March 1, 2017

Books Read: February 2017

Here’s what I read this past month. While last month had a strong focus on meditation and mindfulness, this month didn’t have a strong theme outside of a late sprint at catching up on some long-overdue comics reading.

Resilient Web Design

by Jeremy Keith - Grab a copy

I love Jeremy’s brief history of the web and his explanation of some of the guiding principles behind it. It’s a short read (read it in one quick sitting) but definitely worth investing in, which is easy because it’s free. It’s not massively practical, but there are definitely some good points in there about building a more robust, resilient web that everyone should take to heart.

Horten’s Incredible Illusions

by Lissa Evans - Grab a copy

I really enjoyed this sequel, which is a middle grade novel about a very short boy, his (sometimes) annoying neighbors, and their series of adventures to unlock the secrets of his magician uncle’s legacy. It’s a really quick read, but full of interesting puzzles and humor that make it an easy recommendation to younger readers or anyone who enjoys adventures.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

by Kelly Barnhill - Grab a copy

I was really excited to read this as it just won the Newbury Medal but, honestly, I was underwhelmed with it. Perhaps it’s because it took me a while to read (hard to get into for whatever reason), but I felt that it lacked a fully developed backstory to make me care that much about any of the characters. The initial concept was really interesting, but I found the later execution kind of boring.

Networking! ACK!

by Julia Evans - Grab a copy

I adore this zine from Julia Evans on what goes into networking and the various protocols on which the web is built. I’ve always been curious about packets and such, and Julia does an excellent job breaking down very advanced concepts in an entertaining and easy to understand way. Kudos.

Inclusive Design Patterns

by Heydon Pickering - Grab a copy

This is the accessibility book I’ve always wanted. Instead of going into the theory and reasons behind making accessible websites (of which a lot of us are well-informed), Heydon spends his time talking about the practical applications of accessibility by deconstructing common interface components and building them in accessible ways. It’s the perfect desk companion for anyone building for the web. Will definitely revisit this one on a regular basis.

The Fate of the Artist

by Eddie Campbell - Grab a copy

Probably about the sixth time I’ve read this mini masterpiece from Eddie Campbell and it’s just as entertaining as ever. The mix of artistic styles and injections of old-time comics, interviews, and surreal elements makes for an engaging and rewarding read.

Sloth

by Gilbert Hernandez - Grab a copy

This was the first time I’ve read anything from Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets is on my list of things to read) and I definitely enjoyed it. It’s a quick read about teenage life and love that is sometimes really creepy. Reminds me a bit of Charles Burns at moments, which is always a welcome experience. I think I’m too far removed from adolescence to get the full impact of the book, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Asterios Polyp

by David Mazzucchelli - Grab a copy

Easily my favorite read of the month. I devoured this in one night and enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a complex story that’s a fascinating experiment in the comics form. While some comics try to play with form at the expense of actual storytelling, David’s tale of a self-obsessed architect’s ruined marriage and his journey to redemption is fantastic. And it includes what’s ended up being my favorite sequence in comics so far—a multi-page montage of all the things, big and little, that make up our memories of loved ones. It’s superb.