Books I have known and loved (or at least read)

Note: The links on this page go to via the amazon associates program set up for my wife's book reading group.   If you buy a book, they'll be able to afford another box o' wine.

These are most of the books I've read recently in reverse order (most recent first).   I say most because I've omitted the ones I really hated.

...been awhile since I updated this. I'll see what I can do...

Autobiography of Edward Teller, Hungarian physicist who, among other things, worked on the Manhattan project. I met him in 1983 at a conference; unfortunately, Jim Davis was there too (don't ask why.) The illustrious Bellingham Herald did a write-up of the event. Guess who got mentioned -- world famous physicist or sappy cartoonist?

Anyway, as autobiographies go, this is very well written and is much more interesting than you might imagine.

Good ol' Chuck (of "Fight Club" fame.) Don't read this if you're squeamish about anything.

On September 8, 1976, Nanda Devi (the girl) died on Nanda Devi (the mountain.) This is an account of the events. I generally get annoyed when people use the word "tragic" but it's actually appropriate in this case. Heroic figures with tragic flaws meet unfortunate ends.

You never know when you're going to need to do a little Palm programming...

A whole bunch of random DHTML, JavaScript, web books (links and references later):

I got this book at the airport to read on the way down to Santa Clara.  I didn't start it until the flight back up and finished it that night.  Krakauer was on Mt. Everest in 1996 during a storm that killed nine climbers and this is his story of the event.

A wonderful fiction about young Einstein (the patent clerk, not the Australian beer maker) and his dreams on the nature of time.  Highly recommended.

An excellent description of evolution and the theories of random mutation coupled with natural selection.  Nothing new (obviously) but well told and well supported.

A compilation of essays, speeches, letters and other writings of Albert Einstein.   Most of the pieces are taken from The World As I See It, Out Of My Later Years, and Mein Weltbild.  Very interesting if you're at all curious about Einstein as a person.

For those of us who memorized Class Clown way back when, here's George again -- ranting as usual.  He's the funniest person I know right after Eric Cartman.

This is John Krakauer's attempt to reassemble the final few years in the life of a boy who ditched everything, wandered the county and ended up dying in Alaska.  He makes a few big leaps based on very little information, but the book is engrossing nonetheless.


Applied Cryptography, Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C.  Everybody interested in coding cryptographic applications needs this.  Keep in mind the name though and don't go looking for anything other than very sketchy treatment of any crypto-theory.  Well organized and clearly written, it's a great reference and a reasonably entertaining read (as far as programming books go...)  You can also order directly from Counterpane Systems but you have to send them paper mail.

Privacy on the Line, The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption.  I just started reading this one, but it looks good so far.  I'll let you know.

My current favorite book on the history of cryptography and cryptanalysis.  I had very little historical context for the field of cryptanalysis before I read this book (something everyone needs, of course.)  Aside from being an interesting history, the book is dotted with descriptions of the classic code breaking techniques including many very easy to follow examples.

The classic and very entertaining history of the NSA.  A must read.