Thank you, God, for St. Mary’s Catholic School, where someone back in the 1960’s decided that a speed-reading machine and programmed learning was a good idea. My father used to say that if they put words on toilet paper, I’d read it. I still read six or seven books a week, selected pretty much at random. Here are some books I read lately that I just happen to like.
Applied statistics and the SAS programming language. by Ronald Cody and Jeffrey Smith
Experienced programmers will probably find several chapters too basic, but that’s okay, I just skipped to the interesting ones.
Consequential strangers by Melinda Blau & Karen Fingerman
About the importance of acquaintances in our lives, those people like the hair dresser or dentist you have gone to for ten years, who are not quite friends but not really strangers, either.
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
I doubt Schwalbe, who had a privileged upper middle class childhood, realized how interesting that would be to the other 95% of the world – the children of the secretaries, housekeepers and gardeners who wondered what it would be like to grow up in one of those nice houses with a grand piano – and that part is just described in passing. His mother, who died of cancer, had a fascinating life – from Harvard admissions director to years of work with refugees. Throughout, he adds discussions of the books they read together to pass the time while waiting for her chemotherapy.
jQuery Ui by Eric Sarrion
It’s billed as a beginner to intermediate book on the jQuery user interface, and that it is. I liked it because you can breeze through it in a day or two, and each chapter is pretty self-contained so if you are interested particularly in animation, for example, you can skip to that chapter.
A really insightful book on how games can be applied to real world problems, why some games work, what we like about them. After the first 250 pages or so, I thought it got to be redundant. The point I liked the best is how sometimes failing spectacularly can be reinforcing, so that people will want to keep playing a game even more after they get killed (virtually speaking, that is).
So … what have you been reading lately?
P.S. Does anyone know why they don’t have speed reading programs in school any more? Being able to read hundreds of words a minute saved my ass from high school all the way through three graduate degrees. I wasn’t really the most motivated student for much of those years and if I’d had to spend the hours reading that many of my classmates did, I think I would have given up and gotten a job selling fish and chips or something.