Summary of reading: July – September 2012

September 30th, 2012 at 5:55 pm
  • "The Angel’s Game" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (read in Spanish) – another instance of Zafón’s thriller series about writers undergoing mysterious events in Barcelona. His writing is as good an immersive as always, and as I mentioned in previous reviews of his books, I don’t mind a little bit of magic as long as it doesn’t go too far. The problem with this book, though, is that it opens too many plot lines and doesn’t close nearly enough. And worst of all, its ending is a huge disappointment. I was left with the feeling that I don’t really understand the ending and thus much of the book doesn’t make sense. And even though the book was generally fun to read, I don’t like this feeling.
  • "A history of God" by Karen Armstrong – A very comprehensive history of the three monotheistic religions. Some chapters are very dense and thus hard to follow. Overall, it succeeds in its goal to show how belief evolves with time to better suit the needs of believers.
  • "Yes, Chef: A Memoir" by Marcus Samuelsson – An interesting autobiography by the Ethiopean-born, Swedish-raised celebrity chef who owns a few restaurants in NYC. Provides a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of restaurants, and what it takes to become a successful chef. Also, provides a glimpse of what sacrificing personal life for the sake of a career looks like…
  • "Why Programs Fail – A guide to systematic debugging" by Andreas Zeller – Note to self: stop buying books like this one. Books that "distill common programming knowledge". I spend so much programming and reading about programming that these books very rarely have any effect on me. Not that this particular book is bad, but I just didn’t find much new in it. A few sections on delta debugging which seems like an interesting technique (but I’m somewhat familiar with it from LLVM’s bugpoint tool already) are perhaps the only really novel information I gathered from this 300+ page book.
  • "The Abysmal Brute" by Jack London – a nostalgic return to a book I remember fondly from childhood. I don’t say this often, but it’s a shame this book isn’t actually longer. London hit on a very good story here, and he could’ve easily developed it into a full-length novel.

Re-reads:

  • "Of mice and men" by John Steinbeck
  • "Cannery row" by John Steinbeck

Related posts:

  1. Summary of reading: July – September 2010
  2. Summary of reading: July – September 2011
  3. Summary of reading: January – March 2012
  4. Summary of reading: April – June 2012
  5. Summary of reading: May – June 2010

6 Responses to “Summary of reading: July – September 2012”

  1. IggyNo Gravatar Says:

    Welcome back Eli, admittedly its a bit weird to welcome you back to your own blog. You appear to be a bit of a polymath, which makes for the most interesting people, in my opinion… but I really wanted to wish you best of luck in your new endeavors, and hope you enjoy all those free lunches. Perhaps you’ll get to rub elbows with others as interesting and talented as yourself. Cheers

  2. elibenNo Gravatar Says:

    Iggy,

    Thanks for the kind words!

  3. Simon HibbsNo Gravatar Says:

    A History of God is an excellent book. I agree there are places where it gets a bit dense, but not enough to be off-putting. It’s a rich subject, so a little denseness is pretty much to be expected. I’ve seen Karen Armstrong interviewed on TV or participating in TV debates a few times and she’s pretty impressive in person too.

    Since you reminded me of her, I just searched for her on Youtube and there’s a fair bit of material there. I’ve not checked them out yet, but will do when I have time.

  4. LucaNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi eli, you’re awesome, you read a lot :)
    I’m just working my way through these books at the moment: Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence by Peter Norvig and Essentials of Programming Languages by Friedman and Wand but… you seem such a fast reader must be a genius :)

  5. elibenNo Gravatar Says:

    Luca,

    You picked challenging books. Read them carefully and without hurry – there’s much to be learned there.

  6. LucaNo Gravatar Says:

    Challenge is the word :)
    I’ll follow your advice.
    Thank you.

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