Books Read: April 2017

Published on May 1, 2017

It turned out to be a comics-heavy month. Something I’ll never complain about, but there it is. Here are all of the books I read this past month, along with a few thoughts on each.

Spiral-Bound

by Aaron Renier - Grab a copy

I absolutely adored this comic from Aaron Renier about a town of animals, a love of art, a summer vacation, and a deadly swamp monster. The artwork, while cluttered at times, is great at building a surprisingly rich world and the story is a great little adventure read.

It reminded me a bit of Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson, but without as much emotional depth. Combined, these are the two books I plan on using to suck my daughters into the world of comics.

Tomboy

by Liz Prince - Grab a copy

I didn’t know much about this book going into it, but was pleasantly surprised. Liz Prince is great at blending humor and angst, all while educating people about important social issues like gender roles and self-confidence. I’ll probably wait a bit to give this one to my kids, but it will definitely be on their reading lists in a few years.

Just Draw

by Mark Badger - Grab a copy

I went into this one with high hopes. This is a non-fiction comic about meditation and how it can help those in creative fields. Comics and meditation? Sounds right up my alley. Unfortunately, it was an ill-organized book with an absurd number of typos that distracted from enjoying the book.

Table Manners

by Jeremiah Tower - Grab a copy

I loved this book on modern etiquette. While I don’t often find myself in Michelin-star restaurants or at fancy dinner parties, this is still an excellent guide to presenting yourself in any social situation. Some of the bits about proper eating methods were fascinating, and Jeremiah Tower does a great job of infusing what could be a stale topic with plenty of humor. Plus, the illustrations by Libby VaderPloeg were superb.

American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang - Grab a copy

I seem to have been on a coming-of-age in comics kick this month. This graphic novel was about what it’s like growing up as an asian in an otherwise white world. What makes it one of the better comics I’ve read recently, though, is its use magical legends and characters as foils to the main characters. And the end twist bringing the two narratives together is brilliant. Highly recommended.

This One Summer

by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki - Grab a copy

Jesus Christ, Jillian Tamaki is a superb artist. The artwork in This One Summer is now officially among my favorite in all of comics. The story is just as good. Jillian and her cousin Mariko combine to create a story that is amazingly effective at bringing you back summer vacations, first crushes, struggling to make sense of adult situations, your own emotions, and growing apart from childhood friends. Probably my favorite of the month.

Scrum Basics

by Tycho Press - Grab a copy

I’m actually pissed that this book doesn’t credit an actual author. Someone had to write it, and they did a fantastic job. Scrum Basics is a wonderful introduction to Agile methodologies and, specifically, Scrum. We’re actually moving to a more formal Scrum process at Litmus, and this was a great way to get comfortable with some of the specifics of Scrum—especially the roles, ceremonies, and artifacts involved with Scrum. Pick it up if you need to get up-to-speed quickly for your own work.

Anything You Want

by Derek Sivers - Grab a copy

This is a quick and enjoyable look at business from CDBaby founder Derek Sivers. I’ve been a huge fan of Derek’s writing for years now, and this book fits right in with everything else he’s published on his blog and elsewhere. Although there’s a lot of good lessons to take away, I fear that some of the advice is so specific to CDBaby and the time of Derek’s rise to fame and fortune that it’s hard to apply it to business and life today. Still, an entertaining look at his own experiences in business with plenty of quick philosophy to inspire action on that side project or business that’s been languishing for far too long.


That’s it for this month. Check back next month or subscribe to my newsletter to see what I read next.