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Great books on my reading list (that should be on yours, too)

As a book designer and book lover, I frequently have my head turned at the sight of a good book. Nothing makes me happier that a complete reading experience, good design coupled with a excellent story. For a variety of reasons, a group of books caught my eye over the past week or so. Some of these are sadly out of print, so you’ll have trouble finding them. One is self-published, so if it sounds like a book you’d enjoy, send the author some love by getting a copy!

Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold

Cover of Worlds of Wonder

I designed this cover back in 2000 or so. I remember it was originally part of a series, the You Can Write series, then filled in with Mystery, Memoir, Cookbook, etc. This was originally titled You Can Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. One of our sales folk, noting the downward trend on the lifecycle of that particular series, proposed Worlds of Wonder, and a stand-alone cover design. After that, it was one of those covers that kind of magically fell into place. The image was royalty-free, the font is Blue Island, one of the few times this made it onto a cover until I moved on to some other display font. You can still get a physical copy from a variety of sellers: Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy


Fotonovel #3: The Trouble with Tribbles

Cover for Fotonovel #3: The Trouble of Tribbles

Sorry, folks, this gem is well out of print. My own copy is a disaster with loose pages throughout and the remains of a price tag on the front. Nevertheless, I pulled this out of my personal archives because it’s based on one of the best or most popular episodes of Star Trek ever, and was written by that same guy who wrote Worlds of Wonder. Unfortunately, as a designer, I rarely interfaced with the authors at the publishing company I worked for, so I didn’t get to meet David Gerrold. This book and Worlds of Wonder are the closest I’ve come to Mr. Gerrold. If you want to buy a used copy, here’s the link: Star Trek Fotonovel 3- The Trouble with Tribbles


Girl on Fire by Cherie Dawn Haas

Cover of Girl on Fire by Cherie Dawn HaasI confess I haven’t read this book (yet!), but it’s on my list! Cherie is a tribal bellydancer, fire dancer and modern bohemian, and the fictional storyline is based on authentic experiences with dance and creative expression. Cherie is self-publishing this book, and I know that she’s put a lot of work into making this book work, from hiring a cover designer to promotion and marketing. Check the reviews on Amazon if you need more convincing, and visit her site for more information: Cherie Dawn Loves Fire.


Opa, Healthy Greek Cookbook by Theo Stephan and Christina Xenos

Cover for Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook by Theo Stephan and Christina Xenos

I’m putting this one out there for two reasons: One, I love this cover! It’s so bright and cheery, I completely believe every recipe in this book is delicious and good for you. Second, I know the author, Christina Xenos. Christina is as sunny as this cover makes her look and if you follow her Instagram, you’ll find plenty of beautiful shots of yummy looking Greek food! Grab this on Amazon: Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook: Modern Mediterranean Recipes for Living the Good Life


The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte

Cover for the Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte

I was first introduced to this book many years ago when I was still in college. I thought it was one of the most beautiful books I’d seen, and in returning to this book all these years later, I still love it. Infographics are all over the place these days, and I think any designer working on information based graphics would do well to return to this book to understand how to honestly communicate complex data in charts, graphs and maps. If you want to grab a copy of this, click here: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information


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