Best of 2017: Books

Category : Design Talk, Life · by Dec 30th, 2017

Another year is about to pass by, and here are three books I regard as this year’s best.


The Visual History of Type
By Paul McNeil

Within the graphic design category, The Visual History of Type was the best purchase this year.
Paul McNeil is the man behind the 8000 covers for eye magazine Issue 94 and for me, was the lecturer in the next class at London College of Communication.
The book contains more than 320 typefaces in chronological order. They are systematically categorized with nourishing commentaries.
It is a big, heavy and quite a costly book, but it worths the price. It is full of knowledge and also is very beautiful. You can spend hours with this.
This is a must-have for typography lovers. I’m not sure there is a plan for Japanese translation, but strongly recommend my Japanese friends to take a look. I’d rather translate it by myself.


Balancing Act: Behind the Scenes at London’s National Theatre
By Nicholas Hytner

A memoir from the former National Theatre art director is a delight.
Balancing Act covers Hytner’s spectacular career from the beginning towards the planning of newly opened Bridge Theatre, but mainly focuses on his years at National Theatre. The tone is as easy, casual and intellectual as Hytner himself.
Even though you don’t know all the productions mentioned, each narration is precise and amusing.
I highly recommend the audiobook version of Balancing act too. It is read mostly by Hytner himself and quotations from play scripts are read by actors including Simon Russell Beal.


The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
BY Kathleen Flinn, Riko Murai(translation)

This book follows the challenge in a weekly cooking school for 10 participants with different problems in their kitchens. Some rarely cook, some are too afraid to fail. I suppose many readers can relate to at least one of the problems that 10 participants suffer from.
I read the Japanese translation of this book and it drastically changed my lifestyle.
To be honest, I was never a person that enjoyed cooking. I regarded cooking as a kind of process which is unavoidable so I tried to spend as small time as possible. But now, I am a frequent baker. This memoir is full of drama for both the author and the participants. It made me feel that cooking is not a difficult thing. It motivated me to actually stand at a kitchen counter.


As for me, after the graduation ceremony in Summer in London, I decided to continue a life as a researcher and started PhD course in Kyoto, Japan.
I am spending most of my time in Kyoto, sometimes in Tokyo. I continue collaborating on graphic and branding projects. I realised that I like to keep my life hectic, so I would like to take care of my health in the coming year.
And this year has been a worrying time for me in terms of politics and journalism. I hope the things will be in better condition in 2018, and I would like to keep thinking how to behave as an individual in order to achieve that.
That being said, I wish all of you a wonderful new year.
Thanks for visiting.

| The Visual History of Type |
| Balancing Act |
| The Kitchen Counter Cooking School | ダメ女たちの人生を変えた奇跡の料理教室(Japanese) |


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