1. Katrina Lit
The books, articles, essays, and rants that spilled forth after the storm were the most important literary works of the year for me. They helped to forge my anger, sharpen my arguments and prepare for the next phase of this battle. They also provided much needed therapy and kept me sane at times when I thought I might lose it all and reminded of why I love this city so much. There were also a few older books about New Orleans in there that helped in the same way.
Alan AtKisson’s essay Dreaming of a New New Orleans
The Times Picayune, specifically Chris Rose, New Orleans’ new literary hero
Why New Orleans Matters – Tom Piazza
Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children and Other Streets of New Orleans – John Churchill Chase
The French Quarter – Herbert Asbury
The Lords of Misrule; Mardi Gras and Race in New Orleans – Dan Gill
2. Massive Change – Bruce Mau
This collection of essays heroically illustrates how design can save the world. This book was also quite therapeutic for me when I was at my worst this year. It reminded me of all the brilliant advances being made in the world to diminish suffering.
3. Counting Heads – David Marusek
The most important and entertaining SF novel of the year. Counting Heads’ universe has some of the most exciting ideas about the future that I’ve read since Neuromancer.
4. Themepunks – Cory Doctorow
A witty and entertaining ten part novella about DIY micro-fabrication that Cory published on Salon.com
5. Archaeologies of the Future – Fredric Jameson
This would have placed higher if I had finished more than half of it at the time of writing this list. Jameson examines utopian visions in SF and finds deep cultural relevance within the pages of Dick, LeGuin, Gibson, Sterling and Delany.
6. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
The best Potter novel yet! I read this in a whirlwind two day afterwork bender that ended in tears. I cannot wait for the next one.
7. Web Standards Solutions – Dan Cederholm
A great selection of CSS/XHTML tricks and hacks. This book also does a good job of explaining why standards are so important.
8. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana – Umberto Eco
Cultural detritus as memory
9. The Zen of CSS Design – Dave Shea
Documents and mines the best pages in the CSS Zen Garden. I learned a great deal about table-free CSS/XHTML layout from this book.
10. Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire
A pretty good follow-up to Wicked, although I was hoping to learn more about the dark characters in the background of that book.