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The following are mini-reviews of books I read in 2019.
Also see the full index of books I've read.

  [Book cover]

The New C Standard: An Economic and Cultural Commentary

by Derek M. Jones (Version 1.2, June 24, 2009)

Detailed commentary on the C Standard, ISO/IEC 9899:1999, known in the vernacular as "C99". The book is about 1600 pages in length, so I've been scanning the document until something catches my eye and then I settle down to read the section of the book more thoroughly.

For the coverage proper of the C Standard itself, the author picks out phrases, sentences, and longer passages from the standard and provides commentary under some or all of the following categories:

The overall commentary for each item chosen from the C Standard makes for fascinating reading. The author is very knowledgeable about C, C++, other historical and contemporary programming languages, and historical and contemporary computer architectures. I repeat: fascinating!

The introduction also makes for interesting reading; its approximately 150 pages look into the cultural, economic, and psychological aspects of computer programming, spread across the following sections (plus a couple of others):

The book can be downloaded for free in PDF form from the author's C Language Book Material page, which also has links to related resources. Also take a look at his The Shape of Code blog.

  [Book cover]

The Eyre Affair

by Jasper Fforde (Wikipedia) (pub. 2001)


  [Book cover]

Blood and Sunlight: A Maryland Vampire Story (Book 1, Maryland Vampire Series 2)

by Jamie Wasserman (pub. 2010)


Also see the two-part interview with Valencia Wood published by the Ellicott City, MD Patch:

  [Book cover]

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live

by Marlene Zuk (Wikipedia) (pub. 2013)


Dr. Zuk, on the brighter side of life:

After all, nothing says natural selection like a brisk round of the plague.

Word of the book: pleiotropy - "the production by a single gene of two or more apparently unrelated effects."

Pleiotropy means that a gene will often have multiple effects, acting at different times during the life span and on different organ systems.
(Also see "Pleiotropy: One Gene Can Affect Multiple Traits", by Ingrid Lobo, Ph.D.)

Also see the Zuk Lab at the University of Minnesota.

Alex Measday  /  E-mail