This is a creepy story. I read it so long ago I could barely remember it. But there are aspects of the story that have stuck with me so long that I waThis is a creepy story. I read it so long ago I could barely remember it. But there are aspects of the story that have stuck with me so long that I was reminded about it....more
The biggest problem with a programming book is how to use it. The content in this book is rich, deep, and helpful. But I have to admit I was dubious aThe biggest problem with a programming book is how to use it. The content in this book is rich, deep, and helpful. But I have to admit I was dubious about getting this book because I could see no solid case for it improving my programming in the laid back format of the previous "50 Specific Ways..." books. And what I found was consistent with my original impressions.
The problem with teaching people to use the STL better is that they have to actually have experience using the STL. I don't just mean experience in a class, I mean real-world programming experience (although such a world is undoubtedly very removed from reality). Real world experience with the STL where this book will actually help you, I believe, is so far removed from most software development activities that this book will haunt you you more than help you.
The "50 Specific Ways..." series is actually really useful in that it highlights problems you are likely to encounter when using the environment covered by the subject in the most common ways. The problem is that people who actually develop code with the STL code (i.e. really incorporate it) are probably a lot fewer than instructors would like to claim. I have relatively wide experience in programming with C++ including stand-alone simple stuff, C++ in support of visual studio, C++ for DLL applications, C++ as driver code (perhaps C would be better?), and C++ as part of a roughly 1000 person collaboration developing something like 100k new lines of code every week. In my experience none of the more casual programmers - even in the 1000 person collaboration - had any clue of the details that Scott Meyers touches on in this book.
So the biggest dilemma is how to use this book. That actually is an easy question because the sections are well-written and the material is thorough. First read it quickly. Then use it as a desk reference while reading, editing, and writing code that is based on the STL. Start by using the sections where Meyers explains which containers are good for what specific purposes. Then, if your particular application is discussed in the book, re-read that section again realy quick before writing code. Then, when you encounter compiler complaints, use the book to help you figure out what is wrong. For the most part the cross-referencing of compiler errors is pretty good, and there is a section that helps diagnose the meaning behind compiler complaints that span several 1000 characters.
As an example, Meyers discusses why you should use &V to get a pointer to the start of a vector (see item 16). Now, when I was working with the 1000 person collaboration, this type of code showed up all the time. My impression was that this was actually bad practice, and that they should really have been using V.begin(). However, this is not good practice, and Meyers explains why. He also explains the reason you need to use &V, and why you need to check V.empty() before using it....more
Individual books should stand on their own. On its own, Crossroads of Twilight has very little going on that involves resolution. I suppose the idea iIndividual books should stand on their own. On its own, Crossroads of Twilight has very little going on that involves resolution. I suppose the idea is to prepare for the next two books. But that cannot make up for the utter lack of development paired with repetition and (supposedly) nuanced dialog that repeatedly reminds the reader of the different understandings of current events that various factions have.
Several of the ongoing subplots simply continue without reasonable development. Some "sinister" elements of some character's character are revealed, but the reader doesn't have a changed opinion of these characters. The fact that so many people are able to travel all over the place, yet somehow cannot be on a consistent version of events is maddening. It is understandable that Jordan wishes some of the characters to lack trust and therefore not share true information sometimes, but having people continue to be confused about the importance of the destruction of Shadar Logoth is just silly.
To make matters worse, just as it seems we are trying to crystalize all the major story lines (which does not really require 800 pages), two additional subplots begin development in the final 100 pages.
And the dice rattling in Mat's head do absolutely nothing as a storytelling device. The device is overused (primarily by having an entire book - 8 or 9 - where they rattle for the entire book). And there is a considerable disconnect between the dice seeming to suggest there is a storyline that was truly up to chance, and one of the final parts of this book, which suggests some things were so locked in that they were planned for months (maybe the dice just indicated a chance Mat would die if things didn't go well for him, but that everything would ultimately resolve the same way with or without him)....more
The Secret History is a study of how a small group of people cope with evil deeds. It explores various responses to a fairly small number of key plotThe Secret History is a study of how a small group of people cope with evil deeds. It explores various responses to a fairly small number of key plot developments. The character list is fairly small, and the backdrop or tapestry of the story is nuanced, making the environment complex and interesting.
I tend to be terrible with hidden meaning in text, but I'm sure there were several things like that going on. Of course the main character driver is introduced before the story even starts. So its not as though you don't know where it's going.
The writing, the quirkiness of the characters, the way you almost don't even care what happens to the narrator (Richard Papen) - and his ambivalence towards himself, all keep the reading fresh with reasonable but unexpected human responses....more
This took me way too long to read. Most of that was because of other things going on in my life. That said, I wish I had read this faster.
I was warnedThis took me way too long to read. Most of that was because of other things going on in my life. That said, I wish I had read this faster.
I was warned that the books start to get more political somewhere around the 5th or 6th. I must agree that the story takes on a different flavor as Jordan's normal way of telling you what the characters are thinking is now at risk of telling you how major events in the world are going to take place.
That said, The last 100 pages of this book almost need the 4500+ pages that lead up to them. The story weaves together nicely. I must admit that my inability to stomach this much text may have led me to believe I understood more that was going on than I really did. It is really nice that the reader is reminded of the qualities of various story elements without relying on a descrption given 2000 pages ago. Unfortunately the one place where older details are not always clarified for the reader are the characters. There are a huge number of characters, and details of their appearance are reviewed, but their exact wants/needs are not... and this can lead to a little confusion. I think this may reflect the education level and paradigm expected of the audience, but frankly I lose track of different characters around 10, and there are easily 30-40 active characters by this part in the series.
On a side-note, normally I dislike the almost child-like qualities portrayed by many of the main characters. Childish though they may be written, they actually start dealing with serious events in this book....more
This book is somewhat singular in the set, easily creating a more interesting atmosphere than those immediately before (and because I put this reviewThis book is somewhat singular in the set, easily creating a more interesting atmosphere than those immediately before (and because I put this review in long after reading, more interesting than those immediately after). The book does not have too many plot elements coming from before it that are very important to the story here, though there are still many additional lines that continue right through this book....more
Well written, and non-pretensious detective novel. The plot is fairly interesting and the dialog is done well. I think this story is similar to what mWell written, and non-pretensious detective novel. The plot is fairly interesting and the dialog is done well. I think this story is similar to what makes its way onto TV these days.
The story is told almost passively from the eyes of the primary character (who is in a coma) and the eyes of several detectives trying to figure out how he got that way. ...more
This book finally has some real conflict of major characters (not just the flies that seem to pester people but have no real value in the bigger storyThis book finally has some real conflict of major characters (not just the flies that seem to pester people but have no real value in the bigger story). I mean do we really care where the allegiances of Elayne's conflict stand?
This book resolves much. And has some scenes that truly are the face of the story. I may be inflating my rating because I usually reserve 4/5 for books that are essentially masterpieces of their genre, and I'm not sure this one really is. However, I think this one is starting to bend the genre - or at least show clearly that the whole series has been bending the genre all along.
Can we expect immersive and well structured 10+ book sets for other storylines in the future? If they are mostly as good as the best 3rd of the Wheel of Time books, then that's ok by me....more
I want to give this book more than 3, but I think 4 is too much... The Wheel of Darkness is a fairly good stand-alone book in a series about Agent PenI want to give this book more than 3, but I think 4 is too much... The Wheel of Darkness is a fairly good stand-alone book in a series about Agent Pendergast (Agent of what? I'm not sure, as the indication that he is an FBI agent doesn't seem to jive with some of the stuff he pulls off). It is easy to read, and exciting. It goes a touch pedantic at times. At other times it just barely makes a viable argument for the conceptual justification of character's capabilities.
It is a touch annoying because it allows the hero to be a little too strong in some cases but a little too weak in others. Further, it doesn't really develop the characters smoothly... but it is a plot driven story....more
I think I read this over too long an interval. This is a real page turner with a gimmick. Don't let the gimmick fool you, though, the majority of theI think I read this over too long an interval. This is a real page turner with a gimmick. Don't let the gimmick fool you, though, the majority of the story is just hard-nosed police drama.
There are several plot twists. About the only thing you could say negatively about this book is that its ending is a bit too Hollywood. (Well, you could also get on it for not actually treating some issues much more seriously than it does.) It's a fun read, but borders on tedious occasionally as Clark sometimes lets the reader know a little bit more than the characters figure out immediately....more
Foundation's Edge is an interesting installment to the Foundation series. This book really starts to reveal some of the inner psychological ideas thatFoundation's Edge is an interesting installment to the Foundation series. This book really starts to reveal some of the inner psychological ideas that Asimov was dealing with. The story is told in Asimov's style of having slow conversations followed by lightning fast action. The storyline comes together in an interesting way near the end, but the fantastic climax has a little bit of trouble transitioning to the recapituation at the end of the book.
This book leaves you feeling like the end of the Foundation series is near. But at the same time it introduces some very interesting concepts that leave you wondering.
This is a very strong, well written, and exciting semi-triller. I reserve 5's for works of literature that expand the field, so my 3 is more-or-less eThis is a very strong, well written, and exciting semi-triller. I reserve 5's for works of literature that expand the field, so my 3 is more-or-less equivalent to the 3.7 or so average that goodreads shows for this book.
The story is a very engaging love triangle that ends up with a legal situation that plops into the hands of Dismas Hardy... who is apparently a recurring character of Lescroart's, but I did not get that feeling at all while reading this book. It is my first from Lescroart, so I think he did a good job of not bringing a ton backstory that gets the reader mildly confused.
At first I thought this was going to turn into one of those stories where a bad guy seems to break all the rules while tormenting the hero. However, almost as soon as you realize just how bad the bad guy is there is a pretty major development that changes the story in a completely reasonable, though still very intriguing way.
A good read (haha). Definitely recommended. But don't look for it to make you question anything important....more
Virtual History is a pseudo-academic work that explores "counterfactual" questions. It answers questions such as "What if J.F.K. had not been assasinaVirtual History is a pseudo-academic work that explores "counterfactual" questions. It answers questions such as "What if J.F.K. had not been assasinated?" Which is of interest in a semi-modern setting. It also answers questions like "What if Charles I had not sued for peace with the Scots in the 1640s. The questions are actually quite interesting, but they are "Anglo-American" centric (the book's own term).
There are several annoying things about this book, but happily only one of them permeates the text. The text is about 50% about counterfactuals, and 50% about why counterfactuals are (a) interesting, and (b) not just academic exercises. In fact, one gets the impression that history scholars may be dealing with a wave of "things happen because the masses are pushing that way". And Niall Ferguson is doing his best to show that that's not a reasonable way to look at situations where a single person really did make or break a given historical decision.
The annoying thing that permeates the text is the author's use of humor. Its not "ha ha" humor, its more like: "this guy was a scumbag and I don't understand why anyone even cares about him", angry, humor. I want to call it political, but he seems to do it to both traditional and progressive icons equally.
The last thing that seems to be worth pointing out is that I think the "Anglo-American" angle is hit too hard (though it might be the target audience). Also, a number of details we have learned about the world in the last 30 years don't seem to be covered in much depth (such as: a 3000 year old society doesn't just cave because an outside force invades it with superior weaponry).
Overall, the book is an interesting read if you're a history buff. You may find it a little one dimensional at times, but if you're into Anglo-American history, there is a lot of detail you can dig into....more