Atlas of Remote Islands — Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will, by Judith Schalansky

Atlas of Remote Islands — Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will, by Judith Schalansky Seriously one the best books I've bought all year.

A profile of Judith Schalansky ran in mad.co.uk in September 2010 that underscores this book's functional beauty.

'It's a book I always hoped for,' she says. 'A book that combines fact and fiction, design and literature. A book beyond illustration and genres - it's impossible to classify; is it literature, an illustrated book or non-fiction?'

The soft-spoken Schalansky gets quite animated when she talks about what she sees as the essential relationship between function and form. She laments the fact that design is so often an afterthought - the slave to content's master. 'Graphic design at its best is applied art - functional and beautiful. Design is about finding a language or a system that combines form and content, and indeed abolishes the ridiculous separation between the two,' she says. 'Sorry, this sounds a bit like a manifesto, but it's important. Design as beautification doesn't interest me. I find form that has to paper over inferior content abhorrent.'