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March 6, 2011

What is your favorite book?

Here's a question that often inspires an enthusiastic conversation: What is your your favorite book? Have you read it multiple times and if so, does the meaning evolve each time through? Books have a unique way of deepening insight and creating a foundation for thoughtful dialogue. In this time of quick technological advancement do you still prefer the intimacy of holding a printed volume or are you a full participant in the digital age of downloading your library? We can't wait to read all about it, on screen of course.

Share your ideas and help shape the dialogue in a meaningful way. Your contribution makes all the difference in building a stronger Design is Love community. Remember, participation is caring.

02.21.11 / 5:25 AM
How do you pick just one? For us, there's a whole lot of writing from which we draw inspiration. The rich, often succinct language of a good poem encourages brevity in our work. There's much to learn about where we've been and where we're going from works of non-fiction. And a good book of tall tales often gives us a much needed break from all the deep thinking.

Though we embrace this vast digital world and fully support online communities, we can't help but to feel more comfortable with a printed book. We love the the intimacy of holding an old book, smelling the fragrance of the ink and connecting through the tactility of paper pages. We're designers after all.

We look forward to expanding our book list with all of the titles you will share.
02.25.11 / 2:57 PM
It's impossible to choose. Every Christmas and for my birthday, all I ask for lately are books. But one of my favorite books is "Orbitting the Giant Hairball" by Gordon MacKenzie who worked at Hallmark. The book is about bringing creativity into organizations that are already made up of structures and rules and craziness. The ideas in the book can be inspiring and used by anyone, not just people working in larger corporations.

Speaking of books, as part of a project in my Issues in Design class, we are creating an archive of diversity. We were able to pick whatever we wanted to archive for sixty days. I have chosen to walk into the library on campus and randomly go to a shelf, and pick a book off of it. I then document it by scanning the cover, spine, and card with the dates when people borrowed the book.

So far I have randomly found a book on the street culture of sneakers for the last 40 years, a book of letters from Queen Victoria, and a book with the subtitle of "Toward a Cultural History of Emotional Life in America"
02.26.11 / 2:17 PM
Ethan! What a great collective conscious response to a problem—let the universe decide!

I have a ridiculous and unwieldy library comprising just about every book I've ever read. I lack a favorite overall, but have favorites at different times. It's rarely one favorite, but more typically, the space occupied between 2 books—the dialogue between—that end up as my references.
Right now, today: Apollinaire's "The Poet Assasinated" (illustrated by Jim Dine) and a Holiday acquisition from an office mate: "And the Pursuit of Happiness", a nice reminder of 'why' in a time of 'Oh, Boy!'.
Quoted from the latter:
Hallelujah for the hope of a new world. And the Japanese pagoda tree, oblivious to all the fuss, vaguely remembers that it is also known as the Chinese Scholar Tree, which flowers profusely in late Summer offering the lucky person standing under it a fragrant dappled refuge from the noonday sun. (I have a kindergarten photo of my son Dean in that spread, wearing a grin and an embroidered pirate sweater in gray).
Quote from the former:
Ha! ha! ha! The happy man smells just like death. Rub your hands together. What a difference between a happy man and a cadaver! I'm happy too, though I don't want to rub my hands together. Be happy, rub your hands together. Be happy! More! Now do you know it, the smell of happiness? (the illustration is a rubylith cut heart slipping off of the page like a shadow. A ghost!)
02.27.11 / 9:26 PM
Above all, the one book that rises to the top is "Gonzo Papers, Vol. 3: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream" by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

The good Doctor is probably my favorite author, and it really has nothing to do with all the debauchery. When I was 15 or 16 my dad handed me a copy of "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" and at that point there was no turning back. Once I got past the hilarity of ether binges in casinos, I decided to dive deeper into the rabbit hole and what I found was a person that was very original, rather psychotic and displayed minimal respect of authority... all the makings of a role model.

I love this particular title of his because it was one of the last that I read (no, I haven't read them all) and in this book, HST looks back over the years and talks about what was going on behind the scenes as all of the publicized craziness (that was his life) was going on. It's like VH1 Storytellers, but interesting.

I read it voraciously, retained what I would and never read it again. Like an good HST story, it grows better with time and embellishment while all the while never losing the point.

Two quotes:

"I found out then that writing is a kind of therapy. One of the few ways I can almost be certain I'll understand something is by sitting down and writing about it. Because by forcing yourself to write about it and putting it down in words, you can't avoid having to come to grips with it. You might be wrong, but you have to think about it very intensely to write about it. So I use writing as a learning tool."


"I wandered into a library last week and decided to do a quick bit of reading on The Law, which has caused me some trouble recently. It was a cold, mean day, and my mood was not much different. The library was empty at that hour of the morning. ...It was closed, in fact, but not locked. So I went in."
03.06.11 / 7:42 PM
Well, having a duck book as my head is interesting. I have always loved reading childrens' books, and collected them before ever thinking I'd have any of my own. I like collecting the unusual books, the ones with diverse illustrations, books about topics other than what I encounter everyday. I like ones with silly titles like "The Man Who Cooked For Himself." I like the subtle and the obvious morals to them, especially the older ones we were read about "how to use your manners" with pictures of giraffes using napkins, I think how horrible and funny they are but yet I was not hurt by having them in my collection growing up. I have an addiction to buying unique childrens' books at tag sales, which is why we have too many but not enough.
03.06.11 / 9:38 PM
Any offering from Malcolm Gladwell serves as a great example of how to take in vast amounts of learning, distill, ruminate...then effectively communicate an idea. I take a lot away from all his writing.

For those that spent time in art school and haven't yet been entertained by Chip Kidd's humorous and slightly emotional work of fiction "The Cheese Monkeys", take a day to read it.

Something completely different: William P. Young's "The Shack" changed my perspective on spirituality and greatly (and I mean GREATLY) affected my soul. I yearn to read this book again and feel myself drawn to the content the same way a desert wanderer desires water.


We'll post the topic to start the conversation. Where it goes is up to you.

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