I was reading this interview with Clive Thompson in the NY Times last night and he’s got a new book out called “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better.” The book touches upon the idea that technology isn’t making you dumb, it’s actually supplementing the way our brains already work.
You talk a lot about memory in your book. Are we augmenting our memories with computers, or are we replacing them?
I would say we are augmenting them. When I started the book I was genuinely worried that I was losing my memory to Google, but the more I studied the way that everyday memory works, the more I realized how much we already rely on other outside sources — books, Post-it notes, etc. — but also other people to remember things. We are social thinkers, and we are also social rememberers, we use our co-workers, our partners and our friends to help us retrieve the details about things that they they are better at remembering than we are. And they’ve used us in the same way. Memory has always been social. Now we’re using search engines and computers to augment our memories, too.
The interview was good enough to get me to purchase the book, really looking forward to reading this. And how great is that cover? Simple but effective.
These days I’ve found that bookshops have become my galleries and art museums. I’ll frequently visit old vintage book stores and high-street chains just to wander through their shelves and soak up all the cover art. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but if you ask me, there’s few things more enjoyable then walking through a book store and guessing what lies just behind that striking image on the front.
One cover artist who has recently caught my eye is Chris Silas Neal. Based in Brooklyn, Chris has worked on a variety of projects over the years including posters, packaging, advertising, television and magazine work, but it’s his book covers that I think I love the most.
Anton Van Hertbruggen is a hugely talented illustrator from Belgium. Last year he released a stunning concertina book called Memories of a Suburban Utopia and the second I saw it I knew I had to own it. Depicting a surreal modern suburb, Anton’s book is unlike anything I’ve seen before and his images look even more fantastic when printed in this scrolling concertina format.
Richard Matheson passed away Sunday. We lost a good one. The 1958 Hugo Award winner might be one of the few people in the world to find such success in books, television, and film. At thirty-seven years old he released his first story in the long running Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he moved to California in 1951 and took to writing short stories and books.
It’s felt like, in the last 10 years or so, that we’ve seen a renaissance in book cover design. You can easily blame the rise of electronic books for this shift. The print medium is on a decline so it’s important that a book on a bookshelf looks it’s absolutely finest to grab our always distracted attention. A perfect example of this is Sam Weber’s cover for Tor’s version of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.