Mini Book Reviews

I’m currently making my way through a couple of bigger books — The Watchmen (Absolute Edition) by Alan Moore, and A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster. But in between I’ve read a couple of shorter, fun books.

The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island
by Weta Workshop
An extraordinarily detailed bestiary and ecological guide to the fictional world of King Kong’s Skull Island, written as though it was a “real” account of the several scientific expeditions to the island after Kong’s demise in New York.

Going for the Bronze: Still Bitter, More Baggage
by Sloane Tanen
This is a hilarious picture book of tiny little exquisitely designed dioramas, starring fuzzy little chickens acting out funny human dramas.

Al Capone Does My Shirts
by Gennifer Choldenko
A fun eighth-grader’s novel about a 13-year-old boy — “Moose” Flanagan — who goes to live on Alcatraz Island in 1935 when his dad takes a job there as an electrician and prison guard. The move is prompted by the family’s need to place Moose’s older, autistic sister Natalie in a school that can help her become independent. Moose isn’t happy in his new home; he never gets to see his dad, he has to look after Natalie, and the warden’s daughter Piper is a scheming trouble-maker. But Moose eventually finds his place by becoming friends with other kids who live on the island and making contact with one of the island’s celebrated prisoners — Al Capone.

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Book Review: Don’t Make Me Think : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Professional web designers probably read the highly popular first edition of Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability when it came out in 2000, but the second edition is worth a re-read, because author Steve Krug has honed his craft to a fine point, and everyone can use a refresher on the basic principles of usability and user testing.
Amateur designers may not have heard of “Don’t Make Me Think” — and if so, they should grab a copy right away. The book, like its subject matter, is light, minimal and to the point — a slim volume designed “to be read on a plane” (in the authors words) but covering some of the major problems that make websites difficult to use.

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