Steve Portigal

Steve Portigal

Superb user research consultant; author of Doorbells, Danger and Dead Batteries & Interviewing Users (https://t.co/MWPBOeiM55), Host @DollrsToDonuts podcast

20+ Book Recommendations by Steve Portigal

  • The Girls

    Emma Cline

    "Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Random House ... in 2016."--Title page verso.

    @ashlyo Thanks for the pointer to The Girls - I just finished it earlier in the week. Great! I then immediately downloaded "Daddy" - her book of short stories!

  • A Pail of Air

    Fritz Leiber

    The dark star passed, bringing with it eternal night and turning history into incredible myth in a single generation! In this story of desperation and courage a family believing themselves to be the last humans alive on Earth must fight daily against a cold uncaring universe. Fritz Leiber won multiple Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. This story shows him at the height of his prowess.

    @EmilyFlake I had at least one if not several library discard Golden Age of Sci Fi anthologies - phone book sized compilations bought my parents for me as a kid. That was in there. A Pail of Air. The Ugly Little Boy. I read those stories over and over again. It was decades til I saw TZ vers.

  • Plucked out of the past and transported forty thousand years into the future, a Neanderthal child discovers that human nature has remained unchanged, in an expanded version of an original Asimov story published in 1958. 60,000 first printing. $60,000 ad/promo.

    @EmilyFlake I had at least one if not several library discard Golden Age of Sci Fi anthologies - phone book sized compilations bought my parents for me as a kid. That was in there. A Pail of Air. The Ugly Little Boy. I read those stories over and over again. It was decades til I saw TZ vers.

  • On Friday, June 26, 9a Pacific, I'll be joining the QRCA UX SIG Book Club for discussion and Q&A about my book "Doorbells, Danger and Dead Batteries." Register here: https://t.co/gR4ff784X1

  • Everything we use, from social media, to our homes, to our highways, was designed by someone. But how did they decide on what was good for the rest of us? What did they get right and where have they let us down? And what can we learn from the way these experts think that can help us in how we make decisions in our own lives? In How Design Makes The World, bestselling author and designer Scott Berkun takes readers on a journey exploring how designers of all kinds, from software engineers, to urban planners, have succeeded and failed us. By examining daily experiences like going to work, shopping for food, or even just using social media on their phones, readers will learn to see the world in a new and powerful way. They'll ask better questions of the things they buy, use, and make, and discover how easy it is to use ideas from great designers to improve their everyday lives.

    Ripley has a lot of feelings about new book from @berkun “How Design Makes The World”. Hope I get it away from her to read it! #designmtw https://t.co/t0cGvICnO1

  • The Overstory

    Richard Powers

    The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of--and paean to--the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers's twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours--vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

    @wordstern Loved loved The Overstory. Have recommended many times.

  • Working

    Robert A. Caro

    "Short autobiography about author's processes of researching, interviewing, and writing his books"--

    @ChuckWendig Yesterday I finished Robert Caro's "Working" - a book of stories about uncovering and telling stories. I also finished the last episode of Banshee, an amazing, intense, puply, wonderful TV series.

  • Good Talk

    Mira Jacob

    "Snippets of dialogue between Jacob...and her family and friends form the basis of this breezy but poignant graphic memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump."--

    @espiers Good Talk

  • Twenty-year-old college undergraduate Lyra is once again thrown together with Malcom Polstead, now a professor, after Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, receive secrets from a dying man about a daemon-haunted city and the origins of Dust.

    @emchi @brownorama I just finished The Secret Commonwealth - have you read it?

  • Nobody's Fool

    Bill Griffith

    "The story of Schlitzie's long career--from Coney Island and the Ringling Bros. Circus to small town carnivals and big city sideshows--is one of legend. Today, Schlitzie is most well-known for his appearance in the cult classic Freaks (produced by MGM of all studios in 1932 and directed by Tod Browning, his first feature after the horror classic Dracula), in which all of the sideshow performers were real, not actors. The making of Freaks and Schlitzie's role in the film is a centerpiece of the book. Freaks was also the inspiration for Zippy the Pinhead, now in its 31st year of newspaper syndication via King Features, and led to Griffith's 50-year cartooning career. In researching Schlitzie's life (1901-1971), Griffith has tracked down primary sources and archives throughout the country, including conducting interviews with those who worked with him and had intimate knowledge of his personality, his likes and dislikes, how he responded to being a sideshow "freak," and much more. This graphic novel biography is not exploitative, but instead humanizes Schlitzie by providing never-before revealed details of his life, offering a unique look into his world and restoring some dignity to his life and recognizing his contributions to popular culture"--

    @Intentionaut @radicallyrach I found https://t.co/GaQK95Hg5c Nobody's Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead by Bill Griffith (a true story like many but not all I've listed) sad, funny, compelling /END

  • Fun Home

    Alison Bechdel

    A memoir done in the form of a graphic novel by a cult favorite comic artist offers a darkly funny family portrait that details her relationship with her father--a funeral home director, high school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.

    @Intentionaut @radicallyrach Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (yes, her) https://t.co/VX1QBpw0Lz Good Talk by Mira Jacob https://t.co/D2knDWMrdA

  • Good Talk

    Mira Jacob

    "Snippets of dialogue between Jacob...and her family and friends form the basis of this breezy but poignant graphic memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump."--

    @Intentionaut @radicallyrach Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (yes, her) https://t.co/VX1QBpw0Lz Good Talk by Mira Jacob https://t.co/D2knDWMrdA

  • My Friend Dahmer

    Derf Backderf

    Includes eBook exclusive bonus material! You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer, the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper, seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, ôJeffö was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche; a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.

    @Intentionaut @radicallyrach My Friend Dahmer was REALLY GOOD (and not what you might think from the title) https://t.co/L8u0IdBdET Clyde Fans is touching and confounding and beautiful https://t.co/T46fF4T1BC and also Seth's It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken https://t.co/SvBrVWZzD3

  • @Intentionaut @radicallyrach My Friend Dahmer was REALLY GOOD (and not what you might think from the title) https://t.co/L8u0IdBdET Clyde Fans is touching and confounding and beautiful https://t.co/T46fF4T1BC and also Seth's It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken https://t.co/SvBrVWZzD3

  • An Acknowledged Classic returns gorgeously re-designed. In his first graphic novel, It's a Good Life, if You Don't Weaken--a best-selling D & Q titles ever--Seth pays homage to the wit and sophistication of the old-fashioned magazine cartoon. While trying to understand his dissatisfaction with the present, Seth discovers the life and work of Kalo, a forgotten New Yorker cartoonist from the 1940s. But his obsession blinds him to the needs of his lover and the quiet desperation of his family. Wry self-reflection and moody colours characterize Seth's style in this tale about learning lessons from nostalgia. His playful and sophisticated experiment with memoir provoked a furious debate among cartoon historians and archivists about the existence of Kalo, and prompted a Details feature about Seth's "hoax".

    @Intentionaut @radicallyrach My Friend Dahmer was REALLY GOOD (and not what you might think from the title) https://t.co/L8u0IdBdET Clyde Fans is touching and confounding and beautiful https://t.co/T46fF4T1BC and also Seth's It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken https://t.co/SvBrVWZzD3

  • The Complete Maus

    Art Spiegelman

    A son struggles to come to terms with the horrific story of his parents and their experiences during the Holocaust and in postwar America, in an omnibus edition of Spiegelman's two-part, Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller. 25,000 first printing.

    @Intentionaut @radicallyrach +1 Maus (a staggering, genre defining work) +1 Persepolis (and also a good movie adaptation) Watchmen is hugely influential (and is not literally the same story as the recent series) I *loved* the sad, desperate, violent, and touching "Sweet Tooth" by Jeff Lemire (I love him)

  • Persepolis

    Marjane Satrapi

    The great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran in a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.

    @Intentionaut @radicallyrach +1 Maus (a staggering, genre defining work) +1 Persepolis (and also a good movie adaptation) Watchmen is hugely influential (and is not literally the same story as the recent series) I *loved* the sad, desperate, violent, and touching "Sweet Tooth" by Jeff Lemire (I love him)

  • @Intentionaut @radicallyrach +1 Maus (a staggering, genre defining work) +1 Persepolis (and also a good movie adaptation) Watchmen is hugely influential (and is not literally the same story as the recent series) I *loved* the sad, desperate, violent, and touching "Sweet Tooth" by Jeff Lemire (I love him)

  • It Chooses You

    Miranda July

    L.A. screenwriter, performance artist, and author, takes to the streets to meet the folks advertising their cheap wares in the local "PennySaver" classifieds shopper. Their stories are humorous, intriguing, and sometimes moving, and ultimately, surprisingly helpful in shaping the film she is trying to complete.

    @marazepeda I love Miranda July so much - she does so many different things. I just read It Chooses You from a few years ago and wow, it was so great, it hit up on so many things I'm inspired by/moved on - I had no idea about this so thank you for sharing it here - very interesting/awkward!

  • You Know You Want This

    Kristen Roupenian

    “What’s special about ‘Cat Person,’ and the rest of the stories in You Know You Want This, is the author’s expert control of language, character, story—her ability to write stories that feel told, and yet so unpretentious and accessible that we think they must be true.” —The New York Times Book Review “Kristen Roupenian isn’t just an uncannily great writer, she also knows things about the human psyche—things that I always supposed I would learn at some point, but never did. Some of these things are about men’s minds in particular and I’m pretty sure she’s right. The world has made a lot more sense since reading this book.” —Miranda July, New York Times bestselling author of The First Bad Man “If you think you know what this collection will be like, you’re wrong. These stories are sharp and perverse, dark and bizarre, unrelenting and utterly bananas. I love them so, so much.” —Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award Finalist and author of Her Body and Other Parties A compulsively readable collection of short stories that explore the complex—and often darkly funny—connections between gender, sex, and power across genres. You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker. Spanning a range of genres and topics—from the mundane to the murderous and supernatural—these are stories about sex and punishment, guilt and anger, the pleasure and terror of inflicting and experiencing pain. These stories fascinate and repel, revolt and arouse, scare and delight in equal measure. And, as a collection, they point a finger at you, daring you to feel uncomfortable—or worse, understood—as if to say, “You want this, right? You know you want this.”

    @MindaHarts Kristen Roupenian wrote the story "Cat Person" in The New Yorker that went viral; I'm reading her collection of short stories that includes that one "You Know You Want This" - it's GOOD, Cat Person is not even the best story in the book. I should finish it tonight.

  • The Overstory

    Richard Powers

    A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.

    @DaveHogue @wordstern +1 your mom - "The Overstory" is really impressive. If we're recommending other stuff then "Good Talk" by Mira Jacobs.

  • Good Talk

    Mira Jacob

    "Snippets of dialogue between Jacob...and her family and friends form the basis of this breezy but poignant graphic memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump."--

    @DaveHogue @wordstern +1 your mom - "The Overstory" is really impressive. If we're recommending other stuff then "Good Talk" by Mira Jacobs.

  • The Left Hand of Darkness

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    @lukereeves @amythibodeau Yes, and The Left Hand of Darkness is a classic.

  • For better or worse, every time I read "Proud Boys" I think of "Special Boys" from #PerpetualGraceLtd

  • Alan Partridge: Nomad

    Alan Partridge

    @round I finished "Alan Partridge - Nomad" last night!

  • "In the tradition of Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma, an extraordinary investigation into the human lives at the heart of the American grocery store What does it take to run the American supermarket? How do products get to shelves? Who sets the price? And who suffers the consequences of increased convenience end efficiency? In this alarming exposé, author Benjamin Lorr pulls back the curtain on this highly secretive industry. Combining deep sourcing, immersive reporting, and compulsively readable prose, Lorr leads a wild investigation in which we learn: The secrets of Trader Joe's success from Trader Joe himself Why truckers call their job "sharecropping on wheels" What it takes for a product to earn certification labels like "organic" and "fair trade" The struggles entrepreneurs face as they fight for shelf space, including essential tips, tricks, and traps for any new food business The truth behind the alarming slave trade in the shrimp industry The result is a page-turning portrait of an industry in flux, filled with the passion, ingenuity, and exploitation required to make this everyday miracle continue to function. The product of five years of research and hundreds of interviews across every level of the industry, The Secret Life of Groceries delivers powerful social commentary on the inherently American quest for more and the social costs therein"--

    @chochinov There’s an amazing section in the amazing new book “The Secret Life of Groceries” where the author embeds with a trucker - I definitely recalled the McPhee piece but this is of course different. Recommend the whole book but that part is germane here.