What’s on my night stand: June 2012

Well, since last time, I closed out the first two Song of Ice and Fire books, just in time for the season finale of Game of Thrones on HBO. I’m really glad I decided to read the books, because the show has taken a turn for the not so good. Meanwhile, the ARE Study Manual collects dust, as I expected it might, and as I expect it will while it’s warm. Let’s see what’s moved in to take their places.

The Architect’s Guide to Residential Design

I got this book when I was working in a firm that did more residential design, but it’s valuable even though I don’t do as much of that these days. A lot of the stuff in this book are things that I won’t be using for a very long time. It has some great advice about communicating with the client and the contractor, which is an acquired skill for most architects. It’s easy to forget that laypeople have trouble reading plans and elevations because they’re not looking at them all of every day. This is doubly true of residential design, because residential clients often have never worked with an architect before. This book does a good job of putting that in perspective and giving you (the architect) some ways of bridging that communication gap. Now if I ever talked to clients …

Ghostly Tales and Eerie Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

This is a beside perennial of mine. I have this book since forever, my mom gave it to me when I was, eight? I have no idea, in all my memories I am either 8 or 12, it’s not until I’m 16 or so that I can start reliably telling you how old I was when things happened. I used to have a serious affection for ghost stories and the like, and my mom saw to it that I got them from the best. My copy of the hardcover version is affectionately worn around the corners. I’ve read most stories in here many times by now, but they still read fresh every time.

How to Catch a Pig

With summer upon us now and me hoping to do some camping, I pulled this one down so I could brush up on the basics. You know, like catching a pig. What’s fun about this book is that it is a compilation of old-timey advice from many different sources. There’s methods of making and using a camp stove, making your own fishing pole, and how to get good with a rifle. Here’s what it says about what a man might do when he trades his tight, heavy boots for moccasins:

“He would shake hands then with his worst enemy, if he were there, and slap him on the back; he would buy his wife a sealskin sack; he would hug his grandmother.”

Uh, yeah, I need to get some moccasins.

How Buildings Learn

Spoiler alert: they don’t. Or at least not very well, in most cases. This book has a lot of great case studies on how specific buildings have evolved over the years. Architects are generally ignorant of what happens to their buildings after they are built. Homes get renovated and added on to while retail spaces and restaurants get turned over every four or five years. This book looks into why the occupants of various building types need to change their spaces, and how buildings might better adapt to their users.

That’s it for the books. If there’s anything you want to recommend, leave it in the comments down there. There were exactly two guesses for the cost of materials contest a few weeks back, which is low enough for me to make everyone a winner. Ian and Robin will both get things from me, which will be fun for all of us. Congratulations to you two, for making losers out of everybody else.

I have a Twitter account, @raybowman, that you can follow me on if you’re the kind of person who does Twitter. I am not that kind of person, I can’t really figure out how to use it other than to augment my hockey-watching experience. I basically check Twitter on my couch, and it’s like being in a bar with a lot of people talking at the same time. Pinterest, on the other hand, promises to be something I can get into. I was on it for five minutes (after being briefly annoyed that there was a waiting list), and already I can tell how addicting it’s going to be. My page is at RMBarch, so make sure you check it out when you get in on Pinterest.

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