Reading Phases

I seem to be caught in the midst of one of my occasional reading phases. This is when I read many books on the same subject in a relatively short period of time. If I look through my reading list, I can find quite a few of these phases. They often last five or six books before I move onto a different subject. This one has lasted 9 books so far.

I find the history of computing fascinating, perhaps because I grew up with computers, and perhaps simply because I enjoy history. This recent phase has seen me go through the following books:

In the background, I have also been slowly making my way through Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter.

So far, my favorite of these books has been Brian Kernighan’s UNIX: A History and a Memoir. I also really enjoyed George Dyson’s Turing’s Cathedral.

I’m not quite ready to give up this phase. As I was dosing off last night, thinking about my morning walk, I realized that I would miss listening to the Alan Turing biography. There are at least 2 other books I hope to get through before this phase ends. They are:

Of course, I am open to others if anyone has any suggestions.

Meanwhile, to balance all of the technology, I’ve started a second attempt at reading Page Smith’s biography of John Adams. There isn’t an electronic version of this book, which means for at least a small portion of my day, my eyes aren’t focused on a screen.


  1. Not on your list, and I bet you have already read it, but “The Soul of a New Machine” by Tracy Kidder would fit into this “computer history” list nicely, I think.

  2. I went through a computer history phase last year; I recommend The Friendly Orange Glow by Brian Dear about the PLATO computer system. I was going to second Soul of a New Machine but looks like you picked that one up already!


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