Anathem & other great books I’m not reading

anathem.jpgI picked up a copy of Anathem about two weeks ago. It’s a great book but is very, very, very slow going. I am told it is easier to read than his previous trilogy, the Baroque Cycle. I kind of believe it because I never really made it past chapter 1 of the first book. With Anathem, I am only a little over 100 pages in (out of so many pages that I have decided not to depress myself by skipping to the end to see the total page count.) I can see that it’s genius. A lot of thought and calculation has gone into every single page of the story. It’s also slow-moving. There is a constant battle going on in my mind between wanting to drop it to get on to another book and wanting to get immersed in more of the world. Also nagging at me is the stack of recent book acquisitions, waiting to be read:

  • The Most of P.G. Wodehouse – I picked this up at Conrad’s suggestion and am about half-way through. It’s okay, though, as it is a collection of short stories that I can put down and pick up at any time.
  • The Design of Everyday Things – This is one of the definitive industrial design manuals and I have been meaning to read for years. It has been floating around on my Amazon wish list for a while and I finally added it to a recent order so that the total would be enough to qualify for super-saver shipping. Yep, I spent extra money so that I could save money. “I am a consumer whore!” “And how!”
  • It’s All Too Much – This is a book on living a better life by getting rid of a bunch of the crap you hang on to, taking up space in the house. I picked up based on a review by Merlin Mann a while ago. I’m not entirely sure how whole-heartedly I will agree with the entire concept, but I’m intrigued enough to give it a read and perhaps sell it back to Powells if it’s crap. At the very least, it will help me learn the techniques and philosophy to get rid of the ubiquitous “junk drawer” that every house seems to have.
  • The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse – “It’s for work.” Although it does not quite apply to how we are using GDB at work, I’m hoping it will give me a good understanding of some of the pieces I don’t quite grok yet. (Sidebar: the OS X spell-checker accepts the word “grok.”) My final undergrad work was in compiler design, which dovetails into debuggers, but we avoided threading because that was more graduate-level stuff. So my thread-based debugging consists almost entirely of printf, syslog, and variants thereof.

Yep, so I have a lot of books to get through. And it’s not helping that some of my favorite television shows have been returning with new episodes.

Posted in: Code Dear Diary

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