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:
- The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick
- Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy
- Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software by Nadia Eghbal
- The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
- UNIX: A History and a Memoir by Brian W. Kernighan
- A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni
- Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson
- A World Without Email: Reimagining Work In an Age of Communication Overload by Cal Newport
- Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
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:
- Where the Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Hafner and Mattew Lyon
- A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash by Sylvia Nasar
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.