Archive for the ‘book’ Category
was the COOLEST.
She grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from the University of Wisconsin (this is a cool-girl pedigree if I’ve ever
seen lived it), and she wrote some of the best children’s books ever, like my favorite, The Westing Game
The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel)
The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues, and Figgs & Phantoms.
She also did all the graphic design and illustration for these books, and, as I just learned today, she designed other book covers as well, including one of the most iconic: this awesome Wrinkle In Time cover.
The University of Wisconsin has the Westing Game Manuscript...something to check out the next time I’m there.
The UW site also has more info about Raskin than anywhere else I’ve seen online. She died in the early 80s, and her daughter runs a foundation to help cats.
Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock.
I’ve been wondering for a while what happens to the long term stories and ideas in fashion (and culture) when everything is getting so fast. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit reactionary to it…it seems less interesting, less considered, and it makes me nervous. Rushkoff’s book tackles this issue, and others. Read a great interview here on Fast Company.
we saw OZ this weekend, and it was kinda eh, and as both the NYTimes and Jezebel have pointed out, super sexist compared to the original books by L Frank Baum. I read all of them one summer, lying on the grass in our side yard….which meant I also tracked down the movie Return to OZ when i was done with the books.
Did you see it? It’s creepy, dark and totally weird and awesome.
Of course it stars Faruiza Balk.
I had a long flight a couple weeks ago, and on the way there, I read Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise.
The book makes a case for better predictions through separating out real information, or the ‘signal’ from the ‘noise’ that surrounds it, and by understanding, admitting and communicating predictions uncertainty and probability.
Silver does an EXCELLENT job of carefully explaining his process and the ideas and theories around what he does. Luckily for us (and him) he also has had super interesting real life experiences and applications for the way he works: he helped develop a better way to understand and apply baseball statistics, he made a good amount of money playing poker online, and, oh-yeah, he writes the 538 blog, which I checked about every 20 minutes from August to November last year. He uses these experiences to give us real examples that help flesh out the more heady stats talk (which, by the way, made me nostalgic for sociology:).
If you are interested in the way the world works, and how we try to understand how it works (and you should) I highly recommend his book.
On the flight back, I read Over-dressed by Elizabeth Cline. This book explores the way Americans shop now, and how our over-consuming fashion habits have changed the world. I couldn’t help but wish Cline had read Silver’s book before writing her own.
While Silver used personal experiences to draw parallels and explain topics further, Cline used her personal experiences to fill her book with noise: the only point her personal stories made were to draw attention to her lack of experience in the topic. That can be an interesting type of book to read: watching someone’s knowledge grow…but perhaps since fast fashion and it’s effects on our world is something I do a lot of thinking and reading about, at times her lack of knowledge about the issue seemed a bit like willful ignorance. With Silver’s book, I know a bit about understanding and applying stats…but he’s a true expert-expert and his knowledge and writing was interesting and drove me to want to learn more.
Towards the end of her book, Cline suggests “solutions” for the issues that have come out of Fast-Fashion…the main one she appears to support is making your own clothing. While that’s a nice idea, or perhaps novel for her or some of her readers: this issue is a multi-billion dollar, multi-national one. It’s cool I guess to advocate seceding from the fashion industry as a whole, but that hardly helps solve the problems that face our country, other countries, the environment and all the people at the sewing machines.
Cline’s learning path did lead her to a simple and striking realization that is probably the real signal of the book: while American cities are struggling, and unemployment is at about 9%, China’s cities are booming.
To me, the most important thing about production and this industry is that we treat all people well. Paying everyone a fair and good wage means better situations for everyone, every country and every retailer and consumer across the board. It makes me nervous when people are super dismissive or negative about “Made in Fill-in-the-name-of a-country-here” because that starts to smell like xenophobia. I’d be down with things made everywhere if labor laws, environmental laws and wages were as they are in the US, in part because the competition would then be based on quality and the piece itself. Not price. That’s not to say that I think the US gets a gold star on these issues; it’s just so many other countries are lagging behind. People are PEOPLE, and people make our clothes.
As the world market changes, this industry
is going to has to change. Fair wages make for more consumers in thriving cities (all over the world). Better quality makes for happier consumers. Happier consumers makes for brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is the signal in the current fast fashion noise.
‘s new memoir will be on my bookshelf soon but in the meantime, you can check out her funny little doodles on Vogue here.