Summary of Recent Reading(July-September 2019)

The Little Elixir & OTP Guidebook by Benjamin Tan Wei Hao: an introduction to the Elixir programming language and the OTP framework that comes with it. It focusses on Elixir’s concurrency features and shows you what OTP can do(the book mostly focusses on GenServers and Supervisors) without spending too much time on the language itself– the idea being to get someone already familiar with functional programming excited about the features that set Elixir apart.

The book is slightly outdated and has a couple of typos but I found it a worthwhile read– it’s relatively quick to work through and the book tries to build up a good mental model of what OTP behaviours offer and when to use them. Of note is the chapter showing how you might implement a Supervisor using a GenServer.

Atomic Habits by James Clear: on how to cultivate good habits and cull out bad ones. And why you should focus on building up good habits in the first place. I don’t know how valuable for me this was personally. The book was easy enough to read, and it says sensible things. The problem is that I never find myself actively applying things I learn from books like these.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang: collection of short sci-fi stories. I liked it just as much as the author’s first book Stories of Your Life and Others. I don’t know if there is a name for the flavor of science fiction that Chiang writes, but he really nails it. I especially liked that the book included Chiang’s notes on what he was going for when he was constructing each story.

Orca by Steven Brust: book 7 of the Vlad Taltos series. The series seemingly seems to get better with every book. This book in the series is still fantasy and not financial thriller, but at times it tries to be. Also loved that big parts of the book are from the perspective of Kiera, Vlad’s friend and renowned thief.

[spoiler]<span class=”spoiler”> Vlad agrees to help a woman with her land getting foreclosed in exchange for her help healing Savn. This leads to the investigation of the death of Fyres, a shady Orca businessman. Vlad soon realizes that the situation involves a much larger scam and big banks covering up a murder for fear of going under if truth comes to light. </span>[/spoiler]

Dragon by Steven Brust: the next book in the Vlad Taltos series. I found some stretches of the book a bit of a chore to read, even though this is still a short book. Although that might have been because I took a longish break when reading the book.

[spoiler]<span class=”spoiler”>

Vlad enlists in Morrolan's army for war against Fornia, a Dragon
who's stolen something from Morrolan.