David Reinfurt: A *New* Program for Graphic Design

Based on one of David Reinfurt’s graphic design courses at Princeton University, this book examines the history of visual communication through people who practiced design. Reinfurt focuses on typography, gestalt, and interface with brief profiles of practitioners, and highlights of their work. It is an informative read for students learning graphic design. Even though students can get hands-on practice with the assignments throughout the book, they will benefit much more in a classroom environment with feedback from their professor and peers.

Alston W. Purvis & Cees W. de Jong: The Enduring Legacy of Weimar

The first 70 pages of this book provides historical background of graphic design and typography in the Weimar period. The dense writing and the names are a bit hard to follow if you are not familiar with German—like me. I love the typesetting. Avenir Next, designed by Adrian Frutiger and Akira Kobayashi, is simple and readable. I now know where to take my design for the next iteration of this blog. The rest of the book is filled with stunning graphic design examples using modern typography.

It’s a Match!

A book on combining colors with loads of case studies. I wish it has more in-depth writing than just an introduction of a project. Nevertheless, it is great example for presenting your work. If you would like to get some ideas for laying out your portfolio, take a look at this book. The grid layout makes the pieces clear and easy to scan. Definitely flip through to get some color inspirations as well.

Kevin Budelmann & Yang Kim: Brand Identity Essentials

The 100th principle of this book is “Keep it simple.” It’s a blank page with only three words: “Simple is better.” The previous 99 principles aren’t that concise, but they don’t go in depth either. Each principle is about three paragraphs with lots of visual elements. This book might be helpful to students and beginners, but it is definitely not for experienced designers. I don’t find it too useful.

Tressie McMillan Cottom: Thick

In her eight provocative, personal essays, Cottom analyzes beauty, politics, injustices, and sexual violence through the lens of a black intellectual thinker. Using her personal story, experience, and academics, Cottom offers a fresh perspective on those critical issues. Her writing is clear, concise, and thoughtful. An eye-opening read.

David Powers: PHP 7 Solutions

I still love PHP. It is a robust programming language that powers a handful of solid CMS including WordPress, Drupal, and MODX. I work with PHP almost everyday even though I am not a backend programmer. It has been quite a while since I picked up a book on PHP; therefore, I wanted to catch up. David Powers’s fourth edition of PHP 7 Solutions turns out to be a good choice for reviewing my knowledge. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Powers offers many applicable use cases including how to create a CMS. I would love to setup a simple CMS for small client projects, but freelance has come to a halt in the past few years. Nevertheless, I recommend this book if you want to learn this awesome, dynamic programming language.

Ali Wong: Dear Girls

Wong’s love letters to her daughters are so damn raw and unfiltered that they won’t be able to read them until they turn twenty one. They will learn that their mother is one crazy raunchy Asian. From sex to career to race, Wong takes on the subjects with honesty, humility, and humor. Her writing is hilarious. Here’s her advice to her daughters not to fuck virgin men: “They might not have a physical hymen that you can break and make them bleed, but their emotional hymen is real, and it’s thick, especially at that age.” When her husband told her that he didn’t know what she wanted, Wong’s responded, “We’re at a fucking mall. Tiffany is right there, go in and ask me if I want something and you’ll find out!” Wong is authentic and brilliant. Best of all, she embraces her Vietnamese culture. I love this book. I love an Asian American woman who speaks her fucking mind, particularly on sex. It is an enlightening, empowering, and engrossing read.

Erin Lee Carr: All That You Leave Behind

In her debut memoir, Erin Lee Carr writes about her relationship with her father, David, who was a renowned journalist at The New York Times. David was a lovely father who raised his twin daughters on his own until he got remarried. Though he had his flaws and dark moments, David always made time for his daughters and gave them advice when they needed him. Like her father, Erin struggled with alcohol and it got worse after his death. It’s a concise, bittersweet, and honest read.

Pete Buttigieg: Shortest Way Home

Buttigieg’s life exemplifies the America’s middle-class family. He grew up Christian, went to Harvard, served in the military, and became a politician to make a change for our country. He ran for offices in his hometown South Bend and became the mayor. Buttigieg is a good writer, but the pace is a bit slow. The memoir covers both his political career as well as his personal romance. The story of how he met Chasten is sweet and charming. If Buttigieg becomes president in 2020, he will be great for America. I trust his character and decency over the puppet occupying the White House right now.

Jenny Odell: How to Do Nothing

I struggled to pay attention to a book about resisting attention. Odell packs too much information into 200 pages. Her writing is also dense. It could be that I have been distracted in the last couple of days while reading it. I started to read then put it aside for another book. After picking it up again, I kind of lost the momentum. I still haven’t figured out how to do nothing after reading it.