Friday, December 29, 2006

My Life's An Open Book

I rarely read a book from cover to cover without digressions. I read mostly non-fiction, and of that, I like to dip into a book and read a bit as the mood strikes me. It's kind of a literary buffet. I have thousands of books lying around with bookmarks indicating where I last tasted, but I'll flit from one dish to another. This leads to several characteristics of my book consumption:

1) I'm almost never finished with a book. Even those I've read in their entirety may be sampled again at some future point. But most are nowhere near exhausted.

2) I'm always eager to add new books to the collection.

3) I love books that are written in a way that encourages this sort of tasting ... ones that have short chapters or sections, sidebars, illustrations with long captions, etc. Art books get an especially good workout.

I like to think this tendency reflects my insatiable curiosity in many fields, and Rennaissance-man-like pursuit of knowledge. More likely, though, I'm just a dilettante with a short attention span.

From time to time, I'll mention books here that particularly appeal to me. The latest is Designing Interactions, by Bill Moggridge (MIT Press). It's chock full of descriptions of some of the most fun interaction design projects of the last few decades, and interviews with the luminaries who made them happen. Moreover, it's full of illustrations, anectdotes, and other fun tidbits. Overall, it gives an excellent picture of the recent history and state of interaction design, and the guiding principles. It's also an excellent hors d'ouevre.

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