I'm always reading -- at least trying to. My consumption is usually related design -- interaction design or information architecture to be a bit more accurate -- but anything to do with design usually sparks an interest. This last year I went a bit nuts with buying books. I now have a back log that's a few feet tall (as they're stacked up in various places around the house) and my goal is to rip through them all this summer! Here's the list (by subject):
Architecture: I love all things architecture. I find many of the design principles discussed in the architecture world are very applicable to designing interactive systems. In essence you are interacting with a space which has a certain flow, if you will indulge. I was turned onto "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander via the Adaptive Path's reading list, I have had for at least a year and I've thumbed through it reading a bit here and there. So it was logical for me to pick up "The Timeless Way of Building" by Alexander. Whereas with"Patterns", I'm content reading it a bit at a time, I'm really looking forward to sitting down and reading "Timeless" -- it's definitely the treatise. I picked up another book about architecture, "Architecture is Elementary", by Winters, which has a tag line of visual thinking through architectural concepts. Quite simply this book (very workbook like) explores design elements in a very visual manner, teaching the reader visual vocabulary. Reading Elementary definitely relates to my desire to bolster my own visual design skills, the 2d space (the screen) and beyond into the 3d realm of physical tangible interactive products.
Design: As I stated I'm trying to bolster my visual design skills, and I luckily came across a neat series of books called Design Briefs published by the Princeton Architectural Press. So I have: "Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition", "Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type", and Elements of Design: Exercises in Three Dimensional Design". I'm going to pick up the 4th book in the series "Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students", after reading the others. These books are going to be fun.
Information Architecture/Interaction Design: In the last year there has been a few big releases: "Ambient Findability" and "Designing Interfaces" (I'm looking forward to reading "Designing for Interaction" by Dan "www.odannyboy.com" Saffer) in the interaction design/information architecture world. I have them and I going to read them -- I've actually read the first few chapters of Ambient Findability, its good. I was lucky to find a couple of other books dealing with mostly HCI (interaction design -- with some information architecture if you're being picky) stuff at a really good local book store, Page One. The books are: "Designing Interactive Systems: People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies", "Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction", and"Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology". I've been pouring through, Designing Interactive Systems, which is a text book with the purpose of teaching Interaction Design. I think its a great overview (and review) of information I had learned elsewhere. Also I'm revisiting "The Humane Interface" by Raskin, after letting sit on the book shelf for way to long.
Seminal: I go crazy over anything Ideo, I got the cards, I have "Thoughtless Acts", and the "The Art of Innovation", and believe they have all been consumed! So now its time for "The Ten Faces of Innovation", which will be my next read! I also found and bought "The Computer and the Brain" by Neumann. This book was intially published in 1958 (I'm reading the second edition published in 2000) and is about the analogies between computing machines and the living brain. Should be interesting.
Ruby on Rails: I need to finish reading "Agile Web Development with Rails", before my june trip to the first ever Ruby on Rails Conference. I have read (and worked through) the first section of the book, I just need to read the second section.
Okay, maybe the list is too ambitious. I do have a few plane rides for some upcoming trips and I am not taking any psych classes this summer (will be starting up again this fall with cognitive psych), so maybe I have time. We'll see, if not I love books (having them around, something to pick up and feel some weight, and to thumb through), plus I told myself I can't buy another until I finish reading these...