Due to some difficult deadlines, or maybe just negligence, I missed the Design Observer group holiday book roundup. Apologies! Let me rectify that by highlighting a couple of new publications that would make fine gifts for the architect, designer, writer, or otherwise thoughtful person in your life.
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout
By Lauren Redniss
Let me ask you this: How many books do you own with a cover that glows in the dark? None? So now we've established that you're going to buy this book, and we haven't even gotten to the interior. Redniss is a charming illustrator (think Maira Kalman) and empathetic storyteller with great feel for her subject. Science is so often treated in a sterile manner, but this book about clinicians is never clinical. Caveat emptor: Lauren is a friend.
By Khoi Vinh
This new elements of style for web design, by the former online design director of the NYT, will lead you to clarity—and not just on the Internet. Also, if you're interested in design, New York, photography, dogs, baseball, literature, food, and people who are very smart, be sure to bookmark Khoi's blog, subtraction.com. [PS: I think he's a consultant to Design Observer.]
Gerd Arntz: Graphic Designer
Edited by Ed Annink, Max Bruinsma
Mr. Poynor is the resident expert around these parts on the history of Dutch design, but you can take my word that this book on the master of the pictogram will be something you spend a great deal of time with. Arntz doesn't have much of a name here in the States, so this book is of special value.
Cartographies of Time
By Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton
A visual history of the time line, published (by my old employer, Princeton Architectural Press) in the spirit of Edward Tufte—that is to say, a work of tremendous intellectual breadth produced with great love and quality materials.
Finally, you have a copy of Master of Shadows, right?