Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Best Nerd Books Money Can Buy

Hey, Things To Do In LA readers! I've compiled a list of the "Best Nerd Books  Money Can Buy".

They cover a wide range of topics, but mostly they exist as the coolest things you can leave out to make your friends jealous. Because that's the real point of owning books anymore, jealousy. Not simply jealousy in terms of possession, but in knowledge that others don't have. Like being a elite of yesteryear, looking at the poor ignorant masses, there's nothing more than a nerd wants to do than show they know more than other nerds.
Theses books are something more, you can get lost in them, you can lost in the ideas in them. You can get lost in the worlds in them. That's what a book is really for broadening your mind, filling it with new ideas. There's still something on holding a real book, even a comic book in your hands. I'm sure tablets and computers will eventually take there place, but not for a while. I'd still like to own books made of paper.( Think if trees were intelligent and knew what were doing to them, they'd think were pretty sick)

by Daniel Wallace

Listen, my young Padawan,
At the top of the list, probably the great Star Wars book out there. It comes in a case that opens up, electronically! Push the button, and hear sound effects as your book case unlocks to show The Jedi Path. This is for the fan of fans of Star Wars. The case itself is stunning, but than the book just shines coming up. Little blue LEDs let it shine in it's case base. It's like opening something in a scifi-movie every time you open it. You don't have fear a face-hugger coming out because that's a different universe (wait it happened a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away... my God could the Aliens killed of the Star Wars Universe? Just a thought)
The book within is worthy of praise for it's insane back-story. It's not only a manual for being a Jedi, it's be owned by Jedi's and Sith. Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda ,Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Sidious, Dooku, Thame Cerulian and even Askoka Tano, they all owned the book. The book contains little scribbles by each one of them. Plus, there are memento's hidden throughout the book,  Qui-Gon Jinn's Padawan braid is one of these little gifts you"ll stumble upon. I don't want to ruin anymore, so look forward to mementos popping up.
With not even talking about what's written inside. You can tell the books been through the Clone War , by the torn pages. The book actually has battle-damage! I've only hear of Hollywood props like that. Some pages are even ripped out by Darth Sidious.

Now to get to the guts of this like Han Solo got to the guts of that Tantan. This book is like reading a real text book about becoming a Jedi. It's like a real book you take to school. The layout, the gaudy pictures, if human died off and aliens found this book, they'd think Jedi existed on earth. The protective case would probably sell them on it, too.

Talking about aliens how about a field guide to them  Which ones are friendly, use the force, or are just evil. Not only aliens, but how to make a light saber and different techniques. The history of the Jedi. All the abilities and how to wield them. This wasn't slapped together, this was made to impress a Star Wars fan. It made me want to watch the movies again.

You"ll be the envy of your friends and they"ll want to keep pushing the protective case release button. It's yours so you decide who can push your button.

The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force [Vault Edition] $64.97 on Amazon (retail $99.99)

by Kevin David Anderson & Sam Stall

What nerd list or guide could have Star Wars and not Star Trek? Add zombies and it's probably the best ever. The fanboys and trekkies, not trekkers are not in the clear in this gore-fest of Klingon guts and Spock ears.

I think the trailer below speaks for the book itself.

The book lays down the Star Trek nerd in all his sci-fi loving glory for who he is. I don't want to discuss much of the plot because I think the idea alone should sell you. It's like a movie you always wanted to see unfolding  for your sick pleasure. Great plot and the story stands up throughout the entire book.

I'd probably die just from the references which are everywhere, even the main character is called Jim Pike, really his last name is Pike. If you don't get the Star Trek reference pick up the Geektionary below.You"ll probably finish it in a week then want to read it again and hope Hollywood becomes even more starved for movie ideas. Cliff-hangers and gore will make you want to finish this superb take on zombies and Star Trek fan culture.

(Star Trek Universe way of dealing with zombies would be to transport them into the sun, just my guess)
Night of the Living Trekkies $10.17 on Amazon

I Love Geeks: The Official Handbook
by Carrie Tucker

If your a nerdy girl looking for love with that other special nerd, pick this up. Nerd girls you've got to make the first move.

I Love Geeks separates the different type of nerd boys and it's also a great way to do a introspective on yourself. It matches the following Geektionary so closely I suggest you pick it up as a companion book. Talking about companions this book is around to land you one.

The book separates the type of nerds out there for easy finding of your potential love nerd. Gamer, sci-fi &; fantasy, comic, Otaku, sports, film &; television nerd all have their own sections for easy field guide use. Each referenced nerd has a diagram that's so accurate it made me laugh out loud more than once.

Subjects for each sub-genre are defined, such as words you should know and what to prepare yourself for. The book was written by a women to tell other women about nerds. Facts, and trivia fill up the book, but it maintains itself as if your talking with a friend over coffee.

Ms. Tucker also brings up something girls could get into in the same genre of their potential man. This is also a nice way for guys to find out how to bring a girl into their likes and social enviorment.

I Love Geeks: The Official Handbook $7.24 on Amazon

Geektionary: From Anime to Zettabyte, An A to Z Guide to All Things Geek
by Gregory Bergman and Josh Lambert

Akin to The Otaku Encyclopedia by Patrick W. Galbraith  this books explains every facet of geekdom and nerd talk.  While reading you can tell the authors had fun writing it out. What sets it apart is that it split up the different levels of geek just like the previous book in the guide, I Love Geeks. Geektionary's different chapters focus on plain geek speak, sc-fi & fantasy, comics, otaku, computers, sports, gaming, and movies in that order. That's a easy way to find out something without having to look through the entire thing.

Just fun to read through and see what some of your friends are talking about or if you've read about something online and didn't understand. Going through it you'll see they've defined most of what you do and who you are. Filling the book are little tidbits on info called Geek Facts and short Geek Quizzes to test you for the Hell of it.

 Definitions are easy to understand, but I think authors had a little bit to much fun for the definition sentences they wrote underneath. Reference heavy (the best for a nerd), I flipped to a page and got Triceratons ( a race resembling Triceratops from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Universe). What other book would have that?

Here's some of my  favorite definitions, that I need to explain to my friends

crap rare (noun)
A game card in Magic: The Gathering that is rare and worth a lot of gaming money but is useless or not at all helpful in a particular game.

Alan Smithee (proper noun)
A pseudonym used by film directors when they want to disown and take their name of the project. First used in 1969, it has been used dozens of time since.

moe (noun)
A Japanese term for someone who has a interest or even a attraction to a manga or anime character or type of character. Can also refer to a young female anime/manga character.

Ash (proper noun)
Main character and demon ass-kicker of the Evil Dead series, played by Bruce "the Chin" Campbell. His catchphrases include " Who wants some?" and "Hail, to the king, baby."

Geektionary: From Anime to Zettabyte, An A to Z Guide to All Things Geek $8.03 on Amazon

The Big Black Book of Very Dirty Words 
by Alexis Munier

Children get away from the screen, slightly older children get closer. Reference books are filling the middle of the list for good reason, there fun to go through. This one might be my favorite for the reference just because it's so dirty.

Anyone reading this is a guy with a pie, hessian, klismaphiliac whose a puller and goes to lemon parties. No idea what I called you? Get the book. I didn't mean what I wrote about you , I'm just going through some stuff, sorry.

The Big Black Book will be hours of fun with you and your friends. Drinking games that could be thought up with it make it pay for itself in no time. You"ll want to show your friends or even call them some of the things in the book, just to see if they know. Be a clever dick, n. obnoxious know it all. Once again it's reference and knowing something someone doesn't know will always be the main substance of a nerd.

I didn't know what gokkun was (gokkun, n.- porn in which a person drinks semen) , but I'll be sure to ask my friend if he's doing it later. Then I'll tell my friend Sandra to eat my zab (zab, n.-penis) and explore the map of Tasmania (explore the map of Tasmania, v. -to copulate). Fun times await you reading the many, many things you shouldn't say to others.

I know it's just a dictionary, but I enjoy a thesaurus of dirty words the explains the origin of dirty words, which the big black book doesn't have. Fuck is fairly entertaining. Fuck's origin isn't French as so many people say, "Excuse, my French", but is from the Dutch. It has been shortened and meant the copulation of farm animals. Farmers had to give farm animals time to copulate, so they came up with the phrase froken-ze cattle.

What The Big Black Book does have is page after page of things to say if your pissed or someone or have been recently in a car accident. Sorted through the book are tidbits of info on the words and quotes using them. Just get it if you want to talk dirty, maybe I should have put this up for Valentine's Day.

The Big Black Book of Very Dirty Words $11.53 on Amazon

Functional Aesthetics: Visions in Fashionable Technology by Sabine Seymour

QR Code embossed on the cover tells you right away Functional Aesthetics is about modern trends. The modern trends are in fashion, exploring new technology, artistic ideas that are theoretical,  and some simple ideas you wish you came up with and also had the  resources of a  graduate student

Theoretical fashion now that's a new field to put into Wired's slang section. Getting lost in the ideas about fashion in this book is a pleasure for anyone. For myself I got lost in ideas of making sci-fi movies based on some of the strange outfits, also the applications of a heated jacket for a trip into cold weather.

Turning a page one-by-one you slowly fall into a dream state of wonder. Kind of like playing Little Big Planet for the first time, you see worlds open up to you. Worlds of clothing, ideas unbound and stuff that people might be wearing very shortly. Some of the stuff is far out there, but it doesn't mean it can't inspire.

Some of my favorite pieces were:

Plastic Analogue from Amy Thompson pg.26-29

A plastic covering that looks like armor. Girls dressing like mechs with a simple plastic coating. The material looks very pliable and at worst could be put together in a snap.

BioCouture from Suzanne Lee pg. 96-99

Growing clothing from bacteria. Yeah, clothes grown from bacterial- cellulose, with a goal in mind to make form fitting clothes because the can be grown over a frame for a perfect fit. If a girl feels up your jacket in between her finger and says " What material is this, leather?" , you can say " No, it's Green Tea Bacterial Cellulose."

I wonder if they can use other bacteria and if you get interesting patterns and designs based on the one you use. On a darker idea with no basis, what if some of the bacteria mutated and you'd have a clothing virus? Don't touch my pants, you"ll make them sick!

Fibertronic from HEATwear pg. 188-189

A jacket with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that keeps you warm in the cold, need I say more.

Galaxy Dress from CuteCicuit pg.112

A dress comprised of 24,000 LED's. You could light the party yourself in this stunning constantly changing dress. It makes you think of the other clothes in the future, that might be like screen savers or just changing pictures as LED's get smaller.

These are but a few of thought provoking ideas in fashion. Theses ideas can lead to learning about different sciences and technology, diy, and once again knowing something another person doesn't.

I like that every article of clothing has a QR code and website written at the end of their info. A easy way to follow up or learn more about what your reading. The readers was well thought of in this regard. There even keywords listed at the bottom of the article. Not to mention, the easy to access layout that's like glossing over a Ipad.
This is my second favorite book on the list for how easy it is to pick up and get lost in.

Functional Aesthetics: Visions in Fashionable Technology $43.76 on Amazon

Box Bottle Bag: The World's Best Package Designs from by Andrew Gibbs

From function into design, a nerd has to understand why something looks cool. Simply put it most be designed well for a nerd to get it.. Why else do you purchase a Imac over a PC. Andrew Gibbs of has put together a book of some of his favorite pieces that show off true love of design.

Comprised of photos that beautifully capture design in modern products, this book is what you leave out on your coffee table.

The company, design firm, designer, art director,  font are all layed out so you know exactly who did what. Small quotes and explanations leave you with inspirational ideas for your own work. The packaging design is just another way to lose yourself in ideas and think. You can relax here just in the simple of awe and think to yourself, "I'd buy that."

I think the book is best seen then described, that's really why it exist to show off and if you haven't gotten that theme yet, and your not paying attention.

Box Bottle Bag: The World's Best Package Designs from $22.86 on Amazon

The Geometry of Pasta
by Caz Hildebrand &Jacob Kenedy

Like Italy from the  anime Hetalia I have to say "PASTA!" or really The Geometry of Pasta is a excellent nerd cookbook just from the title alone. There's so much more to this culinary guide and it's flavor is in it's design. The art for this book is simply stunning. Caz Hildebrand's art puts the pasta right in front of you. It seems like you got a letter from the pasta council of some event, if said pasta council did exist. If they did exist they''d ask Caz to do there letterhead and fonts.  All pasta are rendered to their basic forms throughout the book. It's like looking into a art book while making a dish.

The recipes are easy to follow and for the nerd whose busy, pasta is something to easy to make to pass up. The layout is just simply perfect with ingredients art covering the page. Nice add ons are the dimensions of the pasta, synonyms for the pasta, whats good to eat with it and similar forms of pasta.

I wish the duo could do a Pokemon guide. It's probably sell out, quite fast.

The Geometry of Pasta $13.63 on Amazon

by Geoff Manaugh

Sadly, the cover changed to something far too busy from this simple minimalistic original idea. So when you see it online or in a store (if book stores exist still) understand it's the same book and there isn't a different edition you can get.

Architecture unbound in this tomb by Geoff Manaugh, once the editor of Dwell Magazine and owner of the same named site BLDGBLOG. I had the pleasure of briefly talking with Geoff at Postopolis! LA(which he was a major figure in creating) a few years ago. He's a clever man, whose taken his blog into a easy to read delight.

Where to get started, how about theoretical sound farming technology (no sunlight, but speakers playing music to vegetables ti get  or how them to grow) and weather being controlled by major cities. There's a entire section on underground cities and the people who wander into them. What future cities will be like and whats happening to them now. Urban exploits and there's just to many to go through here,  you can even sample them at Geoff's site. See what the future of the world might look like.

The book contains interviews, striking images, and well thought out explanations for theoretical architecture and the real architecture of today. Separated into a few chapters with many broad a different aspects about urban culture, the underground, the sky, sound, the future, and other stuff you should read makes the book heavy filled with so much that it should spring a leak and knowledge should come shooting out. Once again, the book feels your head with new ideas and wonder. It"ll make you think, "Wow, that's cool".

The BLDGBLOG Book $19.77 on Amazon

That's the end of this guide, future guides will be on Otaku books and Zombie gear.