Welcome to my Book Shelf!
I adore books. To me the smell of fresh or old pages filled with writing is intoxicating, which is probably why I haven’t been able to sell out to the e-book culture. A book is both an exciting adventure and a pick-me-up, it lets me travel while I am sitting on my couch (or in this case my new window book seat!). Since I was little, I have dreamed of window seats. This was so extreme that sometimes I would perch on a very hard cupboard top near my bedroom window, and pretend it was a window seat. This usually worked for about an hour, till my butt hurt and I flopped on a couch or bed instead.
In the new place, one of the first things I noticed was the perfect corner with two big windows overlooking a woodsy area – and guess what I wanted to put there? Of course, a window seat! Finally, (after clearing the area off a lot of spiders) I have my very own, one woman window seat – maybe not the most comfortable, but definitely a step up from the top of a cupboard.
I would like to bring my love of books to my blog, and so once a week, I’ll write a post about the latest books I am reading, and whether they are worth a spot on my ever growing, and usually overflowing bookcase.
This week, I read/am reading a few good books that left me wanting more.
- Habitat – A Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess
- Provence and the Cote D’ Azur by Janelle McCulloch
- Cracking the PM interview by Gayle McDowell
Habitat – A Field Guide to Decorating
This is my favorite book of the week, or possibly of the month. My husband saw me leafing through it at the new Amazon book store (well he heard me say that I want to buy it when we grow up and buy a house), so he bought it for me as a Diwali present! I devoured it in two days, and am now dreaming of this new house that we will buy and decorate with love and authenticity.
Habitat is written as a Field Guide (and the author Lauren, will explain why very early on in the book). I love this style, and the authentic voice of the author. You can tell that she really loves her work, and that she believes and trusts every decision she makes. I learned so much from this book about decorating tips, how to avoid clutter by making good decisions while buying furniture, how to scour for antiques, and how decorating is always a work in progress. She also seems to love window seats, and I swooned over all the pretty ones in her book!
Throughout the book, I kept thinking about our furniture pieces, our personal style, and what makes a house a home for us. And Lauren saved the best part for last – she added a Filters Work Sheet, which will help create a design language for her readers. I started on this worksheet right after I finished the book, and I cannot wait to work on it some more this weekend!
I felt so sad that this book is over, but luckily Lauren Liess has an amazing blog, Pure Style Home where she details a lot of the home makeovers she’s undertaken, so catching up eight years of posts should keep me occupied for a while!
Provence and the Cote D’ Azur
I had been eyeing this book for a very long time. I first spotted it when I would spend hours at the Barnes and Nobel next to work, browsing wedding magazines that I couldn’t buy (I had a strict quota of one a month), and after our bosses gave the okay on taking vacation for the honeymoon, browsing through the travel section. Provence and the Cote D’ Azur were strong contenders for our honeymoon, but eventually Italy won because Andrew had lived there for a couple of years, and inspiring nostalgia always wins.
Anyway, the book. When I finally, finally bought it, I just kept it in my bookshelf for a couple of days. I think I was afraid to open it because it might not be real. I looked at it adoringly every morning before work, and after a few days decided that this must in fact really be on my bookshelf, so I opened it. To find page after page of gorgeous photos, and bright, colorful descriptions!
Janelle McCulloch divides the book into two parts – Provence and the Cote D’ Azur, which together make up the south of France. She devotes a few pages to each town (varying by size and activities in the town), and describes off-beat things to do in the town – which I love, because if I wanted to know the top tourist destinations, I would have bought a guide book, or consulted Trip Advisor instead. I also loved how each village gets it’s own tagline, such as Cannes – The Movie Star, or Avignon – The Arts Lover. It just brings the village/town alive for me!
The one tiny complaint I have is that the pictures don’t have captions on them, but she has a whole sections of captions at the very end, which is rather inconvenient. I wish she had found a way to caption the pictures right next to them so as not to disturb the flow of reading.
Overall, this was a lovely read – and I cannot wait till we can visit Provence. Hopefully I can time it during the lavender season!
Cracking the PM Interview
I have always been fascinated by product development and product management (in the technical field, of course), and so when my job took a sudden turn toward product development a couple of weeks ago, I was ecstatic. It was suddenly so easy to go to work! However, I had very scattered product development and management experience, and so I sought out some help from my old friends – books. Scouring online for the perfect book to buy to learn the basics of product management really fast, I realized that I could not go wrong with Gale McDowell’s Cracking the PM Interview. I, like most other engineers who work at the top tech companies, have read and benefitted from her Cracking the Coding Interview book, and so I thought that it would be good to give this book a shot, while also taking some courses on Lynda.com.
Cracking the Coding Interview did go into overview of programming basics, and had tons of practice problems, so I thought C. the PM Interview would be similar, but I miscalculated. This book is really geared toward the actual interview, explaining the various positions in different companies, and skirting over some of the main principles. It does go over some interesting problems and solutions, but I should have stuck to something that said 101 on Product Management. It’s definitely an interesting read, but would probably be more useful to me at some other time. For now, it will sit with my other technical books in our library/study/man cave (my husband secretly wants it to be one, but I don’t see how it could since it also houses my shoes and bags).