• "The Voyage of the Beagle" by Charles Darwin - full review.
  • "The evolving self" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - a very ambitious book by the author of Flow, who attempts no less than to define the meaning of life based on his flow thesis mixed with evolutionary psychology and sociology. It's well written, but unfortunately doesn't quite cut it. As the author keenly admits in the beginning, the topic he's tackling is just too complex, and the book is meant more as "food for thought" than rules to live by. Personally, I didn't find anything new in there. I'm well familiar with gene and meme theories from Dawkins, evolutionary psychology, as well as Csikszentmihalyi work on flow. So it was all familiar material rehashed in different words.
  • "Core Java Programming, Vol I" by Cay S. Horstmann and Gary Cornell - a pretty good introductory book on Java, aimed at programmers experienced in other languages. Provides a well-collected overview of the most important aspects of Java, with glimpses into specialty topics such as GUI programming and applet deployment. I especially liked the "C++ Note" side-notes, in which the authors spent a couple of sentences explaining how the topic at hand translates to C++. Really helpful.
  • "The Twelve Chairs" by Ilf and Petrov (read in Russian) - a satirical treasure-hunt novel from the 1920s in early Soviet Union. Usually satirical novels from very different periods don't make much sense, but here the authors managed to make fun of enough universal human principles to make the story very funny and relevant even today. I found the last third of the book a bit more boring than the first two, but overall it was very enjoyable.

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