The Goucher community loves to read,
and I want to keep talking about it.
1. Who are you and what are you interested in?
My name is Max, I’m a designer from Chicago and an alumni (barely) of Goucher College. I’m interested in philosophy, games, and bugs (I know a lot of facts about ants).
2. What are you reading now?
I just finished a really cool book about philosophy and games called *The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia by Bernard Suits, although a cursory glance at the Goucher library website shows that you don’t have that book, so I hope I haven’t sabotaged your project now. The Grasshopper was recommended to me by Richard Lemarchand, who made the Uncharted games, so that’s a good reason to read it right there.
Some other books I’ve read in the last few months: Hitch-22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens (excellent), In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (just okay), The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (great, funny), and the execrable Walter Issacson biography of Steve Jobs (riddled with errors; for a much better book on Apple and Jobs, check out Revolution in the Valley by Andy Hertzfeld).
Some design books I’ve read recently that I loved: Thoughtless Acts by Jane Fulton Suri, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren, Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann, Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski, and Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type by Kimberly Elam. I also highly recommend Distance, a journal of long essays on design - Benjamin Jackson’s article Hard Fun is interesting.
Finally, John Campbell sent me the new printing of his book Pictures for Sad Children and I can report that it made me feel things and is very funny.
3. What’s the most important book you have ever read?
My desert island book is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, who is my favorite author. What can I even say about Infinite Jest other than that it’s laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreaking and clever all at the same time? To quote DFW, it’s about “what it is to be a fucking human being.”
If you want to get into Wallace (and who doesn’t) I suggest starting with his non-fiction Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again which books I personally checked out from the Goucher library and accrued late fees on, and then moving on to either I.J. or Broom of the System.
A more boring answer to this question could also be Moby Dick by Herman Melville which I keep in my bedroom and am always reading (as soon as I finish it, I start back on the first page).
4. If you could suggest one book to read, what would it be and why?
I’m constantly yelling at people to read a tiny little book called Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff. It’s one of those things where once you read it, you’ll divide your life into before you read Elephant and after.
For my fellow philosophy enthusiasts, I think John Searle's The Construction of Social Reality is the best thing I’ve read since I graduated, it blew my mind.
*The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia by Bernard Suits, Hitch-22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens, Revolution in the Valley by Andy Hertzfield, Thoughtless Acts by Jane Fulton Suri, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren, Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski, Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type by Kimberly Elam, and Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff are not available in the Goucher collection, but can be ordered through Interlibrary Loan through Worldcat. If you want to read this book, suggest it to be added into our circulation!