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Entries from Dec 2011

Sara Levine: Treasure Island!!!

31 Dec 2011 · No Comments

Real journalists have to turn in their year’s best lists to be published in the month of December, a practice which invariably makes me cringe. “What,” I always think to myself, “if in the dregs of the year* you hear/see/read something amazing that demands you re-order the list?” And it happens from time to time. [...]

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Tags: fiction · l-author · t-title

Robert Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island

29 Dec 2011 · 2 Comments

I’m keen to read Sara Levine’s Treasure Island!!! and I thought I should probably acquaint myself with Stevenson’s classic first, to catch any references there might be. I’d never read any Stevenson before; his prose was a bit richer than I was expecting, with some evocative and economical descriptions, particularly of his harsh and unlovely [...]

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Tags: s-author · t-title · young adult

Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black: The Field Guide

29 Dec 2011 · No Comments

I’ve enjoyed Black’s fiction for adult and young adult readers, and The Field Guide, the first volume of “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” demonstrates a similar playful attitude toward well-established tropes. At the outset the Graces are moving into a spooky new house, but in contrast to more traditional fare, the Graces have recently become a single-parent [...]

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Tags: b-author · children's · d-author · f-title · fantasy

Erik Spiekermann, E.M. Ginger: Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works

29 Dec 2011 · No Comments

As the name might suggest, Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works takes a breezy, irreverent approach to introducing typography to the lay reader. It does a good job of explaining the vocabulary of the field. It demonstrates how elements of of a typeface contribute to legibility in various contexts. And it introduces [...]

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Tags: g-author · nonfiction · s-author · s-title

Sean Adams: Masters of Design – Logos and Identity

12 Dec 2011 · No Comments

In this lavish, generously illustrated book, Sean Adams offers several prominent branding and identity consultants an opportunity to discuss their work and their approach to identity design. A few consistent themes emerge, most about managing client relationships, with “listen to your client,” and “make sure you’ve identified and are reaching the real decision makers,” perhaps [...]

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Tags: a-author · business · m-title

Lou Beach: 420 Characters

12 Dec 2011 · No Comments

I expected that limiting the length of a short story to 420 characters — as counted by Facebook’s software, spaces and punctuation included — would come off as a gimmick rather than an artistic constraint, but this collection of a hundred and fiftyish micro-stories is pretty amazing, in several dimensions.
The first thing I noticed [...]

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Tags: #-title · b-author · fantasy · historical · horror · mystery · romance · satire · science fiction · short stories · suspense · thriller · young adult

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List

09 Dec 2011 · 1 Comment

I absolutely adored Cohn and Levithan’s Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, a young adult romance partly set in The Strand, with a hefty epistolary component and a dash of screwball comedy.
I didn’t enjoy Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List nearly as much, partly due to mismatched expectations. This was a rare case where I [...]

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Tags: c-author · i-author · n-title · young adult

Anneloes van Gaalen: Never Use More Than Two Different Typefaces: And 50 Other Ridiculous Typography Rules (Ridiculous Design Rules)

08 Dec 2011 · 2 Comments

I was intrigued by van Gaalen’s forthcoming Indie Brands: 30 Independent Brands That Inspire and Tell a Story, recently mentioned with other interesting sounding books on Brand New. I looked for other books by van Gaalen and turned up this, which, sadly, is less interesting than it sounded. It presents, as advertised, 51 rules of [...]

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Tags: n-title · nonfiction · v-author

Jeff Kass: Knuckleheads

07 Dec 2011 · No Comments

Knuckleheads knocked me out. It’s full of finely observed stories with tremendously assured first-person voices. Many of these stories share common elements: characters in or looking back on high school sports careers, on one side of the bully/bullied equation, with a heightened (even ambivalent) sense of body consciousness — the collection is well-titled. But the [...]

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Tags: k-author · k-title · short stories