Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories by Christina Tosi – Buy it here
I don’t have a sweet tooth but I’m a sucker for a good life story. That’s why you get with Christina Tosi’s newest book which highlights the inspirations for many of the incredible treats she serves at Momofuku Milk Bar along with plenty of other oddball meals and confections. You’ll find recipes for exotic items like Smoked-Cantaloupe Jam, Kitchen-Sink Quiche, Crock-Pot Cake, and a gem called XXXL Lady Salad. I personally bought the book primarily to read her anecdotal stories which I found charming, endearing and inspiring. One of my favorite parts is the simple acknowledgment which reads, “To the old folks who keep me longing to be a wise and weathered should and to the young’uns who remind me to never grow up.” Amen sister.
Munari’s Books: The Definitive Collection of Book Designs by Bruno Munari by Giorgio Maffei – Buy it here
When surveying the current landscape of graphic design you see the finger prints of Bruno Munari everywhere. He approached design with the eye of an artist and created works of art that were perfectly designed. Now author Giorgio Maffei has created a definitive collection of Munari’s covers which spans an astonishing 70 years. The documentation that goes along with each cover is as impressive as the work itself, delving into details like the printer, the format, print runs, and anecdotes from the books themselves. A must for design history buffs.
A Book of Things by Jasper Morrison – Buy it here
I’m quite an admirer of Jasper Morrison and his honest, straightforward approach to product design. How book Super Normal, which he co-wrote, continues to be one that inspires me, highlighting the beauty of normal objects, objects that we overlook because of their normalcy. Working together with Lars Müller, he’s gathered together a retrospective of sorts documenting many of the incredible pieces he’s made over the years.
What I loved about this book is his candor and critique of his own work. He’ll clearly state that a simple stool he designed “costs a lot of money” because it was made of solid aluminum, but he enjoys “the flashiness given to such a humble object.” Or the time he was asked to “design the finest analogue alarm clock – ever!” which he humbly states, “but in the end, though it might not be the finest ever, we made a nice alarm clock.” This for me is an interesting read because you can glean into the mind of a fellow creative, get a glimpse at the motivations.
Ana of California by Andi Teran – Buy it here
Many of you will remember TFIB contributor Andi Teran, one of the most talented writers I know. She took a break from contributing to the site to work full time on her first novel, which is now out and titled Ana of California. The book is a modern adaptation of Ana of Green Gables, told from the point of view of young Ana Cortez, a fifteen-year-old orphan from East Los Angeles who’s looking for one last chance on a Northern California farm.
Andi’s writing is incredibly fluid and easy to digest. The words slip right off the page and directly into your mind where her world opens up to you. Ana is a fantastic character, certainly the contemporary that young women need, and you can’t help but root for her along her journey.
Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes – Buy it here
This was the book that inspired me write this round-up. You may have heard of Dominique Ansel, but only if you live in New York. What you are familiar with his delectable creation, The Cronut, which became the most duplicated (read: ripped off) pastry in the world. His work as a pastry chef is legendary in the food world and the treats he creates are akin to art.
In his book, The Secret Recipes, he dedicates the first half to telling stories, how he got to where he is, where he gathers his inspiration, and the challenges he faces when trying something new. The second half are the most gorgeous recipes you’ll ever find, and if you’re like me, couldn’t bake to save your life. Still, like the Milk Bar book above this book was about highlighting creativity, not so much about reading recipes. Inspiration comes from all creative fields!
Spoiled Brats by Simon Rich – Buy it here
My partner Kyle recently started Bük Kloob, a monthly book club that we share with some of our friends. The first book he assigned to the group was Simin Rich’s Spoiled Brats, a collection of short stories centered around, you guessed it, spoiled brats. Overall the book had some clever stories, the ones that were obviously not inspired by his own life being the best, plus it was a quick read. I don’t think this book lives up to the hype (or the Patton Oswald penned NY Times review) but if you like reading about millennial problems, this might be for you.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Buy it here
I’ve had many people tell me that I would enjoy Ready Player One, funny enough it also happened to be the Bük Kloob pick for this month, so I finished this while on my trip to Paris. The story is of Wade Wilson, a boy who escapes his not so great life through the OASIS, a virtual reality world with unlimited potential. When the creator of the OASIS passes away he leaves his fortunes to the person who can find The Egg, kicking off the most intense scavenger hunt ever.
The book was quite fun, though unfortunately it was trying to be a lot of things at once. I boiled it down to Harry Potter with about a million 80’s references, which the OASIS creator was obsessed with. Some of the challenges Wade faced had me on the edge of my seat, but the book fails a bit when it comes to dialogue, sounding like your dad trying to write cool kid lingo.
The Manual – Issue 4 – Buy it here
There are very few publications dedicated to the design of the web. Specifically stories about experiences that we in this profession can relate to, not canned tutorials about Photoshop or “16 Shocking Secrets You Never Knew About InDesign. No, The Manual aims to bring discourse and conversations to the field, something that’s sorely lacking.
My favorite piece is by David Cole titled Made to Measure, which speaks about the role of data in design. Focus to closely on the data and it could have adverse effects on say, your brand integrity, though avoiding the entirely means you’re living in a cave. I did have issue though with the first story by Craig Mod though which felt like and entitled bit of fluff. If only we all had the resources to “give ourselves permission” to walk through lush, moss-covered forest cemeteries and then take a trip to Africa. It’s also worth noting that there are some great illustrations in the book by some of my faves like Jen Mussari, Richard Perez, and Philipp Dornbierer.