43 Books in 2010

Last year, in the midst of moving across the country, adjusting to New York, and starting school, I didn’t, unlike my normal habit, read much. In fact I read exactly 13 books. This year, however, things were quite different. I spent a few hundred hours by myself in the dark shooting a stop motion film; I had a summer of semi-idle working part time for artists; I commuted by foot every day for 45 minutes or more. The result was a lot more reading of physical books, digital books, and audio books. In the end I read more than three times as many books this year as last year for a total of 43.

Looking back over the list now, I see a couple of themes. There’s a cluster of older sci-fi titles that I’d always meant to get around to reading: All Tomorrow’s Parties, Singularity Sky, Zodiac, The Lathe of Heaven, etc. There’s a bunch of special effects-related books, a long-standing and fast-growing aesthetic, theoretical, and practical interest of mine that’s becoming more and more central for me through my work at ITP: The Making of Star Wars, Filming the Fantastic, From Vatican to Vegas, Filming the Future. There’s an increasing amount of tech history (Engelbart Hypothesis, JCR Licklider and the Dream Machine, etc.) again relating to my ITP thesis work. And there’s a smattering of art-related writing: I revisited Dave Hickey’s classic Air Guitar on the occasion of the re-release of his long-out-of-print and controversial Invisible Dragon. Following the lead of John Powers I dove deeply into Robert Smithson’s writing and thought.

Anyway, here they are, more or less in the order that I read them:

  1. The Atrocity Archive by Charlie Stross
  2. The Jennifer Morgue by Charlie Stross
  3. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
  4. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. All Tomorrow’s Parties by William Gibson
  6. The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America by Russell Shorto
  7. Singularity Sky by Charlie Stross
  8. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford
  9. You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier
  10. Zodiac by Neal Stephenson
  11. Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy by Dave Hickey (reread)
  12. Point Omega by Don DeLillo
  13. The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty by Dave Hickey
  14. Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency by Andrea Oppenheimer Dean and Timothy Hursley
  15. The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
  16. Cognitive Surplus Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky
  17. The Big U by Neal Stephenson
  18. Liar’s Poker Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street by Michael Lewis
  19. What The Doormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer by John Markoff (reread)
  20. Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings
  21. The Fuller Memorandum by Charlie Stross
  22. Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton
  23. Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
  24. Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber
  25. A Century of Stop Motion Animation: From Melies to Aardman by Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton
  26. The Making of Star Wars by JW Rinzler
  27. The Making of Empire Strikes Back by JW Rinzler
  28. How To Start and Run a Commercial Gallery by Edward Winkleman
  29. The Engelbart Hypothesis: Dialogs with Douglas by Valerie Landau and Eileen Clegg
  30. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
  31. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (reread)
  32. Au Revoir To All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France by Michael Steinberger
  33. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
  34. Listen To This by Alex Ross
  35. Filming the Fantastic: A Guide to Visual Effects Cinematography by Mark Sawicki
  36. How To Build Dioramas by Shepherd Paine
  37. 2001: Filming The Future by Piers Bizony
  38. From The Vatican To Vegas: The History of Special Effects by Norman Klein
  39. The Art of 3d Computer Animation and Effects by Isaac Kerlow
  40. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
  41. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
  42. The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop
  43. The Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkein
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