What I've Been Reading

A (most likely) incomplete list of books I read in 2014, in no particular order:

  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith
  • One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead
  • A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young
  • Laura by Vera Caspary
  • Practical Ethnography by Sam Ladner
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • What's the Future of Business by Brian Solis
  • Remote by Jason Fried
  • The Pomegranate King by Nishta J. Mehra
  • Hooked by Nir Eyal
  • Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
  • Service Design by Andy Polaine
  • Communicating The New by Kim Erwin
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
  • Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter
  • Remote Research by Nate Bolt
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser
  • Designing for Interaction by Dan Saffer
  • Mental Models by Indi Young
  • Content Strategy for Mobile by Karen McGrane
  • A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

What I've been Reading

Books I read in 2012*, in no particular order:

Tender Buttons by Stein

Heroines by Zambreno

Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office by Frankel

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Northrup

Canal House Cooks Every Day by Hamilton & Hirsheimer

Let My People Go Surfing by Chouinard

Bossypants by Fey

The Road by McCarthy

The Tipping Point by Gladwell

Why Have Kids? by Valenti

Wanton West: Madams, Money, Murder, and the Wild Women of Montana's Frontier by Morgan

Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park by Shultz

My Man Jeeves by Wodehouse

No More Dirty Looks by O'Connor & Spunt

UX Books

Ethnography: Step-by-Step by Fetterman

Designing for the Digital Age by Goodwin

A Project Guide to UX Design by Unger & Chandler

Agile Experience Design: A Digital Designer's Guide to Agile, Lean, and Continuous by Ratcliffe & McNeill

Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook by Greenberg

Storytelling for User Experience by Quesenbery and Brooks

Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences by Anderson

Understanding Comics by McCloud

Design is a Job by Monteiro

The Elements of Content Strategy by Kissane

The Shape of Design by Chimero

Mobile First by Wroblewski

Cadence & Slang by Disabato

*Resolving to read more fiction in 2013

Library School

Two years ago, I sat unhappily in my office at a Chicago nonprofit and wondered what was next. I had spent the better part of my working life committed to social service endeavors, but the last few years had really put my idealism to the test. I decided to apply to the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library & Information Science and I'm happy to report that this was an excellent decision. Here are some highlights (I'm sure I will be adding to this list):

-I was lucky to receive one of a fleeting number of Graduate Assistantships where I worked with Professors Jim Evans and Joyce Wright to manage an extensive agricultural communication archive in exchange for reduced tuition.

-I had the opportunity to work as a reference librarian in a University of Illinois Library where I learned the valuable lesson that traditional reference work is not for me.

-I met dozens of fascinating people and new friends.

-I took 15 classes over four semesters with a number of excellent instructors. (Straight A's - too!)

Information Organization & AccessReference & Information ServicesAdministration & Use of Archival MaterialsRare Book & Special Collection LibrarianshipFoundations of Information Processing (Python Programming)Introduction to DatabasesE-GovernmentLibraries, Information & SocietyPracticum - Sears Taxonomy & User ExperienceGeographic Information SystemsApplied Business Research (Knowledge Management & Competitive Intelligence)Independent Study - User Experience RAW Photography (Art & Design Department)Interfaces to Information SystemsMetadata in Theory & Practice

-I spent my winter break last year working for the American Library Association where I had the opportunity to manage content strategy projects for two divisions.

-I attended the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA where I learned a lot and had an amazing time hanging out with Julia, Ron, Will & Jeanne.

-I ran the spring Illinois Marathon and beat my previous PR by over 13 minutes.

-I had the opportunity to spend the spring working with the Sears Taxonomy & User Experience department as a practicum student where I learned a ton and got to know the awesome  Jenny B. better.

-I spent the summer drinking beers in the sunshine and discussing user experience research with Melinda and our great advisor Jenny E.

-I helped found the first Champaign-Urbana UX Book Club with Melinda, Meghan & Dan. I learned a lot from all of the members and it pushed me to read some great material.

-I got to take my first art class since middle school. (Thanks for taking a chance on me, Professor Scott!)

-I lived in a beautiful house with two great roommates and friends, Meghan and Maria.

-I started bike commuting for the first time since I lived in Portland.

-I enjoyed some incredible summer bike rides with library friends, thanks to the Bikes & Beers club Andrew founded.

-I made sure to visit Mirabelle Bakery and the Urbana Farmers Market frequently.

-Had an amazing time in Ann Arbor meeting the marvelous Beers and working in the incredible Janice B. Longone Culinary Archive over my spring break.

-Ran the Kentucky Bourbon Chase relay with Nick and nearly a dozen new, awesome friends.

Hooray! I'm officially a librarian!

(And I have a job - more on that soon!)

Fall 2011

After a calming two weeks of backpacking in my favorite place in the U.S., I am back in Champaign-Urbana for my last semester of graduate school. I will be continuing my work as a Graduate Assistant in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, an agricultural special collection located in the University of Illinois ACES Library. This is shaping up to be the most exciting of my four semesters. My courses include:

Fall 2011 -Metadata in Theory & Practice -Electronic Publishing: Technologies & Practices (XML) -Interfaces to Information Systems -RAW Photography (yes, an undergrad art class!)

Courses I have completed at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science:

Summer 2011 -Geographic Information Systems -Applied Business Research: Competitive Intelligence & Knowledge Management -Independent Study: Information Architecture, User Experience & Taxonomies

Spring 2011 -Foundations of Information Processing in Lib & Info Science (Python programming) -Introduction to Database Design -E-Government -Libraries, Information and Society -Practicum: Sears Holdings Corporation Taxonomy and User Experience Intern

Fall 2010 -Information Organization and Access -Reference and Information Services -Administration and Use of Archival Materials -Rare Books and Special Collections Librarianship

A Year in Photographs

January: Ukrainian candy store near my old office in Chicago.

Last year I joined many other photographers in an annual challenge to take 365 photographs, one each day of the year. I lasted until September when a combination of moving and starting gradute school got the better of me. Even though I didn't reach the goal I set out for myself, I did learn a lot through the sheer volume of the project, and I think my photography has improved ever so slightly. Here is one photograph from each month in 2010.

February 14, 2010

February: Valentine's Day.

March 27, 2010

March: In San Francisco's Delores Park with old friends.

April 4, 2010

April: My mother's peach bellini on Easter.

May, 25, 2010

May: The old theater in Logan Square.

June 6, 2010

June: Caprese salad.


July: Summer vacation at the boathouse in Waupaca.

Bowman Lake

August: Hiking in Glacier National Park with my father.


September: My new apartment in Champaign.

Farmers Market Squash

October: Market squash prepared for roasting.

Barges on the Illinois River

November: Barges on the Illinois River near Starved Rock.

Christmas Gifts

December: Nick opening gifts on Christmas morning.