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Books & book reviews

10 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Sep 5, 2003 11:33 PM by Gervase Gallant

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Gervase Gallant

Posts: 6
Nickname: gervase
Registered: Dec, 2002

Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 3, 2003 11:25 PM
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Is there a web site that features independent book review on computer languages?

I have been trying to add some tomes to my Java collection recently and have noted that the only book reviews that I can trust are usually at Amazon's web site and -- even then -- I'm not completely sure the author didn't arrange them somehow.

Does anyone do serious book reviews anymore?


Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 6, 2003 3:50 AM
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I have found that the combination of Amazon book reviews and sales tables (high sales being a good sign) give a pretty reliable guide for computing books.

One thing I have noticed; when a book recieves many good reviews, it is often the few bad reviews that contain the most cogent descriptions of the book's strengths and weaknesses.

For the most popular computing books, there are simply too many independent reviews for anything placed by the author to make a significant dent. In any case, such artificial entries are usually surprisingly naïve and pretty easy to spot. A good example used to be a 5-star review of the book "Java Modeling in Color with UML" (a book that contains no Java!) that turned out to be the blurb off the back cover. This one was so blatant it has since dissappeared, unfortunately the book is still there.

Vince.

Joe Cheng

Posts: 65
Nickname: jcheng
Registered: Oct, 2002

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 6, 2003 6:08 PM
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The reviews on Slashdot tend to be relatively objective, I believe...?

http://books.slashdot.org

Not like they have a review on every book out there, though, like Amazon does.

Grant Bremer

Posts: 4
Nickname: gbremer
Registered: Aug, 2003

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 8, 2003 2:39 PM
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Amazon is typically the first one I look at for a review. I will also look at the table of contents PDFs and maybe the index of the book to get an idea what the actual content is. Then I'll go look for another review for a second opinion on another site. I'll check at barnesandnoble.com and websites that cater to the same audience as the book. Often, I can find articles written by the author which give me a good idea what the book is going to be like and if I'll enjoy it. Of course, you can also head down to the local B&N or Borders and check it out there, too!

Randy Giedrycz

Posts: 2
Nickname: randyg
Registered: May, 2003

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 11, 2003 10:05 AM
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javaranch.com has a very good independent book review section. I've found the reviews to be very solid.

Vamsee Krishna Kanakala

Posts: 3
Nickname: vamsee
Registered: Jun, 2003

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 12, 2003 7:35 AM
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Typically, what happens in Amazon is that the respective book's publishers themselves write the reviews, which makes it pretty unreliable. I know of two sites which give pretty good, independent reviews of books:
www.accu.org - You won't get reviews of very new books, but pretty reliable. They know their stuff.
www.ercb.com - Dr.Dobb's Journal book review site. Excellent.

Jason Menard

Posts: 1
Nickname: jasonm
Registered: Aug, 2003

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 13, 2003 2:23 PM
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Hello. I'm one of the moderators/book reviewers at JavaRanch ( http://www.javaranch.com ). We have a large selection of reviews that we have done on books of interest to the Java community. You can check out http://www.javaranch.com/books.jsp to see our reviews section, which we call "The Bunkhouse". We also have a large and very active forums section, The Big Moose Saloon ( http://saloon.javaranch.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi ), which includes several forums set aside to discuss book related topics. Several authors are active members of our community, so if you have any questions on a book, sometimes you can get the answer straight from the horse's mouth.

Feel free to stop by and check us out if any of this is of interest to you.

Alx Dark

Posts: 1
Nickname: alxdark
Registered: Aug, 2003

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 19, 2003 11:40 AM
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For what it's worth, I find the book review section of the Association for C and C++ Users worth a browse (the books reviewed span far beyond C/C++):

http://www.accu.org/bookreviews/public/

Alx

Pan Pantziarka

Posts: 2
Nickname: pan
Registered: Aug, 2003

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Aug 20, 2003 5:57 PM
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> Is there a web site that features independent book
> review on computer languages?

TechBookReport (www.techbookreport.com) does exactly that. Independent and literate book reviews of books for developers and technologists. There's more Java than anything else, but C#, VB, Perl and other languages are also covered.

Bill Burris

Posts: 24
Nickname: billburris
Registered: Aug, 2003

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Sep 3, 2003 7:10 PM
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I have tried writing reviews, but was never happy with the results. One difficulty was that I would write about how great a book was, only to discover a better book 6 months later. Sometimes I would point out a few highlights, other times I would try to give chapter by chapter comments. It is difficult to be objective. If the book did not really match with what I am interested in I would tend to be more negative.

My latest attempt was a web log format. This seems to work a little better, at least as far as writing goes.

I have come to the conclusion that my reviews should be living documents, which are updated regularly. Not only am I learning more about what is important, some topics which look very exciting today will be useless in 6 months.

http://www.componentsnotebook.com/reviews.aspx

Bill

Gervase Gallant

Posts: 6
Nickname: gervase
Registered: Dec, 2002

Re: Books & book reviews Posted: Sep 5, 2003 11:33 PM
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Bill, I've visited your site a couple of times and found the reviews brief but pertinent. One neat thing about it is that you get an insight from someone who is
* independent
* read a lot of books ( and therefore can recognize a reasonable effort when it happens)

Quite often the reviews, you read online are written by folks who haven't a lot of experience with reviewing...

A suggestion: why don't you do more reviews for online journals and link to them from your sight??

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