My fortnightly summary of what I’ve been reading and listening to.
While I’ve been reading a fair bit over the last fortnight, I haven’t completed very much in the period.
I’m part way through:
- Trunk Music by Michael Connelly (Audible audiobook)
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Ebook on my iPod)
- Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol I by Edward Gibbon (Ebook on my iPod)
I confess that I’m reading Gibbon’s massive treatise on the iPod just to prove that it can be done, and how well the iPod Touch/iPhone works as an ebook reading platform, something I’m growing increasingly to believe. Even Gibbon’s extensive footnotes work pretty well thanks to intelligent formatting by Gutenberg (from where I sourced the book).
On the down-side, Lexcycle, who produce the Stanza ebook software I had been using to read books on my iPod, dropped the ball. They released a new version incorporating a dictionary lookup feature which manages to interfere with the comfort of reading (the feature pops up if your finger dwells a fraction of a second too long on the screen when you are turning pages). They have promised to fix it, but in the meantime I’m using the almost-as-good eReader from Palm.
Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson.
Ebook on my iPod Touch.
I grew up in what is now West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. Robinson was born not far away from where I was born, and only a year before me. His series of novels about Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks are all set in this part of the world, so many of the places he writes about are quite familiar to me from my childhood. This, of course, adds to the interest I have in this series.
But even if you don’t know this area of the world, DCI Banks is an engaging and multi-layered character with a complex private life, and the cases he encounters are full of interest and mystery. In this novel, the 17th in the series, a young woman is raped and murdered in the town of Eastvale; and in what seems a completely different case, a woman quadriplegic is found murdered in her wheelchair at the top of a set of cliffs facing over the North Sea. How these two cases – one handled by Banks, one by his colleague and ex-lover Annie Cabot – are related only becomes clear as the book progresses. A really intriguing read, and the ending was not at all obvious for almost all of the book.
Here are some links to a few of the blogs I read regularly:
Coding Horror by Jeff Atwood
This is always must-read stuff for me. Jeff Atwood talks intelligently and interestingly about the craft of programming, and continually introduces me to new thoughts, and links to things I ought to know or to think about.
I, Cringely by Robert X. Cringely
Cringely wrote one of the best, and funniest, books about the early days of the computer industry which I have ever read: Accidental Empires (or, How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date)
He writes regularly and very intelligently about technology. While he’s occasionally a bit too self-important and self-congratulatory for my taste, he’s never less than thought-provoking and well-informed.
Whimsley by Tom Slee
This British-born Canadian doesn’t blog anywhere never enough so far as I am concerned. He writes very clever and amusing stuff, sometimes at great length, about the digital economy. For example, he dedicated dozens of well-thought-out posts to demolishing the book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson; and he has written amusingly about the hidden flaws in the way that Google and Amazon work.
I hope Slee keeps on blogging, because I want to keep on reading his stuff.
Journal by Sam Pepys
This guy blogs just about every day, and it’s all full of his rich life in London, all the stupidities and corruption of the politicians and bureaucrats that he has to work with, about all the women he bonks (he’s a very naughty man!), his long-suffering wife, and the renovations he’s having done to his house. Just lately, he’s been rather worried about the spread of a dangerous infectious disease in the city, seemingly on the rise every day. And about the progress of the current war with the Dutch, of course.
Fascinating reading. Oh, did I mention that this guy is writing in the 1660s?