his cold war satire Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick wanted to make the first truly first-rate science fiction film. Drawing from Clarke’s ideas and with one of the author’s short stories as the initial inspiration, their bold vision benefited from pioneering special effects that still look extraordinary today, even in an age of computer-generated images. In Space Odyssey, author, artist, and award-winning filmmaker Michael Benson “delivers expert inside stuff” (San Francisco Chronicle) from his extensive research of Kubrick’s and Clarke’s archives. He has had the cooperation of Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, and interviewed most of the key people still alive who worked on the film. Drawing also from other previously unpublished interviews, Space Odyssey provides a 360-degree view of the film from its genesis to its legacy, including many previously untold stories. And it features dozens of photos from the making of the film, most never previously published. “At last! The dense, intense, detailed, and authoritative saga of the making of the greatest motion picture I’ve ever seen…Michael Benson has done the Cosmos a great service” (Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks).

    @nickdawson "Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece” was quite good, if you’re a fan of the movie.

  • The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

    @nickdawson (looking over my goodreads…) THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM series was probably my favorite read over the last few years. Dense, heady, hard sci-fi. The WAYFARER series by Becky Chambers is fun and funky sci-fi.

  • Wings of Cherubs

    Guillermo Toro-Lira

    A book that unravels the secrets of Pisco Punch, the magic and mysterious concoction of San Francisco, California, of the early 1900s. In an entertaining way, the narrative describes the saga of a protagonist obsessed with discovering the recipe of the secret beverage, long lost since the death of its creator in 1926. With the gift of being able to transport himself in time, he reveals little known historical anecdotes of San Francisco. The book climaxes presenting the recipe of the famous Pisco Punch for the benefit of all those who love history and pisco brandy. (254 pgs., 147 photographs and illustrations; a 30 pgs. essay is included - B&W) - 2007 - Gourmand Best of the World Winner "The Best Wine Literature Book of the World written in Spanish." Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2007

    @TeacupInTheBay @burritojustice @KQEDnews Did you read Wings of Cherubs, a history of the drink? https://t.co/Kqo0oxq61n

  • Need a good book? Like sci-fi? A ripping yarn with a feminist and pro-labor bent? Then get my pal @rakdaddy’s Windswept, on sale for $2.99 https://t.co/cr2sQT2jtx (Kindle)