Wow, was that a dramatic month or what! I quit my job, went to India for vacation, had a gala time in Goa/Gokarna and still managed to read about 6 books. I am back in Seattle now. The annoying thing about traveling is, once you start it, it is hard to stop. Now I am itching to travel in the US, but alas, it is expensive. :( You can see how the automobile/aviation industry has altered the course of travel in the US by how expensive and time-consuming it is to travel from Seattle to Portland, if you do not posses a car or are traveling by air. Anyone “backpacking” in the US will definitely feel like a 5-star tourist in Asia and elsewhere. I guess, I would have to make do with exploring Seattle!
Here are the book reviews:
When I met Udhay Shankar in Bangalore, he was cleaning out his book shelves to make way for new books and I scored this book and the First book of Mazlan. Orion is a pretty interesting story of science-fiction/mythology/fantasy. It tells the story of God-like beings who have evolved from men over several centuries and their attempt to control their “destiny” by meddling in the evolution of humanity. It sounds complicated, but it is all explained very engrossingly well (with a romantic side-story to the boot).
Midnight Tides: First book of Mazlan
Every page of this book reminds me of Dune and Call of the Cthulu mainly for the flowery, fawning prose used to describe the protagonists. If you really love fantasy, you might like this book, but it is not for the mildly curious.
Making things happen
I am an avid reader of Scott Berkun’s blog, but never read any of his books till recently. Making Things Happen is the newer edition of The Art of Project Management. It does not matter if you are freelancing, or work in a start-up or a big company, every word that Scott mentions is worth thinking about how to translate to your day to day work. What I love about his writing is he attempts to write without bias, and indicates bias when he does think there is one (and not to mention the solid work of references and footnotes). I wish all writers wrote in this manner. My only complaint is, some of the “failures” he cites from his experience did not seem like failures to me (maybe they do to someone else in a similar position). This book makes me think Scott Berkun must be quarter vulcan :)
I was given this book by Matt May (and I had him sign it in Arabic :) It is a very short book, that you can quite possibly read within a hour or so. The trouble with technical books, such as this one, is that by the time it gets published, it goes out of date. The authors have tried to mitigate it somewhat, but unfortunately, web standards are in a constant state of flux.
All the examples use the XHTML Strict doctype, though I would have appreciated if a rationale was given why they went with it. This slim book, also has code examples that are two pages long, which are best shared online than on paper (and probably could have been used to explain ARIA more?). I also think, a book about Universal Design, could also have covered a bit on RDFa or Microdata.
This is a good book for anyone who has this question “WTF is Accessibility?”, but I do not think it addresses anything beyond that. I wish it did though.
Ruskin Bond’s Book of Humour
It is a collection of essays and articles by Ruskin Bond about his life in Landour. Some of these are outrageous (like when he describes seducing a teenage girl) but somehow it all sounds normal when he describes them. There is, as always, an underlying thread of melancholy for times that have gone by. This book is a good read on a lazy sunday afternoon, when your thoughts turn towards the good times you had as a school-going kid.
The Story of Our Food
This is a very thin book, and I should warn you that the book is literally what the title says - a story. The book feels like one of those stories your annoying grandpa has the habit of narrating just when you have something important to work on (and you feel guilty for not listening). It has some interesting insights about how the staple food of India came about, but unfortunately there are no footnotes or references for any of the statements he makes. Thankfully, there is a set of 10 reference books at the end which should likely throw more light on the history of Indian cooking.