A few of my favourite books in 2014

It’s the end of the year and yet again, i’m looking at a huge pile of books i’ve enjoyed but never found the time to review on the blog. So i’m going to file them here and you can think of this list as a christmas gift guide for the many smart and curious people in your life.

and USA.)

Publisher Verso writes: Propelled by years of chats and encounters with a multitude of hackers, including imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond and the double agent who helped put him away, Hector Monsegur, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy is filled with insights into the meaning of digital activism and little understood facets of culture in the Internet age, including the history of “trolling,” the ethics and metaphysics of hacking, and the origins and manifold meanings of “the lulz.”

and USA.)

Four years ago, i visited the wonderfully informative exhibition High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture at the Wellcome Collection in London. It only recently occurred to me that i could re-visit the show through its catalogue.

Publisher Thames & Hudson writes: Cultural historian Mike Jay paints vivid portraits of the roles that drugs play as medicines, religious sacraments, status symbols and trade goods. He traces the understanding of intoxicants from the classical world through the mind-bending self-experiments of early scientists to the present ‘war on drugs’, and reveals how the international trade in substances such as tobacco, tea and opium shaped the modern world.

Mike Jay’s talk at Breaking Convention, October Gallery, London, Tuesday, 31st January, 2012

and UK.)

Maker Dad is the first DIY book to use cutting-edge (and affordable) technology in appealing projects for fathers and daughters to do together. These crafts and gadgets are both rewarding to make and delightful to play with. What’s more, Maker Dad teaches girls lifelong skills–like computer programming, musicality, and how to use basic hand tools–as well as how to be creative problem solvers.

My dad taught me how to build electronic circuits. Obviously, no dad could every be as wonderful as mine was but they can have a try by following Frauenfelder’s super clear instructions and build all kinds of drawbots, crazy jewellery, retro arcade video game and kite video camera with their kids.

and UK.)

Publisher Thames & Hudson writes: The expedition of 1957/58, led by Vivian ‘Bunny’ Fuchs, was one of the 20th century’s triumphs of exploration – a powerful expression of technological daring as much as a testament of sheer, bloody-minded human willpower. As a key member of the expedition, Everest veteran George Lowe was there to capture it all in photographs and on film

Awe-inspiring landscapes, candid portraits and action shots evoke the day-by-day moments as the expedition travelled across snow and ice, facing extraordinary challenges and dangers.

and USA.)

Publisher Laurence King writes: This beautiful book brings together some of the best examples by typewriter artists around the world. As well as key historical work from the Bauhaus, H. N. Werkman and the concrete poets, there is art by contemporary practitioners, both typewriter artists who use the keyboard as a ‘palette’ to create artworks, and artists/typographers using the form as a compositional device. The book will appeal to graphic designers, typographers, artists and illustrators, and anyone fascinated by predigital technology.

and UK.)

Publisher FRAME writes: After several print runs that have almost sold out, Frame has now updated the existing content and added 36 pages with completely new material to one of its best-sellers. (…) This edition contains 17 new material catalogue cards, including lithium, rare earth elements, photovoltaic cells, non-newtonian fluids, gallium, mercury, horn, diamond, nacre, precious stones, carbon and more. Ordered alphabetically and illustrated with photos, each of the cards holds a description of the material with its main properties, strengths and weaknesses, and possible uses.

and UK.)

Art and the Internet, edited by Phoebe Stubbs, with contributions from Joanne McNeill, Domenico Quaranta and Nick Lambert (on amazon UK and USA.)

Ways of Looking: How to Experience Contemporary Art by Ossian Ward, Head of Content at the Lisson Gallery and former chief art critic at Time Out London (on Amazon USA and UK.)

Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture by Justin McGuirk (on amazon USA and UK.)

Photography: A Cultural History (Fourth Edition) by Mary Warner Marien (on Amazon USA and UK.)