A Very Short Intro
I’m a fan of the Very Short Introductions books, published by Oxford University Press. If I spot one in a used bookstore I usually pick it up, which means I know a bit more about Buddhism, Modern Ireland, and The History of Astronomy than I would otherwise. They’re perfect reading for long flights, and the colourful covers really brighten a bookshelf. The New Yorker does a great job explaining the quirky appeal of the series.
I’ve more or less started collecting VSIs (I have about 35). This website began as a design exercise – I wanted a tool to keep track of books I’ve read, and ones I’m looking for. OUP’s official website is a bit cumbersome and doesn’t list the spine numbers, so I built a faster way to browse the collection. Details about each title are retrieved using Google Books.
My favourite books? Besides Typography and Design, which are both excellent, I’ve really enjoyed History (way more compelling than it sounds), Barthes (a fantastic biography), and The French Revolution (I learned more about politics than from years of reading the news).