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This used to be semi-regular but I’ve not asked the question in two years (…). What are you reading?

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      Just finished “Designing Data-Intensive Applications”, was very interesting and easy to read. I’m still in the process of deciding the next one.

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        I rate Designing Data-Intensive Applications very highly indeed. Might put it on the list for a re-read!

        A friend also recommended Seven Databases in Seven Weeks but I’ve not got around to it yet.

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          I will take a look, from the description it takes a very practical approach which could be a challenge, because the book was released in 2012.

      2. 4

        Ooo “Designing Data-Intensive Applications” is so good! I read it last year, and should probably review my notes 😅

      3. 4

        Nice, I am currently reading that book too.

        As a suggestion, Seven concurrency model in seven week is also a rather nice read, and would complement nicely what you are reading now.

        1. 2

          Thanks for the suggestion, I will look into it.

      4. 3

        Truly an an amazing book.

        Another O’Reilly with similar ideas is “Fundamentals of data engineering”. Also worth a read

      5. 2

        Did you read this book cover to cover? It’s so hard for me to stay focused on such a long book, but every time I pick a chapter, I learn something new

    2. 12

      Very slowly working through “Types and Programming Languages”. Wish I had read this long ago, so many PL twitter threads and papers would have made so much more sense.

      For fun, on (audio)book 13/14 of Wheel of Time. What it lacks in quality it makes up for in volume! The objectifying descriptions of women tamed down some once the new author took over.

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        Speaking of which, if anybody knows of / would be interested in forming some sort of book club or reading group around “Types and Programming Languages” or the like, let me know! I think mostly it’s grad students who read this book and as an industry practitioner I’m really missing kind of the social aspect of it.

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          I wouldn’t mind being a part of it if there are a few others.

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          Sign me up, I’d love to work through it with some folks!

          1. 2

            Im in!

        3. 2

          I’m interested in this!

        4. 2

          I’d also be interested, had it on my shelf forever, but only picked around specific bits of it here and there… would love to have a motivation to go through the whole thing.

    3. 10

      I’m re-reading a classic of 80s Swedish literature, Gentlemen by Klas Östergren. I seldom read in Swedish because I mostly like SF and there’s not that much Swedish SF. I regularly feel I’m not really connecting with my native tongue other than through work and conversation or via “journeyman” language like daily journalism. Östergren is a good author and the story (a sort of picaresque with Paul Auster-like influences) is entertaining.

      1. 3

        Love that book. Probably his best one.

    4. 9

      Poking at Code 2nd edition.

      1. 2

        Came here to say that I’m excited to re-read this. My list of books is more of a backlog but this will jump to the top.

      2. 2

        I recommended the first edition highly. Didn’t know a 2nd edition came out, interested to see what has been added.

    5. 8

      I may not actually finish any of these, as is always true for me, but I’m partway through each of:

      • Governing the Commons, by Elinor Ostrom: a book about how groups deal successfully with the “tragedy of the commons” problem and related issues.
      • Complex PTSD; from Surviving to Thriving, by Pete Walker: I enjoy reading opinionated accounts of psychology, and this one is very opinionated.
      • Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon: I tried reading this in high school and got bored; I’ve recently found that many things I thought were boring when I was younger have somehow become fascinating, so I have high hopes.
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        If you have trouble reading GR, I do recommend the audiobook. I read it once and fell for it, but listening to it gives you more of the rhythm of the story in spite of the jargon, foreign words, etc. Watching or reading about the V2 project doesn’t hurt either. If you can’t get into it, Bleeding Edge is also good and a frighteningly accurate portrayal of the silicon alley era in nyc. Unfortunately the audiobook of that one is monotone and bad (at least the version out a year or two ago)

      2. 3

        Finished reading Gravity’s Rainbow a month or so ago - as you very well know, it’s a trip.

        But a rewarding one, I think, at the end.

        Good luck!

      3. 1

        Governing the Commons

        Complex PTSD

        I haven’t read either, but have you heard of the book Prosocial & https://prosocial.world ? It sorta combines ostrom principles with acceptance-and-commitment therapy. One of the communities I’m involved in ( https://earthregenerators.org ) is fairly influenced & associated with it.

      4. 1

        Governing the Commons is fantastic - just a model for how to write well, with vivid stores of such commons-management systems (timber near a Swiss village, irrigation networks in Indonesia, etc). A must read for anyone with a passing interest in economics. Politically, it’s super important because it busts the inevitability of private property, especially in this new world where we are more aware of sustainability issues.

    6. 6

      I’m currently starting book three of The Expanse. I’m also rewatching the TV series which I have never done.

      Ty Franck, co-author of the books, sceenwriter and producer for the show, and Wes Chatham, the actor playing Amos Burton from the show and general movie nerd, started a podcast where they comment on each of the episodes: Ty and That Guy. They also talk about movies, tv-series, tropes, general production and actor stuff.

      It’s a bit interesting as you get to hear and learn all the sides of the adaptaion process from the screenwriting to the acting parts of it all. While getting some insight into the show and the books which you normally wouldn’t catch.

    7. 5

      I just read through Programming In Modula-2, as a little bit of a retrocomputing language exploration kick. It’s interesting ’cause Pascal, by the written standard, is very much an educational language full of loosey-goosey parts not really intended for complex or portable systems. On the other hand, M2 is a very pragmatic setup that is obviously designed to make systems software. Pondering whether or not to tackle Oberon next.

      I wonder what history would have been like if Turbo Pascal had been Turbo M2 instead? But Modula-2 also has a bunch of safety constraints that aren’t super common in languages even now: null pointer checks, overflow checks, high-level pointers are pretty inflexible by default, etc. The book has a few style admonitions I would not have considered, like replacing foo[1].x := thing; foo[1].y := thing with with foo[1] do x := thing; y := thing end so you don’t have to evaluate foo[1] twice. Life must have been rough when you couldn’t count on the simplest of compiler optimizations, and Modula-2 is significantly more persnickety than Pascal (or C), so making it go fast is probably quite a bit harder. Too advanced for 1980, too primitive for 2000.

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        I wonder what history would have been like if Turbo Pascal had been Turbo M2 instead?

        Borland (briefly) sold Turbo Modula-2 for CP/M and developed a version for MS-DOS but it was sold off and became Topspeed Modula-2 (http://www.edm2.com/index.php/TopSpeed_Modula-2).

      2. 2

        You might also be interested in Mesa, a Wirth-designed language that was used internally at Xerox PARC. I believe for a while most of their system software was written in it, including the Smalltalk-80 VM, an OS called Tajo, and the software of the Xerox Star (the first commercial GUI computer.)

        I did a fair amount of coding in Mesa when I was a summer intern at Xerox in the mid-80s. I don’t remember the details, except that it elegantly unified structs and function parameters, and that all language keywords had to be written in ALL CAPS which made it annoying to type; one of the few times that the Caps Lock key came in handy!

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          Thanks! I’ll check it out.

    8. 5

      I’m reading the essays in a critical edition of Hamlet (ISBN-13: 978-0393956634). There’s a centuries-long critical dialogue about the play, and it’s wonderful to read different angles on the same work.

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        I don’t think that has Eliot’s critical essay, which is a doozy if you haven’t discovered it yet.

        “Though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me,” indeed good sir!

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          It does actually! I just read it at your suggestion (though it was referenced in a later essay and I had to piece together the main argument).

          For readers at home, a brief summary of this essay. Elliot says that Hamlet is a failure because Shakespeare couldn’t express the extraordinary turmoil that Hamlet feels, against a negatively-characterized but not monstrous Gertrude (his mother). He says emotions should flow “inevitably” from the details given in the story. But Hamlet’s stasis and melancholy doesn’t seem to do that.

          This interpretation assigns a certain rule-book and judges the play against it. That’s fine, of course. But I think the reason the play is so “interesting” is because of the looseness, the variability, the extended interior drama (against a revenge plot) - and that’s why it’s seen as a “modern” play. So it may be so that the play isn’t “successful” as if it was an arrow that doesn’t hit the target, but it seems to be playing a different game entirely.

          Some of the other essays are more sympathetic to Hamlet, this extraordinarily sensitive being, destined to be a good king, but cast into scenes where his virtues turn him to an inner-babbling statue.

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            That’s about the long and short of it!

            Well, off to review Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead once again, sifting for ues.

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              I’ll have to read Hamlet and then Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It’s been rewarding diving deep into texts and films.

      2. 1

        What do you think of the psychoanalytic interpretations?

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          I haven’t read any that say they’re exactly in this genre yet - but several build on them I think.

          Jacqueline Rose’s article “Sexuality in the Reading of Shakespeare” is a psychosexual interpretation. She says the critics have blamed the character of Gertrude for the deficiencies of the play as a whole (as judged by a few criteria Elliot supposed). The lack of Oedipal resolution mirrors the lack of proper reasons/details for Hamlet’s stasis - so the sexual relationship of the characters mirrors the aesthetic failure of the play. That’s a creative link mirroring the writer found.

    9. 5

      Partway through the Slow Horses series of books, after really enjoying the TV show and someone recommended the books regardless. The show is very true to the books I think, worth consuming both.

    10. 5

      I’ve been learning more about food recently and humans’ interaction with it. The most recent book being Food Politics by Marion Nestle (no, not that Nestle). The central thesis is that diet is a political issue, thus our relationship with food is tainted by the involvement of agribusinesses. It’s pretty US-centric, but since food systems are largely a global affair, it touches on the involvement of companies like Nestle (yes, that Nestle) in things like the predatory marketing tactics of food products (read: infant formula) across the globe.

      Makes me feel full of… rage? If anyone else knows any other food books like that, I am looking for recommendations.

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        Have you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma?

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          I have, but in sections it reads more like an op-ed piece. Still a good book and decent dietary advice, just have skim over the parts when he talks about Yeoman farmers and Jeffersonian ideals.

          Would love to talk more in private DMs

    11. 5

      Audiobook - Terry Pratchett’s men at arms.

      Its great.

    12. 4

      I’ll be reading through Programming Languages: History and Fundamentals (submitted to lobsters yesterday), a late 1960s overview describing over a hundred languages. Spent the previous week digitizing it so I’ve skimmed the whole thing, likely to focus on the String and List Processing chapter.

    13. 4

      I’ve been blowing through “The Chronicles of St. Mary’s” by Jodi Taylor. Just finished book 11 of 13 (to date). Fun, funny, British historical and time traveling drama.

    14. 4
      • The Cross and the Lynching Tree - James Cone
      • The Reasoned Schemer (2nd ed.) - Daniel P. Friedman
      • House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski (I’m almost done this time. I promise!)
      • Guide to Competitive Programming - Antti Laaksonen (slowly working through, found through recommendation here on lobste.rs)
      1. 1

        How are you finding House of Leaves? I’ve heard positive noises but never quite took the plunge.

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          I like it a lot, but I’ve found people either love it or hate it with a passion. It is quite a challenging book. The deeply nested frame narrative can be daunting, but untangling what’s going on is fun. The extensive use of experimental typography is really cool. I never have seen anything else like it.

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            Thanks! That’s sort of what I was hoping to hear, it’s moving back up my list.

    15. 4

      Data Refinement: Model-Oriented Proof Methods and their Comparison.

      It’s about how to prove that one program “implements” another, which roughly means that you could use one in place of the other and be satisfied.

      I’ve become very interested in model-based testing, which deals with a similar problem, so I wanted to brush up on the underlying theory.

    16. 4

      Finishing up Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, planning to follow up with The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee which is a sort of spiritual sequel, or perhaps rebuttal of the first, dealing with Native American history since 1890… also poking into some tech books, got through the beginning of Clean Architecture, until the dependency inversion stuff left me laughing a bit too hard to continue.

    17. 3

      Recently finished Going Postal, which was my first Discworld book. Really liked it. Also read Mort, which was alright. Not sure which to pick up next.

      Also read Antigone, Fagles translation. Highly recommend. My Greek teacher was iffy on Fagles since he apparently is sometimes looser with the translation, but I really liked it and I think it made a good introduction to Sophocles (my edition came with a really useful primer on the period and the politics of the plays). My hope with the Greek lessons is to be able to read the original Attic someday anyways :-) Gonna read Oedipus the King next, of course.

      Read a bit of “Economics, Ecology, and Ethics: Essays toward a steady-state economy”, which I picked up at a used bookstore. Torn between the parts that are maybe OK and the parts that are 70’s population bomb deathcult ecology nonsense. Put it down for now for that reason since it’s unclear how much is really salvageable.

      Also read a bit of The Silk Roads which is a history of said silk roads from early history to the modern era. Just took a chunk out of the middle which was about the Pax Mongolica / black death / Italian trade wars. Pretty interesting, made me want to read it for real once my partner is done with it.

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        Recently finished Going Postal, which was my first Discworld book. Really liked it. Also read Mort, which was alright. Not sure which to pick up next.

        Though they can definitely be read in any order, there is something to be said for starting at the beginning. Later books make references to characters and plot points in earlier books. This is especially true for the books that contain recurring characters, such as the guards and the witches.

        Also, very sadly, the quality of his writing did deteriorate towards the end.

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        For whatever it’s worth, I first read Sophocles and Aeschylus in the Fagles translations, and they (along with Fitzgerald’s Aeneid and Lattimore’s Homer translations) inspired me to learn Latin and Greek. (In fact, I am now a teacher of Latin and Greek myself.)

        ἀγαθῇ τύχῃ on your Greek lessons!

    18. 3
      • Confessions of Saint Augustine
      • Social Classes and Political Power in Lebanon, by Fawwaz Traboulsi

      Both are personal interests to me. I’ve been relying on blog posts for my technical reads

    19. 3

      On the technical side: I’m working through Effective C.

      I remain scared of C programming and I’d like to not be: so far I’m finding this a really solid way to learn C fundamentals without spending three chapters on “hello world”.

      I’m also reading Le otto montagne, albeit very slowly as I’m learning Italian and I have to work with a dictionary. Despite the slow going I’m enjoying the description of a childhood spent in the rural, mountainous areas of Italy.

      When I can’t manage those, I’m re-reading Gideon the Ninth because the third book in the series is out soon. Space Necromancers! Need I say more?

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        I have the same feelings about c, please update as you make progress!

        And I agree, Gideon the Ninth … is wild! - in a completely nutso originally good way.

        1. 2

          And I agree, Gideon the Ninth … is wild! - in a completely nutso originally good way.

          I got it for my birthday back in June. Just finished the second one, looking forward to the third as well!

    20. 3

      In the evenings, working through Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century. It’s very interesting but poorly edited. I’m currently stuck wading through a section on the Baltics. I’m only slightly familiar with Estonia so keeping Latvia and Lithuania straight is tough. And the author doesn’t reintroduce a name he ever introduced even 10s of pages before. Hard to follow. But interesting. :)

      On my phone, slogging through The Leopard, a 50s novel about the 1800s unification of Italy. I thought it was boring at first but has been getting better.

      And on audiobook I’m reading Traitor to His Class. I just finished a book on Eleanor Roosevelt and this is my first one about FDR. It’s quite interesting just because of FDR. But I strongly dislike the style. The author makes tons of assumptions rather than using direct quotes (and letting the reader come to conclusions). You often see this from journalists who write about history but this guy is a historian! Oh well.

    21. 3

      I just started reading The DynamoDB Book - I’m only a few chapters in so it’s a lot of review at this point, but I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into some of the data modeling tips and tricks later on in the book!

    22. 3

      Literally anything that isn’t “improving” “educational” or “inspirational”; biographies can all get in the ocean; non-fiction entire can join it.

      #amreading Book 2 of the Farian War series by K.B. Wagers, “Down Among the Dead”, having just finished Book 7 of the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky, “Heirs of the Blade”.

      Its the weekend. This time is mine, noone elses.

      1. 2

        I was seeing if those things are things I want to read and I laughed out loud reading this review so thank you for that.

    23. 3

      I’m reading the Google SRE book.

      I’m also in the middle of

      • Human Action
      • Thinking Fast and Slow
      • The Hidden Agent (by Joseph Cox, the only fiction entry on this short list)
      1. 2

        How do you find Human Action do far?

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          Interesting, well reasoned so far. It’s just going slowly, trying to build the logic one slow step by one slow step. Like an academic might. Definitely not for reading while the lights are dimmed.

    24. 3

      https://refractions2.com/ - I’m trying to be more deliberate about practicing photography(away from my laptop, not in Lightroom!). The photography examples in this book are amazing, and Ralph Gibson has been studying photography for a long time(he at one point was Dorothea Lange’s assistant).

    25. 3

      Someones scifi manuscript I promised to give feedback on.

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        I’ll give my feedback too, just shoot it over :P

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          I can’t send it over without permission from the author, sorry.

          If you want to read manuscripts there is no shortage of them. There is a reddit for writers where people ask for readers, and there are several writers forums.

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            Yep, I was mostly joking. My wife does lots of advanced reads for authors, not much sci-fi, though.

    26. 3

      Reading a book - “atomic habits”. I really want to try build good and leave bad habits. I tried to practice after reading each chapter. Not waiting until finishing the book

    27. 3

      I’m currently reading a fantasy novel Duellist’s Road: No Shortcuts - this had an interesting hook, but the backstory is kinda messy.

    28. 3

      I just started Darling Girl by Liz Michalski which as I understand it is a dark take on Peter Pan. I’m looking forward to it.

    29. 3

      Slowly working through Name of the Rose, with The programmers brain and a book on Indian history on the backburner. I normally avoid fiction due to it being too addictive, but Umberto eco is slow enough going to be “safe”.

    30. 3

      Not technical, but I am reading Siege of Earth in the Empire Rising Series (book 6), only a few books were available in print the rest on kindle.

    31. 3

      I’m reading Flowers for Algernon, which I somehow hadn’t read until this point in my life.

    32. 3

      I’m reading stuff about “simple type theory” and the HOL proof assistant. I was only familiar with proof assistants based in “propositions-as-types” like Coq and Agda, so learning about this other approach was interesting and has helped me to understand the origins of type theory in Russell’s work a bit better.

      Also I’m continuing my read of “The Arabian Nights”, but it’s going slow.

    33. 3

      I’m reading “The Martians” by Kim Stanley Robinson. I recently re-read “Blue Mars”, and read 2312 for the first time, both by the same author.

      It’s been really interesting bouncing back and forth between stories set in the same timeline as the Mars Trilogy, and stories dealing with similar themes and ideas about human advancement, with different tweaks to the setting and technological environment.

      1. 3

        Thanks for reminding me I need to finish the Mars trilogy! The first two were excellent, but also each dense enough that I needed a break before moving on.

      2. 3

        Another great novel by Robinson is Aurora - it’s a kind of counterpoint to the Mars trilogy I thought, far less optimistic about the potential of humankind to leave Earth behind.

        1. 2

          Aurora might be his best single encapsulated story. Really loved it. I recently listened to his first 3 books (iirc all written in the 80s) the pacific trilogy. They all take place in and around orange county CA, but in 3 alternate visions of the future. Really good too and a bit less mechanical than some of his works. I think Aurora is good because it’s not afraid to be more character driven, whereas in some others the characters almost seem like plot movement devices.

    34. 2

      The same thing I’ve been reading for quite some weeks now. https://thewanderinginn.com , currently nearing the end of the fourth volume as an ebook. A fantasy web serial. Light reading, but quite extraordinarily long. I think someone claimed it was longer than the wheel of time. And still being written.

      1. 3

        fyi, that’s not the right link, you want - https://wanderinginn.com/ - the one you’ve given seems to be squatted by some weird thing.

        1. 1

          Thanks. I noted the same thing while writing the comment, but managed to copy from the wrong tab. And can’t edit anymore =(

    35. 2

      Just finished Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Deleuze and Guattari. Tough read but individual sections made it worthwhile. About to start Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper which I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Excited to hear the argument that Plato was a fascist.

    36. 2

      Slowly but surely making my way through Gravity’s Rainbow. I read before bed, and I can go maybe 10 pages before it stops making any sense.

      Also reading Jacobson’s Basic Algebra and Armstrong’s Basic Topology to try get more background for HoTT.

    37. 2

      I started Anna Karenina this morning. I’ve read and enjoyed some of Tolstoy’s short stories and his Confession, but I never tried the big novels. The sheer size always put me off.

      tl;dr: I read 140 pages of it today, and I’m hooked.

    38. 2

      Currently with:

      • Tao Te Ching in the original classical chinese (I’m slowly learning the language)
      • The art of the metaobject protocol
    39. 2

      Finishing Code, which had been in my backlog for more than a decade. I loved the first half or so, but I’m finding the second half to be a bit of a chore to go through.

      I’m trying to get into a rotation: fiction, non-fiction non-CS, non-fiction CS. So next, it’s fiction time, and I’m thinking of reading some Hispano-American literature which I’ve badly neglected. (I am a native Spanish speaker/reader.) Maybe Borges?