Don Hosek - Recent reading

I tend to be a voracious reader, and I read widely. This list has its origins in an old signature file which I would update periodically with the current book that I was reading. That gradually transmogrified itself into the current massive archive with brief reviews.

What I've been reading lately
Number of books read and reviewed each year
1995* (28)
1996 (47)
1997 (74)
1998 (61)
1999 (62)
2000 (27)
2001 (51)
2002 (60)
2003 (37)
2004 (36)
2005 (32)
2006 (46)
2007 (109)
2008 (78)
2009 (65)
2010 (68)
2011 (98)
2012 (129)
2013 (114)
2014 (101)
2015 (88)
2016 (82)
2017 (76)
2018 (31)
* Partial year
The Walking Dead, Vol, 29: Lines We Cross by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano and Cliff Rathburn
[Finished 12 June 2018] Maybe I’m becoming a more astute reader of graphic narrative, but I found a number of elements of this volume to really exploit the nature of graphic narrative in enjoyable/impressive ways. Add in some compelling developments in the plot and this is one of the best volumes in the series.

The Lovers by Morris West
[Finished 11 June 2018] At its heart a doomed love affair set in the midst of post-WWII intrigue of Europe with the moral compromises made in the name of anti-communism in the early days of the cold war playing a central role. I’m not sure how much the Catholic stuff is integral to the story versus feeling merely grafted on as a sop to fans of West’s more overtly theological fiction.

Living Clojure by Carin Meier
[Finished 10 June 2018] The first roughly two-thirds of this book provides a gentle introduction to Clojure, providing more hand-holding than does Clojure Programming but sacrificing little depth (mostly in the realm of more esoteric features of the language). Again, advancements in the Clojure community make the contents in many ways different, with newer, often simpler solutions available courtesy of newer libraries.

I did find Meier’s decision to clump all the exercises together as a timed learning plan to be a bit odd—I would rather have had there be exercises interspersed with the primary text, but that could just be me and certainly it wouldn’t fit with her modeling the text on the Couch to 5K model.

Clojure Cookbook: Recipes for Functional Programming by Luke VanderHart and Ryan Neufeld
[Finished 31 May 2018] A bizarre mix of ridiculously basic with complex recipes, it’s hard to see who the authors saw as their target audience. It’s interesting to see how the Clojure community had advanced from the time of the publication of Chas Emerick’s Clojure Programming. At this point, Leiningen has become the de facto standard build tool for Clojure projects to the point where it would be difficult to employ many of the recipes in this book without also using Leiningen.

The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed and the Reexamined edited by Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck
[Finished 21 May 2018] I hadn’t realized the extent or, for that matter, the existence of, scholarly debate on the Holocaust. There are some interesting glances at internal debates within the scholarly community and a handful of familiar names as my reading on the Holocaust expands. I’m finding increasingly often that a book cited will be one that I’ve already read.

There were a few useful pieces of information and perspectives on the Holocaust here, but in all, I’m beginning to reach a point of diminishing returns in my research.

Experience and Expression: Women, the Nazis and the Holocaust edited by Elizabeth R. Baer and Myrna Goldberg
[Finished 21 May 2018] A wide-ranging collection with plenty to contribute towards my research needs.

Clojure Programming by Chas Emerick, Brian Carper and Christophe Grand
[Finished 9 May 2018] Perhaps a bit out of date now (unless O’Reilly has put out a newer edition), but an overall good introduction to this particular dialect of Lisp. I’ve been intrigued by lisps since I first encountered them in high school, but have never written any significant lisp or done much more than try to decipher emacs-lisp code to little success. Emerick et al do a good job of introducing the reader to the principles of Lisp and manage to be insistent on FP principles without seeming as doctrinaire as some other FP programming book authors I’ve encountered have. I feel secure enough from having read this book that I feel like I could tackle my next new project in Clojure should I feel that it would benefit from being written in that language.

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson
[Finished 7 May 2018] I heard about this book on Science Friday, I think. My memories of the book are a bit clouded, it seems, though, because I thought this was going to be a book that focused more on the idea of foraging and eating wild plants for their nutritional value. In fact, it turns out that Robinson’s thesis is that we’ve lost a lot of nutritional value in our domesticated plants and that eating plants closer to their wild ancestors would lead to better nutritional outcomes.

Robinson bases everything on decent scientific research and doesn’t take a simple-minded approach, noting cases where the domesticated plants are, in fact, the more nutritious (the small seedless watermelons at Trader Joe’s being a good example of this). While at times the text is a bit repetitious, overall it’s a good read and quite informative.

Scaling Data Services with Pivotal Gemfire by Mike Stolz
[Finished 25 April 2018] This read more like a bit of technical marketing than a genuine book on the topic, but at 62 pages, it would be difficult to expect more. There’s some valuable information here, but overall it was less than I desired.

The Golem Redux: From Prague to Post-Holocaust Fiction by Elizabeth R. Baer
[Finished 20 April 2018] I’m not sure what I was hoping for here, but this is a well-written survey of the appearances of golems in literature, film, television and comics. Baer relies a little too heavily on plot summary at times, but does manage to provide some decent insights into how the various retellings of the golem story inform each other.