As I am preparing the syllabus for Advanced Web Design, a course I will be teaching in a week, one of the things that I want the students to get out of the class is Sass. Without even thinking, I visited A Book Apart and copped a digital version of Dan Cederholm’s Sass For Web Designers. I read through the entire book in an hour or so. Although I have been using Sass for a while, I still find the book to be an engaging read. As always, his explanations are crystal clear and his examples are easy to follow. Dan taught me CSS twenty years ago when he first published Web Standards Solutions. I am positive that he’ll teach my students to get started with Sass with this book.
Found this old treasure in the basement and could not stop reading it. Flesch and Lass had indeed penned a classic writing guide. I find their techniques on how to save words, find the right word, give it a punch, and get the most out of words to be useful. Not sure why I have not cracked this book open all these years.
A good overview of implementing responsive design into WordPress templates. Joe Casabona has done an excellent job of balancing the concepts and the codes. He also managed to keep the book brief to help you get started. An essential read for designers who are new to WordPress.
Robert Irwin is the Los Angeles artist whose work has been stripped down to its pure essence: lines, dots, discs, and light. The concept of progressive reduction is fascinating, but I find the reading to be hard to grasp. For one, I don’t know anything about the artist and his art before reading the book. For two, the author, Lawrence Weschler, keeps the narration very conversational. Readers get to hear the story from Irwin’s own voice, but the flow isn’t so smooth.
As for the book design, Sandy Drooker has done an excellent job of combining Adobe Garamond text with Univers display. These two classic typefaces make the reading experience pleasurable. I’ll definitely revisit the book in the future when I learn a bit more about Irwin’s work.
In an intriguing design experiment, Christina Beard set out to study the creative approach from 23 respected designers, thinkers and educators including Steven Heller, Ellen Lupton, Stefan Sagmeister, and Paula Scher. Beard began her journey with a poster design to communicate a simple but important message: “Wash Your Hands.” Then she interviewed each designer to see how the individual would approach the design. She then redesigned the poster based on each critique. I have to give Beard the credits for staying sane after redesigning the poster 25 times in a wide range of art directions. After three iterations, I would used a typographic approach with the message, “Please wash your fucking hands,” and called it the day.
This is not just another biography of Charlie Parker. Stanley Crouch brilliantly weaved the vibrant scene of Kansas City into Bird’s childhood. Spent over three decades and interviewed the people closest to Parker including his first love Rebecca Ruffin, Crouch has meticulously crafted one of the most fascinating and innovating biographical books I have read. I found myself doting almost every sentence on every page. The book, 334-page long, ends when Bird had not even met his partner in crime Dizzy Gillespie. I can’t wait to read what Crouch has to pen (in the second volume) when Bird set the jazz scene on fire.
This book gives me a Flash-back. I discovered Flash around 2008 and spent endless amount of time and energy learning all types of animated techniques. I also wasted a tremendous amount of time sitting and waiting for each Flash site to load over my dialup connection. Those were the days. Like many designers, Flash lost me when it became a complex programing language. I shifted my focus on web standards, but I could never imagine Flash would be dead so soon.
Seeing a book writing about the history of Flash, I couldn’t help picking it up. I am a bit disappointed that Anastasia Salter and John Murray focus mostly on Flash games. They didn’t mention early groundbreaking sites like Balthaser, Eye4U, and Once Upon a Forest or new masters of Flash like Joshua Davis, Yugo Nakamura, and Eric Jordan (just to name a few).
Flash under Macromedia was thriving. The community was strong, passionate, and sharing. If Adobe didn’t acquire Macromedia, I wonderful if Flash would have fallen as fast as it has under Adobe. If Adobe got into the browser game like Google, would it able to save Flash? In any rate, Flash definitely had its moment. As the book suggested, Flash’s influence and legacy will live on and I would love to see Flash resurrected, but the future of Flash is not too bright at all.
A thorough and compelling biography of Thelonious Monk, a genius of modern jazz. Monk’s music, is often misunderstood, has always been a fascinating matter. Fortunately Kelly knows his music well and brilliantly sheds the light on Monk’s signature styles such as his beautiful melodies, dissonant chords, and complex rhythms. For Monk’s life, which often seemed eccentric and erratic to the public, Kelly provides the charming and passionate side of the man through detailed research and interviews with the people who were closed to Monk, including his family members. For the man who used very few words and whose entire life dedicated to music, this book does do him justice.