Charlie Harvey

December 2011 Reading

  • Never Let Me Go, by Katsuo Ishiguro

    Another Christmas gift from me old man, this is a 2005 novel which was made into a film last year. I’ve not seen the film. But the book is wonderful, a dystopian sci-fi, by turns tender and twisted. Ishiguro riffs on the fragility and isolation of childhood — the way that the outside world seems stange and incoherent and inevitable — and he extrapolates from that. Anarchist that I am, I also saw a lot of truth in its portrayal of adults unprepared to fight back against the system, who insist on asking the permission of others to escape their destiny.

    2011-12-31 by Charlie Harvey
  • How to Think About Algorithms, by Jeff Edmonds

    A third year uni text book covering a fair bit of familiar territory for anyone who has done a bit of computer science. The edge that this book had was its lucid explanations not of the maths so much but of the process of building an algorithm. I found it rather bemusing at points — my grip on even fundamental set theory being somewhat tenuous — nonetheless it'd clearly be helpful to someone studying computer science.

    2011-12-29 by Charlie Harvey
  • More of Southend Past: Edwardian Heyday, by J.R.Smith

    A Christmas gift from my Dad this. One of those sepia tinted picture books that is strangely compelling. I love the sense of strangeness and familiarity commingling that you get from an old picture of a place you know. The centrality of the Southend Corporation in developing a lot of the basic town infrastructure was something I didn't have a clue about.

    2011-12-25 by Charlie Harvey
  • Reamde, by Neal Stephenson

    There aren't many authors who I’d even consider reading in hardback. Stephenson is one. I think of him as something like the poet laureate of geek culture and Reamde keeps mining that vein based as it is in a World Of Warcraft-like game online as well as, let's see, Seattle, Idaho, China, the Phillipines, well, you get the idea. Its a proper unapologetic thriller, lots (perhaps too many) guns and explosions and baddies. Slightly silly but enormously enjoyable.

    2011-12-15 by Charlie Harvey
  • The Object Primer, by Scott Ambler

    The second edition of Scott Ambler's Object Primer was in my local Oxfam. Its and interesting document historically and bought back memories of trying to get my head round Java back in the 90s. Ambler's style is rather too business orientated for my taste but he covers a huge amount of material and I’d still recommend the book as a good intro to OO concepts.

    2011-12-14 by Charlie Harvey
  • The Revolution Will Be Digitised, Dispatches from the Information War, by Heather Brooke

    I’ve got no end of admiration for Heather Brooke. If you’ve not heard of her, she is the woman that was campaigning for the release of the MPs expenses way before they were leaked. The book deals with some general information war topics, but is mostly an inside story of the wikileaks adventure that has been going on for the last couple of years. Along the way Heather meditates on what it means to be a journo in a digital world, the role of privacy for the individual and the state and so on. Nicely written, insightful and fascinating bit of investigative journalism.

    2011-12-10 by Charlie Harvey
  • Pacifism as Pathology, by Ward Churchill

    I’ve felt that I ought to check out Ward Churchill's book for some time. After reading about the Makhnovist movement last month it seemed kinda obvious that you'd need to fight if you wanted to change the world. But a lot of lefties think that victory should only be achieved in the abstract realm of ethical superiority, not the concrete realm of actually winning. The interesting contribution that Churchill makes is in linking the pacifism of the left (a sort of vehement commitment to ineffectiveness) to the position of privilige that many of those people posses. Its in the interest of the white pacifists that there isn't revolutionary change, because their position of privilige would then be threatened. A compelling case, well made.

    2011-12-03 by Charlie Harvey


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