Books and more

I have been spending a couple of days reading through Masterminds of Programming: Conversations with the Creators of Major Programming Languages . The books which are somewhat related would be Handbook of Programming Language and, Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think (Theory in Practice) . And, among all of these books, I’d still prefer the HoPL (a review from Usenix is here). One of the reasons is that the book ie MoP, uses an interview structure to lay out the ‘conversation’. Even in a free-flowing interview, there is some form and framework which constricts the responses and, does not allow a sense of the ‘meta’ to be read. Having said that, there are interesting insights from the chapters on ML, Lua and Postscript. MoP is an interesting book to have, but for casual reading and, only if you are interested in poking about the idiosyncracies of programming languages with the aim of trying to figure how the blocks fit together. However, I’d still say that try to get a copy of the 4 volume set of HoPL. That is worth a space on the shelf.

I have long had the habit of averaging around 4 books a week (there have been highs of 6 books per week too). That is, reading through 4 books (mostly of different categories/genres and types) through the week. This means, that my bookshelf is a mess. And, it also means that booksellers of all kinds are very happy with me (I have a large store of dead-tree versions and, a nice long order sheet at the online stores). Around 6 months back, I figured that with rising prices of ‘books’ and, shrinking space on my shelves it is best to take a couple of steps:

  • bring down the average number of books read per week from 4 to 1
  • start utilizing my online bookshelves more, especially for the technical books I read
  • start exploring the possibility of using netbook/mobile devices with ebook readers to get reading material

So, looking back, I see that I am currently averaging around 2 books a week. Which I like. Because, it gives me ample scope to make extensive notes about the books and their topics and provide me with thought points. On the online bookshelves part there hasn’t been much success so far other than managing to clean out most of the pending books on the Safari subscription. It is on the last that I am still pondering and, probably it would be sometime before I manage to get hold of a nice mobile device coupled with a ebook reader that allows me to read books. I just don’t intend to invest in a ebook reader hardware/software combination right now. So, no I am not looking at Kindle like devices at all. I guess my selection of Bengali literature would have seen an upswing if the ‘traditional’ Bengali publishers allowed their books to be listed on online stores.

ps: I am open to reviewing books since they allow me to indulge in my favorite luxury while getting a chance to read new stuff. So, if you know someone who’d appreciate a good reviewer, I’d be interested to get in touch.