More Reading

More books, mostly geeking out –

Rajeev Nagar’s Windows NT File System Internals. An O’Reilly book, probably out of print. This, and Dominique Giampaolo’s Practical File System Design with the Be File System are probably my favorites about file system internals.

Paul Graham’s On Lisp. Out of print, but available on Graham’s site, last I checked. This is readable, refreshing little book that combines an introduction to LISP with some aspects of practical and stylish Common Lisp. Good for us old farts who are used to SICP and Scheme.

Sedgewick’s Algorithms in C, part 5: Graph Algorithms. Sedgewick’s other books on algorithms were pretty lightweight and very nearly skimmable, but this is much toothier and a lot more fun. And he’s got an copy editor who understands how to lay out code (it’s sad how some houses will can take perfectly good book material and completely destroy the work with poor layout of code, like using a sans-serif font, or putting in random line breaks. Certain books on COM come to mind…).

Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver. I love all of his other books (except The Big U, which shouldn’t have been reprinted). Q is a real slog. Stephenson wants to be Thomas Pynchon, I think [it took me six tries to finish Gravity’s Rainbow, though it was worth it]. Three hundred pages, and while I’m sure it’s art and literary and stuff nothing has happened. The occasional stuffed-in apostrophe or tossed-off obscure cultural reference does not make an 18th century novel — Pynchon did better in Mason and Dixon. I don’t like historical fiction very much anyway (sad, because I’ve had to give up reading Guy Gavriel Kay, and Emma Bull). As an antidote I quickly re-read The Diamond Age. Phew. Better now.

Kage Baker’s The Anvil of the World. Think of a grown-up version of one of Robert Asprin’s badly punning Aahz novels. It’s funny. Some of the characters are green. It’s popcorn.

Comics: Carla Speed McNiel’s Finder or Sin Eater work. Fantastic. I haven’t read comics since I was 12 (with the exception of reading a roommate’s Black Knight stuff in the 80s, along with some Michael Kaluta). I’ve been told that Finder is a great series of graphic novels to start with. It’s certainly internally complex, with lots of references and little things going on that (bing!) only make sense later, at like 4am.

I looked at Heinlein’s posthumous For Us, the Living in the bookstore, but decided not to get it. Maybe the paperback. Probably the library. It’s not one of his stronger works, and I doubt I’d be able to finish it. The style reminded me of Beyond This Horizon, which is the only book by Heinlein I have never been able to finish.

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