Do you read books and code along or just read through?
I used to think reading programming book makes little sense (like you said it's like documentation), but the practice was what I think made me grasp the concepts.
I am a huge fan of Pragmatic Bookshelf (they have a tonnes of books, I'm mainly there for their Elixir selections) and I've also heard of Manning's, if anyone's interested can check them out!
For most of the books, I do experiment with the code pieces that I find interesting. If there are exercises, I do work on them.
But I wouldn't say that I "code along" for many of them because they are not usually about developing a project and describing it. But if they are (e.g. Exploding Rails) I do code along.
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.