Now

Last Update: August 8, 2011

(Check out my entire list at Goodreads)

Non-Fiction

1. Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran and Jeff Hammerbacher

Product Description: In this insightful book, you’ll learn from the best data practitioners in the field just how wide-ranging — and beautiful — working with data can be. Join 39 contributors as they explain how they developed simple and elegant solutions on projects ranging from the Mars lander to a Radiohead video.

2. Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell

Product Description: (excerpt) Despite all of the UI toolkits available today, it’s still not easy to design good application interfaces. This bestselling book is one of the few reliable sources to help you navigate through the maze of design options. By capturing UI best practices and reusable ideas as design patterns, Designing Interfaces provides solutions to common design problems that you can tailor to the situation at hand.

This updated edition includes patterns for mobile apps and social media, as well as web applications and desktop software. Each pattern contains full-color examples and practical design advice that you can use immediately. Experienced designers can use this guide as a sourcebook of ideas; novices will find a roadmap to the world of interface and interaction design.

Fiction

1. Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Book Description: (excerpt) What is Dhalgren? Dhalgren is one of the greatest novels of 20th-century American literature. Dhalgren is one of the all-time bestselling science fiction novels. Dhalgren may be read with equal validity as SF, magic realism, or metafiction. Dhalgren is controversial, challenging, and scandalous. Dhalgren is a brilliant novel about sex, gender, race, class, art, and identity.

A mysterious disaster has stricken the midwestern American city of Bellona, and its aftereffects are disturbing: a city block burns down and is intact a week later; clouds cover the sky for weeks, then part to reveal two moons; a week passes for one person when only a day passes for another. The catastrophe is confined to Bellona, and most of the inhabitants have fled. But others are drawn to the devastated city, among them the Kid, a white/American Indian man who can’t remember his own name. The Kid is emblematic of those who live in the new Bellona, who are the young, the poor, the mad, the violent, the outcast–the marginalized.

Dhalgren is many things, but instantly accessible isn’t one of them. While most of this big, ambitious, deeply detailed novel is beautifully pellucid, the opening pages will be difficult for some: the novel starts with the second half of an incomplete sentence, in the viewpoint of a man who doesn’t know who he is. If you find the early pages rough going, push on; the story soon becomes clear and fascinating. But–fair warning–the central nature of the disaster, of its strange devastations and disruptions, remains a puzzle for many readers, sometimes after several readings. –Cynthia Ward