Rosemarie Ostler: Founding Grammars

An intriguing history of the development of the English language. Ostler traces back to key figures including Noah Webster, Lindley Murray, Robert Lowth, and William Bentley Fowle who played the major roles in shaping the usage of language. From controversies to rules to criticisms, Founding Grammars is a delightful and informing read on the wars on words.

Steven Bradley:  CSS Animations and Transitions for the Modern Web

An approachable and practical guide to web animation. The explanations are clear and the examples are useful. With easy-to-implement CSS techniques, this book will teach you how to apply simple motion to your website’s interface and interaction in no time.

Tony Seddon: Type Teams

With 10 principles, 14 tricks, and 149 combinations, Seddon’s Type Team is a quick and handy guide for mixing and complementing typefaces. Although showcasing types at large sizes make the visual layouts look attractive, body text should have been included in the specimens. Nevertheless, the wide range of selections with short explainations make it a decent reference for choosing and combining types.

Lea Verou: CSS Secrets

In this brilliant guide, Lea Verou unveils the rare power of CSS that lets designers create stunning visual effects beyond the popular elements. With her extensive knowledge of CSS and her clarity in technical explanation, Verou provides practical solutions that are easy to achieve with just a few lines of CSS. Even though I personally don’t use many of the techniques, such as complex background patterns and drop shadows, they help me understand what CSS can accomplish without the need for JavaScript. CSS Secrets is a must-have reference for web designers and developers.

How Typography Happens

A brief history of How Typography Happens in Britain, America, Germany, and France. McLean’s lectures complemented with illustrations of book cover provide an informing overview of typographic design.

Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language

Patricia O’Conner, the author of Woe Is I, and her partner in crime Stewart Kellerman debunk the misconceptions of words and usage that are often misunderstood in the English language. The book is both an intriguing and informative read. I particularly enjoyed the origins of “shit,” “fuck,” and “niggardly.” The only word I wish they have covered is “motherfucker.”

Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression

In addition to its superb jazz catalog, Blue Note Records, as illustrated in the official story of the label, produced some of most striking and distinctive album covers in the history of jazz. The work of Reid Miles, in particular, used bold typography and stunning photography. The visual richness of the 400-page hardcover makes up for its lacking of critical assessment.

Mignon Fogarty: Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Fogarty’s book is not a complete grammar reference, but it does provide tips to help you overcome the tricky grammar usages. Her explanations are clear and to the point. Furthermore, she has done all the research for us and provides us the ones that are best to apply to our own writing. Surprisingly I understood most (if not all) the tips in the book, and yet I still struggle with grammar when I write. I need to try her proofreading method of reading my work backward.

June Casagrande: Mortal Syntax

An informative read on the clobbered usage of grammar. The stories and pop-culture references that lead into the topics are entertaining, but distracting at times. I wish Ms. Casagrande got straight to the point. Still worth keeping for reference.

Product Design for the Web

Etsy’s creative director Randy Hunt provides a clear, easy-to-understand overview of product design. Recommended read for web designers who want to learn the principles of creating meaningful user experiences.