This contains a lot of useful information in addition to covering how both parents-to-be might be feeling that particular month. Also, Brott covers pr...moreThis contains a lot of useful information in addition to covering how both parents-to-be might be feeling that particular month. Also, Brott covers practical matters that are not normally covered in most books about pregnancy, such as preparing a will, getting insurance, considering cord blood storage & donation, etc. Well worth reading and re-reading, when necessary.(less)
A useful reference on using so-called toy cameras with emphasis on the Holga and Diana (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holga & http://en.wikiped...moreA useful reference on using so-called toy cameras with emphasis on the Holga and Diana (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holga & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_ca... for more information). Bates, who has used a Holga for the past 20 years, provides a good overview of the history and the work that can be created from these cheap, nearly entirely plastic cameras. As she notes in the introduction to this second edition, much has changed in the world of toy camera photography. More exhibitions and competitions have emerged as a result of the renewed interest in this family of cameras, and medium format film remains in production, despite the continued decline of film photography. "Plastic Cameras" distills much of the available advice online into a readable text. While Bates does cover many of the processes involved in film photography and film processing, do not expect technical discussions on f-stops, ISO, and the like. This book is aimed at anyone who owns a Holga and/or Diana camera and wants to learn more about their limitations, how to work around them, and how to use them for one's artistic ends.(less)
Music journalist Simon Reynolds examines mainstream pop music's seemingly relentless revivals and revisitations of past eras. Like many other critics,...moreMusic journalist Simon Reynolds examines mainstream pop music's seemingly relentless revivals and revisitations of past eras. Like many other critics, he wonders, and worries about, whether or not America and Britain are stuck on repeat. Is it possible to innovate when the past and the near-past are ever present, especially with the easy accessibility to the obscure and the well-known that the Internet affords us? How can we be nostalgic for a decade that just ended? Reynolds also looks at different forms of art — architecture, fashion, movies, TV, and more — to find out how they are afflicted with retromania. Toward the end of the book, Reynolds seems to argue that the music circles of the 2000s and of today are not saying much about the present day nor will they contribute much to the efforts of future revivalists because there was nothing original about them. At best, what musicians, singers, DJs, and producers did during this decade was reveal how seemingly disparate sources of music can fit together into a song. But can you create something new with this mosaic? At a time when critics and commentators argue that we live in an age of "atemporality," maybe it's time to forget the past so that we can move on with the future. Well worth reading.(less)
The majority of what's collected in this book are reviews, but they sometimes read like essays. Because of this, Bierut's writing refers to controvers...moreThe majority of what's collected in this book are reviews, but they sometimes read like essays. Because of this, Bierut's writing refers to controversies and hot topics at the time and they occasionally show their flaws in the light of the passing years. Some are remembrances of influential designers, artists, photographers, and creative persons who have recently passed away and played some role in shaping Bierut's life. But the best work comes in the form of the more recognizable essays, that is, the writings that transcend time while capturing it. A shining example of Bierut's congruent power of writing as a designer can be seen in "On (Design) Bullshit." Bierut recounts one of the major confrontations between architect Richard Meier and artist Robert Irwin in the 1997 documentary, "Concert of Wills," which chronicles the construction of the Getty Center in Los Angeles. He finishes the piece with an example from his years working as a designer with Massimo Vignelli. What is evident in reading these 79 articles is that designers are influenced by any and everything, even falling off a treadmill at the gym.
Given that this is a book on design written by a notable designer (Bierut is a partner in renowned international design agency Pentagram), the content and how it is packaged are presented in a clever manner: each article is presented in a different typeface, most of which is connected to or referenced in the article. (See "I Hate ITC Garamond.")(less)
First, I have not seen a full episode of the A&E show "Hoarders," only clips and ads. So if you have seen the show, this book may or may not be wh...moreFirst, I have not seen a full episode of the A&E show "Hoarders," only clips and ads. So if you have seen the show, this book may or may not be what you expect. Unlike most reality TV shows, however, Frost and Steketee do not have to shape a hoarder's life for dramatic effect; they can let the facts speak for themselves. And the facts are engrossing. The authors are psychologists who conduct research on hoarding, and in "Stuff" they present case studies, composite profiles, and historical instances of hoarders and the effects they and their possessions have had on family, friends, and society. There is the famous story of the Collyer brothers of New York, whose lives are notably the focus of E.L. Doctorow's latest novel, "Homer & Langley." The details of their lives seem to characterize many hoarders profiled elsewhere in the book: financial independence or being well-to-do, symptoms that point to OCD, intense attention to detail, rich inner lives and stories for their possessions, relatives who are themselves hoarders or collectors, limited social lives. Frost and Steketee are careful to point out that hoarding is not a recent phenomenon in the U.S., as the show "Hoarders" might suggest, nor do hoarders fit within an easily definable personality profile. They can be as young as five years old and as beautiful as a runway model. Some hoarders require extreme interventions that involve social workers and cleaning crews while others, such as the woman whose home was lined with shopping bags of unworn clothing and accessories, can eventually control their hoarding with professional help. The authors address the state of research on hoarding, its causes, and treatments, as they cover different aspects of hoarders' lives. They often note how very little research has been done on a particular topic, because it is difficult to conduct a study when, for instance, a participant takes close to two hours to answer a 15-minute questionnaire or write paragraphs to a multiple-choice question. "Stuff" is aimed at a general audience, rather than an academic one, so Frost and Steketee present their case studies and profiles relatively free of awkward phrasing and unfamiliar jargon. This also means that they can share their own experiences and insights of working with and interviewing hoarders and hoarders' relatives. One notable example was one of their undergraduate research assistants who didn't realize her mother's problem had a name. During their interview, she would yell at her mom and throw accusations at her, despite everything she learned in class. In spite of the current economic downturn, stuff is affordable, credit is still readily available, and one person's junk pile always holds the promise of unclaimed treasures. With "Stuff," Frost and Steketee present complicated, sometimes sympathetic, portraits of people living with a psychological problem that is all too often misunderstood. (4.5 stars)(less)
Though the writing feels unusual (likely due to this being a translation), this petite book talks about the philosophical and the practical aspects of...moreThough the writing feels unusual (likely due to this being a translation), this petite book talks about the philosophical and the practical aspects of typography. For someone new to typography, this seems to be a good, concise introduction. (The sloppy editing and writing style can be really annoying at times.)(less)
A good overview of what art direction means. Heller and Vienne provide historical examples and interviews with current designers (many of whom resist...moreA good overview of what art direction means. Heller and Vienne provide historical examples and interviews with current designers (many of whom resist the term "art director" as their title) to give a sense of what this type of work entails. It seems to boil down to these principles and characteristics: - Be curious - Be thoughtful - Be knowledgeable - Be daring - Be open(less)