Other posts related to book-reviews

 | July 14, 2010 8:30 am

Summer-Path_thumb[3]One of the many things for which I use my Audible.com account is to track interesting books.  Whenever someone sends me an interesting review, or mentions a book in passing, the very first thing I do is add it to the “Audible.com” wish list.  After all, every month I get to download two new books, and keeping the list stocked ensures that I’ve always got something interesting on hand.

In the (nearly) ten years that I’ve been a member of Audible, I’ve accumulated quite a list.  it includes fiction books and non-fiction books across all genres.  You can find science fiction and fantasy (what can I say, I’m a whore for space ships, explosions and swords) in addition to titles covering history, business, science, religion, economics, New Age enlightenment and genres that I’m not sure I can even put a name to.

(Due to the Audible subscription and aforementioned two books a month, I’m a great deal more adventurous than if I were actually paying full price.)

As I browse the list, I can tell you where most of the books originated from.  Some are from the recommendations of friends.  Others I saw mentioned on blogs.  Still others came from browsing the Audible site and reading the reviews.

But even though I know where most of the recommendations originated, there are a few that I just can’t place.  Logically, I understand that I must have put them there, it’s just that I can’t remember doing it.

(Which means that I shall blame it on elves, fairies, or aliens; because those explanations are infinitely more interesting than merely saying, “I don’t remember doing that.”  Logic be damned.)

Sometimes these books are tremendous surprises.  God is Not Great (How Religion Poisons Everything) was one such find.  I passionately disagreed with nearly every word, and had a marvelous time doing so.  (Plus it’s written and read by Christopher Hitchens, who is one of the greatest essayists writing in the English language.) As was the Historian, a ridiculous vampire novel with spectacular research covering the life of Vlad Tepes, the fall of Constantinople and the destruction of the Eastern Roman Empire.

And sometimes these books are disasters.  Summer’s Path, by Scott Blum, is one such disaster; and it’s not a small one, either.  It’s a full Hindenburgesque monstrosity with plot implosions, brain sucking aliens and everything.

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 | February 9, 2009 4:46 pm

IronPython in ActionThere is an old adage, often used and much abused, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he will never want for food.”  And while this old saying is extremely tired and very much cliché, it is a surprisingly apt way for me to begin a review of “IronPython in Action,” a programming book by Michael J. Foord and Christian Muirhead.

“IronPython in Action” delves into the use of scripting (or dynamic) languages and how they merge with Microsoft’s enormous .Net platform.  For readers of this site, it shouldn’t be any secret that I have been working hard to teach myself Python.  And while that particular adventure is better documented elsewhere, “IronPython in Action” has been central to it.  Indeed, it has been my primary reference manual and guide.

It’s been nearly six months and it’s far past time to write a review of the guide.  But this review is going to be a little bit different than others that you might read.  If you are looking for a more traditional summary, you might be better served by Craig Murphy’s exhaustive breakdown.  Rather than detail the contents and render an opinion, I would like to first tell a story and then focus on a much narrower question: Is IronPython valuable for people who are new to Python or .Net programming?  More to the point, can it be used to teach a novice “how to fish?”

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