HCIC 2010 Book Suggestions

HCIC 2010 Book Club

Dinner at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Restaurant

Every year we get together and swap tales about our favorite reads during the year.  This event was held  
at the Devil's Thumb Ranch House restaurant.  The scallops were brilliant, but the people and the stories  
were even better.   
The participants this year were:  Gary Olson and Judy Olson (UC Irvine), Paul Dourish (UC Irvine),  
Mark Newman (U. Michigan), Gina Venolia (Microsoft), Mike Atwood (Drexel), Robin Jeffries (Google), Jay Jeffries (Stanford), 
Bonnie John (CMU / IBM), Dan Russell (Google)


Book recommendations: 

Gary Olsen:  Ken Auletta  Googled: The end of the world as we know it

“The book recounts the entire history of Google, back to when Larry and Sergey were kids.  The author had more access to execs than anyone else.. worth reading if you want to understand what’s going on with Google.”  Amazon review: Two Googles emerge in this savvy profile of the Internet search octopus. The first is the actual company, with its mixture of business acumen and naïve idealism (Don't Be Evil is the corporate slogan); its brilliant engineering feats and grad-students-at-play company culture; its geek founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, two billionaires who imbibe their antiestablishment style straight from Burning Man; its altruistic quest to offer all the world's information for free while selling all the world's advertising at a hefty profit. The second Google is a monstrous metaphor for all the creative destruction that the Internet has wrought on the crumbling titans of old media, who find themselves desperately wondering how they will make money off of news, music, video and books now that people can Google up all these things without paying a dime. 

Bonnie John:  Henry Lodge  Younger Next Year

“This is the book that’s changed my life… and the life of several people I know.  (I heard about it from Wendy Kellogg.)  It’s about how to transform your life (eating, activity, etc.) for the better.”  You too can be younger next year.  

Judy Olson: Anita Diamant Red Tent 

Paul Dourish:  Fatal Shore. 

“There’s an interesting backstory here… about how/why prisoners came to Australia… and were not sent to America.”

Mark Newman: Malcolm McCullough  Abstracting Craft. 

 The motivations of craft—crafty, cheap  -- “You feel inspired, but unsure what to do next with the ideas in this book.”

Gina Venolia:  Craig Childs  House of Rain  

Although less well known than the Mayans, the Anasazi, who flourished in the region now known as New Mexico, also vanished without a trace. Now, eight centuries after their thriving, 2,000-year-old civilization disappeared as though it had never existed, naturalist and adventurer Childs undertakes to find out where the Anasazi went and why. But discovering the fate of an entire race of people, 800 years after the fact, is not like tracking down a missing person. Childs' investigation relies heavily on scholarly literature, oral tradition, and lots of reading between the lines of history.

Mike Atwood: Ken Follett.  Pillars of the Earth  

“You’ll learn more about building cathedrals and learn about where the knowledge for building a cathedral come from.”      Tom Builder's dream is to build a cathedral, but in the meantime, he must scrounge about to find a lord that will hire him. His search pulls him and his family into the politics of 12th-century England, as different lords vie to gain control of the throne in the wake of the recently deceased king.

 Jay Jeffries:  John LesCount.  A plague of secrets (Dismas Hardy series)   

“Really good cop stories.  A San Francisco as detective….”  

Robin Jeffries: Ariadne Franklin  Mistress of the art of death  

“A young woman in the Middle Ages becomes a forensic detective.”

Dan Russell:  Gerd Geziniger  Gut feelings:  …


Lightning Round:   Wherein people have to quickly say their favorite books (without repetition from above), describing it in only 30 seconds.  

Bonnie John:  (read together)  Pride and Prejudice AND  Pride and Prejudice with Zombies.  

Judy Olson:  Gurnsey Potato Peel Pie. 

Paul Dourish:  Jon Krakauer  Under the banner of heaven 

Paul Dourish second suggestion:  David Turnbull  Masons, Tricksters and Cartographers  

This beautiful, passionate and inspiring book is essential reading for everyone interested in post colonialism and science and technology studies. Turnbull brings together a wide range of traditions as diverse as cathedral building, Micronesian navigation, cartography and turbulence research. He argues that all our differing ways of producing knowledge, including science, are messy, spatial and local. Every culture has its own ways of assembling local knowledge, thereby creating space through the linking of people, practices and places. The spaces we inhabit and assemblages we work with are not as homogeneous and coherent as our modernist perspectives have led us to believe

Mark Newman:  Oryx and Krake  

“This book haunts me to this day…”

Gina Venolia:  Carola Lewis Zaphira  Shadow of the wild

Mike Atwood:  J. Barton Axmaker’s Gift

Jay Jeffries:  Kite Runner

Robin Jeffries: The Lovely Bones

Dan Russell:  Born to Run



Best Events / Performances: 
   Wherein people describe performances of some kind 
of artistic endeavour that particularly moved them.  

Bonnie John: Whirling Dervishes.  We saw them in Pittsburgh… they were surprisingly calming and amazing. 

Gary Olson: Minneapolis Symphony, hearing Aaron Copland conducting Appalachian Spring 

Judy Olson: Apollo Theatre.  Attended a Double Dutch jumproping competition (with compulsories and freestyle). 

Paul Dourish:  Edinburgh Festival.  Full of remarkable things, but the event that caught his eye was a jazz bagpiper… a thing he didn’t think was possible.

Mark Newman:  Speedboat Gallery (St. Paul, MN) Where he heard a group called “Savage Aural Hotband” who wrapped themselves in Saran Wrap for their performance.  Craaazy. 

Gina Venolia:  Jessica Williams in performance.  She’s a remarkable jazz pianist (who is now a friend of Gina!)

Mike Atwood:  Colur – a place on the Spanish coast where they conduct completely insane bullfights.  For instance, they will release bulls with strings tied between the horns.  Girls & women then try to cut the string with scissors.   Or, the guys will play soccer on the field… with the bulls.  Different?  Yeah.

Jay Jeffries:  Colorado University Shakespeare Festival—the performance of Henry V, Part 2 with Kevin Kline at Thanksgiving many years ago.  “The performance has never left my mind.”

Robin Jeffries:  Berserker Gun…an experimental play that her son Sean was in.  Think San Diego many years ago… but it was a whacky, very experimental piece that has also never left her mind. 

Dan Russell:  Survival Research Labs  In a performance held in an abandoned metal shed in an industrial section of San Francisco, the team built a whole bunch of new grandstands to accommodate the unexpected 500 people who showed up.  I left the performance smelling of jet A fuel (from the flamethrowers) and with my hair standing on end (from the giant Van de Graff generators making lightning)