What We’re Reading: Fall 2012

By Regina Connell and Natalie Powell.

Fact: chilly temperatures and gray skies create cuddle-up-and-read weather. So grab a cup of tea and a blanket, and crack open one of these books that have been piquing our interest of late.

Made in Japan by Naomi Pollock

Made in Japan: 100 New Products, by Naomi Pollock. A survey of ambitious and ingenious industrial designs that simultaneously harken back to traditional Japanese arts and crafts. From sleek bamboo, space-saving watering cans to a new kind of thermometer inspired by a mother’s simple gesture, these products are smart, inspiring, and deeply human.

Making It by Chris Lefteri

Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design, by Chris Lefteri. This 2007 book explores materials and processes, and helps you understand how the things around you are designed and manufactured. Brilliantly, deceptively simple.

Just My Type by Simon Garfield

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, by Simon Garfield. Finally a book about fonts for the rest of us. Read it, and you’ll learn as much about history and culture as you do about typography.

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure by Artemis Cooper

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, by Artemis Cooper. Men like Patrick Leigh Fermor seem to have become extinct (except, perhaps, in the pages of a William Boyd book). A man of insatiable curiosity, an adventurous spirit, a giant heart, and oceans of charm, Fermor was a gifted explorer of geographies natural and human. Inspiration to lead a bigger life.

Handbags: The Making of a Museum by Judith Clarke et al

Handbags: The Making of a Museum, by Judith Clarke et al. Yes, there is a Handbag Museum in Seoul, South Korea. This book contains gorgeous, detailed images of the bags, and better yet, a series of essays including one on the psychoanalysis of bags.

City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City by Ian Lambot and Greg Girard

City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City, by Ian Lambot and Greg Girard. We’ve been noticing some great books about cities in decay (like Detroit Disassembled by Andrew Moore). The authors of City of Darkness spent years exploring the labyrinthine settlement (and den of all things criminal) in Kowloon, Hong Kong, capturing the lives of the 33,000 residents living in not-so-splendid decay.

The Small Stakes: Music Posters by Jason Munn

The Small Stakes: Music Posters, by Jason Munn. How do you perfectly evoke the essence of a band in a single, eye-catching image? Marvel at the knack of graphic artist Jason Munnthe, founder of design firm The Small Stakes, who’s designed iconic posters for bands such as Beck, Wilco, and the Flaming Lips.

West Coast Modern by Zahid Sardar

West Cost Modern: Architecture, Interiors and Design, by Zahid Sardar. Handful of Salt contributor Coralie Langston-Jones suggested this deliciously photographed book featuring the work of our favorite architects, including Leo Marmol, Ron Radziner, Anne Fougeron, Joshua Aidlin, David Darling, and Gary Hutton.

Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo

Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature, by Ngoc Minh Ngo. A new kind of book on floral arrangements. Glorious photography brings to life seasonal arrangements inspired by everything from farmers markets to the backyard garden, accompanied by how to’s.

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, by Chris Anderson. This book, penned by the editor of Wired, investigates how recent technological innovations (3D scanners, laser cutters) are transforming the nature of making.

Sketchbooks by Richard Brereton

Sketchbooks: The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators and Creatives, by Richard Brereton. Sketchbooks hold the dreams of designers, some of which come to life, others which don’t. Explore the creative spirit.

How They Work by Inga Powilleit and Tatjana Quax

How They Work: The Hidden World of Dutch Design, by Inga Powilleit and Tatjana Quax. Brimming with rich, full-page photographs, this coffee-table find—recommended by Handful of Salt writer Kathryn Clark—reveals the secrets behind Dutch’s designers’ success.

The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi

The Waiting Years, by Fumiko Enchi. Another “wild card” read for our list. This fascinating story of love and betrayal in Japan will have you burning the midnight oil.

What’s on your reading list/bedside table/Kindle bookshelf? Let us know.

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