Interesting Books

This is a short post to let you know about some interesting books I’ve recently finished that you might find interesting.

The Atlas of Unusual Borders

Or to give it its full title The Atlas of Unusual Borders: Discover intriguing boundaries, territories and geographical curiosities by Zoran Nikolic. I blame Barry Rowlingson who threw a link to it into a twitter discussion on borders, so I had to buy it. And, to be honest I’m very happy I did, it is an atlas of “interesting” border enclaves and other geographic oddities. So if like me you’ve ever wondered why Belgium has some many enclaves (and exclaves, and counter-enclaves) (or you just wondered what those are) this is the book that you need in your library. It also answers questions such as which capital city is a ghost town too? Plymouth, Montserrat to save you trying to look it up. This is a fascinating book with nearly every page leading to a “I didn’t know that”. My only minor quibble with it is the colour scheme of the maps, I really struggle with maps where the land is blue and the sea is grey, and with the highlights as yellow it is probably not a book for anyone with blue/yellow colour blindness.

git commit murder and git sync murder

This pair of books by Michael Warren Lucas, are murder mysteries set at technical conferences. If you have ever been to an open source conference (such as FOSS4G) then you will recognise many of the characters in these books. In the first book set at the (fictional) BSDNorth conference our hero Dale Whitehead sets out to give a technical talk but is sidetracked by the death of his room mate (and the weight of his laptop bag, which he seems to never get around to clearing out). I found this a very believable account of free software development, technical conferences and Unix hackers, though while I may have considered killing a user I’ve never actually done it!

git sync murder sees Dale forced to attend another conference despite his promise to himself to never leave his apartment ever again. Once again, things quickly spin out of his control and that laptop bag is no lighter than last time. I loved both these books and can thoroughly recommend them if you are at all into whodunits.

Finally, if you enjoy conferences/convention books then I’ll throw in Charlie Stross’ Dechlorinating the Moderator which I read in his collected Toast volume which reports from a futuristic 2018 Particulate 7: HiNRG & B-OND conference, for a fun short story.