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Discussion on: What are you reading right now?

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David Wickes

The Art of Unix Programming

This is such a good read. In a way, with the explosion of the web, we're all the descendents of Unix programmers. But, as a consequence of that explosion, it's unilikely that any of us have ever met a real Unix "greybeard". This book offers everyone access to, as the author puts it, "a special transmission, outside the scriptures" - more of an oral history of Unix knowhow.

Did I mention that the web version is free?


I would wonder why everyone isn't reading this at the moment. A study - an actual scientific study with evidence and everything - on how to deliver software quickly, efficiently and consistently. DevOps isn't a job, it's a mindset every developer should be interested in acquiring. Spoiler alert - branch based development is terrible, and you should write automated tests.

(available on Audible)

The Go Programming Language

I'm reading this again but going through the exercises more thoroughly - the first read was more of a skim. It's a book that keeps on giving. Yes, ostensibly it's "just" teaching you how to program in Go. But I've learned so much more about computers and programming in general: the Internet/HTTP, image generation, building command line tools, UTF-8, memory efficiency. It's also interesting to compare it to The Art of Unix Programming; many of the 'best practices' layed out there are either enforced or encouraged in Go.

Maybe the best book on programming I've ever read?

Sword at Sunset

I became a father in January. It's been... well, a bit of a ride. Very little sleep. But what I've been able to do a lot of is read (while rocking a baby). Fatherhood awoke a dormant interest in Roman Britain (I have no idea why), so I've been (re) reading the works of Rosemary Sutcliff, who mostly wrote childrens historical novels. You may know her work through The Eagle of the Ninth, which was turned into a not-as-good-as-the-book film relatively recently.

Sword at Sunset is one of her books for adults, but still on the subject of sub-Roman Britain. She's exploring what a real King Arthur would have been like, a Romano-British cavalry commander defending Britain from the invading Saxons. She keeps some of the main plot points of Arthurian legend (incest, betrayal, horses), while grounding the action and characters as real Celts living in a decaying society.