books I read 2011

Once when I picked up a book from the local library, the librarian asked to tell her what I thought about the book when I would bring it back. Well, why not write a few lines about all the books I read so everybody could see what I thought about it? I'm often also happy to have friends recommend a certain book or tell me this and that is not really worth reading. I won't comment about the tons of books I have read so far, but about books I read from now on.

1-star recommended not to read it empfehlung das buch nicht zu lesen
2-star not too interesting nicht allzu interessant
3-star average durchschnittlich
4-star good reading gutes lesematerial
5-star highly recommended sehr empfohlen

Overview of all Books


Overview of all Books

titleChild 44
authorTom Rob Smith
ISBN-100-446-40239-7
ISBN-13978-0-446-40239-2
impression4-star
date2011-Jan-04


Leo Stepanovich Demidov, once a hero of war, well trained, is now a successful and dedicated officer of the MGB, the State Security force in Moscow. He does what is expected of him, what he is told to do, and he does not question his orders. Some things just need to be done to keep the system running, to work towards a brighter future. In secret, however, he does have second thoughts about some things going on. And when his superiors demand something very drastic of Leo, his patriotism falters. Expecting to be executed or at least being sent to the Gulag, he gets off very easy, being degraded and sent to some post far away. Punishment or slow torture? Leo does not know. But his real trouble only starts there and soon he finds himself up against the very system he had worked for his whole life.

Tom Rob Smith succeeds in painting a picture with his words. He gives the required background to understand the story, to understand the people, their way of thinking and their actions, albeit at times there are many pages between some at first seemingly unrelated event and the point where the relation becomes obvious. While the whole book is very interesting to read, and the things happening seem to be really possible, I felt the very end, were the mystery is solved, is a bit lukewarm and far fetched, not too logical. But that's only my personal interpretation and despite that, I enjoyed reading this book.


titleNight Fall
authorNelson DeMille
ISBN-100-316-85849-8
ISBN-13978-0-316-85849-6
impression3-star
date2011-Jan-19


At the five year memorial service for the victims of the TWA Flight 800 crash, Kate Mayfield talks about the investigation of the crash to John Corey, a former NYPD homicide detective now working for the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force. It is the first time Kate talks about it. She was working on this case five years ago, but she is not at all happy with the official statement about the cause of the crash. Of course, to give John some inside information and point out some irregularities is like teasing a hungry dog with a steak. He goes for the bait and starts digging around this old case on his own time and against explicit orders from his superiors. The warnings form the higher ranks only make him more suspicious.

While the story is laid out fine and interesting enough, the style this book is written in needs some getting used to. Not only is it all told from a first person perspective, but also very conversational. In numerous places John tells the reader something just to follow it with "Just kidding." This book by Nelson DeMille is ok, but he has written better ones.


titleCity of Bones
authorCassandra Clare
ISBN-101-416-95507-0
ISBN-13978-1-416-95507-8
impression5-star
date2011-Jan-27


Clary Fray is just an ordinary girl, or at least she thinks she is until she learns about daemons, shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires and more such creatures. And shortly after she sees such creatures for the first time, Clary is already deep in trouble. It's not her fault, though, but nevertheless there is no piece of mind and battling some of these creatures is the only way to survive. Piece by piece she learns who she really is, what her mother never told her and why.

This is the first book of the Mortal Instruments trilogy. Right from the beginning the reader dives into an expanded dimension of the world as we know it. There are many groups of species which are not always too friendly with each other. The book is inherently interesting and absorbing. It very much tended to stick to my hands, preventing me from doing much else till I reached the last page. But I can write no more, the second book in the series is right there on my desk and I just can't resist...


titleCity of Ashes
authorCassandra Clare
ISBN-101-416-97224-2
ISBN-13978-1-416-97224-2
impression5-star
date2011-Feb-04


This book carries on right where the first one in the Mortal Instruments trilogy, City of Bones, left off. And I don't think it would be good to read this again fantastic book without having read the previous one; there is no explanation any more of the main characters or their circumstances, like why Simon gets so sick seeing an episode from a Dracula film on TV or the role of Valentine.

The Mortal Cup is not enough for Valentine. He wants more and he surely does not hesitate to use dark forces to get what he wants. Jace is imprisoned by the Inquisitor of the Clave for his alleged conspiracy with Valentine. But Jace as well as Clary find they have some special powers beyond what they thought possible. The shadowhunters are up against more evil than ever, more vicious daemons than what they usually fight and not everybody survives...

Just like the first book, this is an absolutely absorbing page-turner, even though towards the end I could have done with less fighting and bloodshedding.


titleCity of Glass
authorCassandra Clare
ISBN-101-416-97225-0
ISBN-13978-1-416-97225-9
impression5-star
date2011-Feb-14


The third book in the Mortal Instruments series is as fascinating as the first two, City of Bones and City of Ashes. In fact, the three books actually are one huge book split into three volumes. Each subsequent one picks up where the previous one left off without either a break nor any explanation what had gone on in the story before. Unlike some other series, where each book can stand by itself, the only way to read the Mortal Instruments series is in the correct order.

Clary finally is going to the City of Glass, to Alicante in Idris. She wants to find Ragnor Fell, who is said to be the only one able to help her mother, who is still lying unconscious in hospital. But Clary does not arrive in Alicante the way she thought she would. As it turns out, the city also faces some never seen mayhem courtesy of Valentine. And both, Clary and Jace learn what shocking thing Valentine has done to his son, what he made him.

It is extremely difficult to tell anything useful about the gist of the story in this series without spoiling it. Just as difficult as it is to put the books away once you opened the first page. As I'm now through the three books in record speed, I finally can catch up on lost sleep...


titleFreeSWITCH 1.0.6
authorAntony Minessale, Michael S. Collins, Darren Schreiber
ISBN-101-847-19996-8
ISBN-13978-1-847-19996-6
impression2-star
date2011-Mar-09


While a wiki is a really good means of keeping documentation up to date, especially in a project which is constantly moving forward at a good pace, documentation in a wiki usually is rather troublesome for the newcomer who first has to learn the ropes. For a first overview and as an introduction to a new topic, books are a much better choice and they definitely are much easier to read. So after struggling for some time to get a hold on the topic through what was available on the wiki, I was really looking forward to this first book on FreeSWITCH.

Indeed, the book did fill in some gaps I had, especially it was helpful for understanding the overall structure of FreeSWITCH better. This is what the first chapter is about, the architecture, followed in the next chapter with a walkthrough of how to build and install the software on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. In chapter three the user is guided through a few test calls to get acquainted with making calls and how things work very roughly. The chapter also includes details on how to configure some SIP phones. The remainder of the book goes deeper into configuration, dialplan, the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) engine as well as the event system architecture. The information is presented in mostly logical order and configuration samples are given throughout the book. In this respect, the book is absolutely fine.

However, in areas not directly related to the information it tries to give the reader, there are severe shortcomings. From the beginning to the end I couldn't get rid of the strong impression that this book either was produced without the hand of an editor or that instead of the final an earlier draft made it to the printer by mistake. Many of the samples contain wrong commands or settings, obvious even to a FreeSWITCH-almost-newbie like myself. A few mentioned commands or API calls make you wonder whether they are mentioned just as a reminder to add a more detailed explanation later. Also typographically the book has scope for improvement; the section, subsection and sub-subsection headings all seem to be the same font and size, making it sometimes hard to decide whether the next heading starts a new sub-topic or a new top-topic until you read half through it.

Maybe I'm spoiled from reading too many well produced technical books, but this definitely is not the kind of quality I expect from a publisher of several hundred tech-books.

To learn about the general architecture of FreeSWITCH and what might be possible or if you are new to SIP and VoIP and want to work with FreeSWITCH, then the book is worth an investment, despite its shortcomings. But if you know your way only halfway around SIP, have already been working with another SIP server such as Asterisk or figured out what you absolutely need to know from the wiki, then stick with the wiki.


titleBad Luck and Trouble
authorLee Child
ISBN-100-440-24366-1
ISBN-13978-0-440-24366-3
impression4-star
date2011-Mar-26


The book starts with Calvin Franz falling from a helicopter at 3000 feed, without a parachute, not by chance and neither out of his free will. Some time later Jack Reacher gets a distress message from Frances Neagley, a member of his former MP team. Even ten years after they all left the service, they still stand in for each other and thus, if one of his former teammates is in trouble he's going to help, no questions asked. Jack quickly learns that it's not Neagley who is in trouble, Franz obviously was. But why? Soon they try to raise all the others as well.

A Jack Reacher story usually makes for some good reading and this one is no exception. Action packed from start to end. It's no news that rules and the law sometimes must be interpreted flexibly in order to prevent larger collateral damage. But the way Jack raises some money because he is more or less broke definitely is neither gentleman like nor terribly important for the greater good.


titleThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
authorStieg Larsson
ISBN-100-307-47347-3
ISBN-13978-0-307-47347-9
impression3-star
date2011-Apr-15


Mikael Blomkvist, a respected reporter, is convicted of libel. He hasn't done much to defend himself. Shortly after his conviction Mikael is offered a peculiar assignment by Henrik Vanger, a wealthy, retired industrialist. Henrik wants Mikael to write the biography of the Vanger family, but mainly as a pretext to have a thorough look at a crime which happened more than thirty years ago; the murder of Harriet Vanger.

The three Stieg Larsson books have gained tremendous popularity. This first book in the series is good, but to be honest, that's it. I have no idea what should be so extraordinary about it.


titleThe Girl who played with Fire
authorStieg Larsson
ISBN-100-307-47615-4
ISBN-13978-0-307-47615-9
impression3-star
date2011-May-01


This book is a continuation of the first one, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not only are there the same characters, but also the story continues, even though there is a break of about one year in between. There are quite a number of back references to the first book, but also some brief explanations what happened. So, while it might be possible to make head and tail of this book without having read the first one, knowing the previous story surely does help.

After her coup with the Wennerström's accounts, Lisbeth Salander has the funds to go travelling abroad. She spends about one year out of the country. Then, shortly after she gets back, the world turns against her. Completely. But Salander has an enormous fighting spirit and she is incredibly sharp. In the whole mess Salander's past finally surfaces. She has always kept to herself, refused to talk to authorities or psychiatrists. And finally some people do find out what 'All The Evil' was, that triggered this sort of behaviour. And even Salander herself finds out a thing or two about her past she was not aware of...

Some of the material in the book does not have anything to do with the main story and in hindsight seems to be completely superfluous. But possibly Larsson is going to pick up on it in the final book, just as lots of things from the first book very much influence what is happening in this one.

Even though this book is an absolute bestseller, personally I would rate it as good, but certainly not top.


titleThe Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest
authorStieg Larsson
ISBN-100-307-73996-1
ISBN-13978-0-307-73996-4
impression3-star
date2011-May-28


This third book in the trilogy is the best. If it were a book on its own, a slightly higher rating would be justifiable. But it simply is not a book on its own. It clearly is part two of the second book, 'The Girl who played with Fire'. The story goes on as if it continued on the next page rather than on the first page of another book.

After Salander has tracked down her father and they almost killed each other, they both end up in the same hospital. For Lisbeth, who needs to have a bullet removed from inside her brain, this means a very long stay in the hospital with no access to computers or the internet. On the other hand, people who want to harm her also don't have easy access to Lisbeth.

Because of the whole tumult about Zalachenko, some already retired staff from a secret unit inside the Security Police come aboard again and take command. The situation is exceptional and this calls for exceptional measures, not all of which are strictly legal.


titleTibet - Reisen auf dem Dach der Welt
authorAndreas von Hessberg, Waltraud Schulze
ISBN-103-897-94151-1
ISBN-13978-3-897-94151-9
impression4-star
date2011-Jun-13


Dieses Buch stand inmitten von Reiseführern für China und Tibet. Est ist aber weniger ein Reiseführer der während der Reise hilfreiche Informationen bereit hält, als ein Buch zur Vorbereitung im Vorfeld, um etwas über Land und Leute zu erfahren und was einen in Tibet etwa erwarten kann.

Der erste Teil widmet sich der Geographie und Geologie, dem Klima, der Flora und Fauna. Dabei muten die Autoren dem Leser vor allem im Teil über die Pflanzen Tibets sehr viel zu; dort tönt es eher wie in einer wissenschaftlichen Arbeit. Für die Autorin, studierte Biologin, vielleicht sehr einfach verständlich, für den Durchschnittsleser jedoch eher weniger. Auch über die Menschen, Medizin, Küche und die Geschichte Tibets inclusive Religion ist im ersten Teil einiges zu erfahren.

Im Gegensatz zum ersten, rund 130 Seiten umfassenden Teil, fällt der zweite Teil eher mager aus. Es werden hier auf rund 60 Seiten die wichtigsten Reiseziele und Sehenswürdigkeiten beschrieben, bis hin zu einem kleinen Kapitel 'Bergsteigen an Achttausendern'.

Sehr interessant zu lesen ist die lange Reisereportage der zwei Autoren über ihre Fahrradtour quer durch Tibet. Diese Reportage nimmt geanso viel Platz in Anspruch wie der zweite Teil.

Teil vier beinhaltet kurz und bündig die wichtigsten Tipps zur Ausrüstung, zugeschnitten auf Outdoor Reisen, bevor im fünften Teil, mit dem Titel 'Sprachführer', auf sage und schreibe vier Seiten (davon lediglich eineinhalb Seiten Text) das Thema Sprache zumindest erwähnt wird. Dieser fünfte Teil ist absolut unzureichend und wäre besser gleich ganz weggelassen worden.

Die rund 30 Seiten im Teil sechs 'Reisetipps von A bis Z' geben dagegen wieder etwas an Informationen her, incl. Listen für weiterführende Lektüre.

Das ganze wird abgerundet von einem Anhang bestehend aus einem mehrsprachigen Ortsverzeichnis, das als sinnvoll und hilfreich erscheint, sowie einer für die meisten Reisenden kaum sehr hilfreichen, achtseitigen Artenliste mit den verschiedenen in Tibet vorkommenden Tieren.

Wie bereits erwähnt, als Vorbereitung für eine Tibet Reise, um etwas über das Land, seine Leute und Geschichte zu erfahren, ist dieses Buch ganz hilfreich. Als Reisehilfe für unterwegs gibt es jedoch sicher bessere Werke.


titlePredictably Irrational
authorDan Ariely
ISBN-100-061-35324-8
ISBN-13978-0-061-35324-6
impression4-star
date2011-Jun-23


Are humans predictable? Mostly. Are humans rational? Not always. But the interesting thing is that even some of our irrationality is predictable, what Ariely nicely shows in his well written book which is not only enlightening but also entertaining.

Have you ever wondered about advertisements which contain one option which no sane person ever would consider? In the first chapter Ariely picks up exactly this situation and explains why this offer is there along the others. It is not an option the company actually wants to sell, but a way to steer us towards the offer it wants us to choose. Why are outrageously expensive things sometimes so much more desirable than comparable, but reasonably priced items? How comes we buy tons of chocolates when they are almost free, but we only take one or two if they are completely free? On the other hand we tend to easily give up a much better deal for one which is free but actually worse. Or why does a certain beer taste better if we're told what it contains only after tasting it, compared to being told before taking a sip?

In many real life situations we're acting irrationally, but do so predictably. Dan Ariely discusses lots of such situations and underlines each of them with multiple experiments. Knowing about this predictability allows us not only to make more conscious decisions, but also to see through some tricks used in advertising or possibly even to better understand how we might need to present something to make it more appealing to others.

While most of the information in this book might not be groundbreaking news to you, it is still worth reading. The statements of each chapter are always backed up by experiments and including their outcome. The whole book is very easy to understand, written in a conversational, easy to follow style, far from the unintelligible scientific hubble-bubble which could be expected for such a topic.


titleSkin Trade
authorLaurell K. Hamilton
ISBN-100-515-14805-9
ISBN-13978-0-515-14805-3
impression3-star
date2011-Jul-16


Anita Blake is a Vampire Hunter. A feared one. They call her "The Executioner". One morning she gets a gross present. After talking to the Las Vegas police she's on her way to there. It appears Vittorio, one of the most powerful and most gruelsome vampires, has resurfaced there. Vittorio and Anita have met before, when he slaughtered some men of her SWAT team and managed to escape. Now she gets another chance to kill him, or vice versa.

The story takes place in a time when both vampires and wereanimals live among humans, peacefully but with exceptions. Also witches and many other individuals with special abilities are abound.

Quite a number of characters appear in the book, including many boyfriends and lovers of Anita and at times it was not so easy to keep track of who is who. Also the concept that a single living, day walking person could be part vampire and part wereanimal at the same time was unusual. These do not always get along too well with each other in different stories. Even more unusual was the concept that the same person could be different wereanimals at once.

All in all, the book is fine, but a bit complicated and confusing at times. The end comes extremely quickly, giving the impression of "Ok, now I've reached the commissioned number of pages, let's stop here."


titleI Served the King of England
authorBohumil Hrabal
ISBN-100-679-72786-8
ISBN-13978-0-679-72786-6
impression2-star
date2011-Aug-02


The story of Mr. Ditie, a young Czech who starts out as a simple busboy at the Golden Prague Hotel and has a dream of becoming rich and a hotel owner himself one day. Ditie loves his work and has a talent for it and he uses his chances to advance. But World War II has a huge influence on his life. Becoming rich and a hotel owner, is that really what life is all about?

At first the book, which is sprinkled with rather pornographic scenes, which surprised me for a book originally written in the early 19-hundreds, appears to lead to a good story with a climax, but somewhere in the middle this turns around completely. There is no more clear aim, or much aim at all and it becomes more of a reflective text. The expection building up in the reader in the first part is never fulfilled. And people who like thought provoking literature whould probably not guess the second part was to their liking when starting to read the first part.


titleIhre Ausstrahlung - erkennen, entwickeln und bewusst leben
authorMichael Reiter
ISBN-103-448-09285-1
ISBN-13978-3-448-09285-1
impression3-star
date2011-Aug-05


Bezüglich Aufbau und Aufmachung ist das Büchlein sehr gelungen. Die 122 Seiten sind eineteilt in die vier Teile "Eine positive Ausstrahlung - aber wie?", "Finden Sie Ihr inneres Geichgewicht", "Lassen Sie Ihren Körper sprechen" und "Wie Sie auf andere wirken". Die zwei benutzten Farben sowie die Gestaltungshilfen werden konsistent und wirkungsvoll eingesetzt; sie unterstützen die Uebersicht ohne aufdringlich oder ablenkend zu wirken. Diesbezüglich könnte manch ein 'grosses' Buch mit einem viel höheren Preis etwas von diesem kleinen Büchlein 'lernen'.

Inhaltlich dürfte man enttäuscht sein, wenn man nur den ersten Teil des Titels liest: "Ihre Ausstrahlung". Beachtet man aber auch den zweiten Teil des Titels "erkennen, entwickeln und bewusst leben", dann stimmt der Inhalt. Der Autor weist immer wieder darauf hin, dass man eine positive Ausstrahlung nicht erlernen oder mit Tricks herbeizaubern kann; das muss von innen heraus kommen. Man kann allerdings Vorhandenes verstärken (bewusst leben) oder langsam ändern (entwickeln). Dazu muss man sich jedoch erst mal der eigenen Ausstrahlung bewusst werden (erkennen). Dies ist genau wo das Büchlein versucht zu unterstützen.

Sehr viele der Uebungen basieren auf Atemtechniken und Körperhaltung. Hier bin ich persönlich sehr skeptisch, respektive ich traue mir selber nicht zu, dies nur mit einem Buch zu erlernen. Auch gewisse andere Uebungen dürften viel effektiver in einer Gruppe und unter Anleitung durchzuführen sein als alleine im abgeschlossenen Kämmerlein. Persönlich hatte ich mir weitaus mehr Beispiele und Erklärungen dazu erhofft, wie gewisse Sachen auf Mitmenschen wirken und weniger Uebungen. Aber dazu hätte ich mir vielleicht ein Buch über Körpersprache kaufen sollen.


titleGraceling
authorKristin Cashore
ISBN-100-547-25830-5
ISBN-13978-0-547-25830-0
impression5-star
date2011-Aug-13


Have you ever seen a person with two differently coloured eyes? If so, you've seen a graceling, a person who is graced with a special ability. This could be a special skill in cooking, mind reading, archery, medicine, whatever. But not always is the exact nature of such a grace what it appears to be.

Katsa is graced with special fighting skills. Even though she is a girl, there is not the slightest chance even ten highly trained warriors attacking her at once could do her much harm. For Randa, the king of Middluns, her grace is a very useful tool. But Katsa has also her own agenda, unknown to Randa.

When Katsa encounters another graced fighter, for the first time in her life she meets an opponent worthy to train with her. Very soon they become good friends and they happen to become involved in an adventure that requires even them to go to the very limits of their abilities.

This is an exceptionally good book but don't even think about starting to read it in fine weather or when you have lots of other things to do; putting it down before you've read it all is tremendously hard.

I'm convinced Kristin Cashore has two differently coloured eyes herself and surely her grace it writing good books.


titlesed & awk
authorDale Dougherty & Arnold Robbins
ISBN-101-565-92225-5
ISBN-13978-1-565-92225-9
impression4-star
date2011-Aug-25


All of sed and awk that most unix users know, including many professional administrators, is 's/this/that/' and '{ print $1 }'

But there is so much more these two tools can do. And this book shows you how. In each of the two major parts things are laid out in a logical manner building up knowledge thoroughly from the ground up, all supported by lots of well explained examples.

Both, sed and awk, rely heavily on regular expressions and the authors don't let you down in this area either. Chapter 3 is dedicated to equip you with a well enough working knowledge of regular expressions. It surely is not as thorough as Jeffry Friedl's "Mastering Regular Expressions", but the chapter packs a lot of information into the 29 pages. Especially with awk, there are quite a number of different versions out there and they are not quite identical in feature scope. Differences among some major implementations are discussed as well. Finally, in the appendices, you can find a quick reference for both sed and awk.

As thorough (and even beginner friendly) as the book is, it does have one drawback: it is old. Much of the sample code deals with manipulating troff files or uucp logs. Both things many unix/linux users of today have no idea about. The reliance on such old samples is not a problem per se, they still do the job of demonstrating concepts and usage of sed and awk quite nicely. But these samples are much less applicable to sed/awk users today than they were twenty years ago when the first edition of this book was published. What I also think would be badly needed in an updated third revision is a discussion of how to use these tools with non-English charactersets and Unicode.

While this is an excellent book for learning to use sed and awk much more effectively, let's hope that the authors sometime get around to do an overhaul, provide samples which are more accessible today and also add a chapter or two about using these tools with the much larger and inherently more complex charactersets in common use today.


titleSo What!
authorMarlene Faro
ISBN-103-442-35625-3
ISBN-13978-3-442-35625-6
impression1-star
date2011-Sep-11


Das Buch handelt von vier Frauen, Freundinnen, in ihren Vierzigern. Langsam werden sie alle älter, Fältchen beginnen sich zu bilden, die ersten grauen Härchen werden sichtbar und Selbstzweifel erwachen. Und leider ist das auch schon so ziemlich alles. Vieles wird angefangen, aber nichts zu Ende erzählt. So What! hat keine Pointe, keinen Höhepunkt, keine 'Moral der Geschichte'; es ist einfach nur eine belanglose Erzählung, eine Momentaufnahme. Zwar versucht Faro ganz am Schluss plötzlich, auf gerade mal zwanzig Seiten, einen Höhepunkt zu erzwinen, scheitert aber kläglich.

Nicht nur fehlt ein Höhepunkt, auch der ganze Aufbau und Ablauf der Erzählung mutet zuweilen recht chaotisch an. Es mag ja angehen, dass ein neues Kapitel plötzlich von einer anderen Freundin handelt oder seit dem letzten Kapitel ohne Vorwarnung einige Zeit verstrichen ist. Aber es ist sehr verwirrend wenn dasselbe oftmals von einem Absatz zum nächsten gemacht wird und man erst mal einige Zeilen lesen muss, damit klar wird dass dies garnichts mehr mit den vorangehenden Abschnitten zu tun hat.

Nur eine einzige Zielgruppe kann ich mir vorstellen, die an diesem Buch Gefallen finden dürfte: Frauen in ihren Vierzigern, bei denen sich Fältchen zu bilden beginnen, die ersten grauen Härchen sichtbar werden, langsam Selbstzweifel aufkommen und die niemanden haben, um sich darüber zu unterhalten. Diese Gruppe von Damen könnte unter Umständen Zuflucht in diesem Buch finden, ein Ort, wo es den Hauptfiguren genauso ergeht, ein Trostspender der zeigt, dass es auch anderen genauso ergeht. Ansonsten: im Regal stehen lassen; die Wahrscheinlichkeit dass ein anderes Buch bessere Unterhaltung bietet ist gross.


titleSimple Genius
authorDavid Baldacci
ISBN-100-446-19946-X
ISBN-13978-0-446-19946-9
impression4-star
date2011-Sep-20


The private investigator team consisting of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell is at work again. Actually, as Michelle is not really well, Sean takes on the assignment by himself.

Up at Babbage Town, a high level research facility, he is to investigate the death of Monk Turing. Turing was found dead on the more than top secret CIA facility which sits just across the river. Everything points to a suicide. But why go to these forbidden grounds to commit suicide? And why is the FBI interested in the case too. When the top dog of said CIA facility personally summons Sean and the local sheriff to make it very clear to them this be better none of their business, Sean is sure something is terribly wrong here.

As a side story the reader also learns one of Michelle's secrets. There is a reason why the interior of her truck always looks like the inside of a dumpster.

Just like the other Baldacci books featuring the winning team Michelle Maxwell and Sean King, Simple Genius is a very captivating book, well written, well plotted and full of action.


titleGrundkurs Typografie und Layout
authorClaudia Runk
ISBN-103-836-21207-2
ISBN-13978-3-836-21207-6
impression3-star
date2011-Oct-18


Das Thema des Buches ist weit von meinem Fachgebiet entfernt, interessiert mich aber. Die fachliche Richtigkeit des Inhaltes kann ich mit meinen minimen Kenntnissen somit nicht beurteilen.

In den ersten rund 80 Seiten geht Claudia Runk erst mal auf die geschichtliche Entstehung von Schrift und vor allem Typographie seit 3500 v.Chr. bis heute ein. Auch zahlreiche Typographen und Schriftendesigner werden dabei vorgestellt. Danach geht sie, ausgehend vom einzelnen Zeichen über Wörter und Zeilen bis hin zur ganzen Seite, nicht nur auf Formen, Grössen, Hervorhebungen, Abstände ein, sondern auch auf Schreibregeln, Lesegewohnheiten und vieles mehr. Quasi nebenbei wird der Leser mit den entsprechenden Fachausdrücken bekannt gemacht. Die Wirkung der verschiedenen Elemente wird nicht nur erklärt, sondern auflockernd anhand von zahlreichen Beispielen dargestellt. Diese Beispiele dienen gleichzeitig sehr gekonnt als Gestaltungsbausteine auf den einzelnen Seiten.

Immer wieder wird auf Einstellungen in InDesign und QuarkXPress eingegangen, welche aber von Leuten, welche diese Programme nicht einsetzen, ganz einfach übersprungen werden können. Ein Kapitel beschäftigt sich auch mit Typographie im Web und im letzen Kapitel wird auf die Schrifttechnologien PostScript, TrueType und OpenType eingegangen.

Das Buch ist durchaus auch für interessierte Laien lesbar und informativ. Was ich etwas vermisst habe sind härtere Fakten was wann wo in welcher Grösse etc. benutzt werden soll. Zwar werden etliche generelle Daumenregeln genannt aber dann gleich wieder abgeschwächt indem darauf hingewiesen wird, dass man Regeln, die man kennt, bewusst auch umgehen darf, wenn man sie erst mal kennt.


titleGit
authorValentin Haenel und Julius Plenz
ISBN-103-941-84142-4
ISBN-13978-3-941-84142-0
impression5-star
date2011-Nov-11


Obwohl ich seit gut zwei Jahren regelmässsig mit Git arbeite und gut damit zurecht komme, konnte ich aus diesem Buch viel Neues lernen.

Im Gegensatz zu den meisten anderen Büchern wird nicht im Haupttext erklärt, wie Git zu installieren ist. Lediglich im Anhang A wird kurz darauf eingegangen. Das ist aber kein Problem; für praktisch alle Systeme stehen fix fertige Installationspakete zur Verfügung.

Im ersten Kapitel geht es neben den unverzichtbaren Grundbegriffen um die Konfiguration von Git. Schon hier werden Optionen vorgestellt, die in anderen Büchern erst sehr viel später oder garnicht behandelt werden, wie zum Beispiel Aliase oder automatische Fehlerkorrektur.

Nach dem zweiten Kapitel ist der Leser in der Lage mit Git lokal zu arbeiten; die dazu benötigten Kommandos werden ausführlich erklärt und auch das Objektmodell vorgestellt. Wieder fällt auf, dass die Autoren sich nicht auf das Minimum beschränken, sondern auch ein paar erweiterte Optionen erklären, die bei der täglichen Arbeit mit Git immer mal wieder sehr nützlich sind. So z.B. -p für git add oder die grep Funktionalität. Man merkt sehr gut, dass die Autoren Git wirklich im Alltag einsezten die Leserschaft an ihren gesammelten Erfahrungen teilhaben lassen.

Kapitel drei beschäftigt sich vor allem mit Branches, Tags und allem rund ums mergen, während das darauffolgende Kapitel einige fortgeschrittene Konzepte wie rebase, stash, bisect etc. erklärt.

Erst im fünften Kapitel, wenn man ein solides Verständnis von Git aufgebaut hat, verlässt man den lokalen Rechner und lernt mit entfernten Repositories umzugehen. Das nächste, relativ kurze Kapitel gibt Tipps wie Abläufe sowohl lokal als auch im verteilten Repository strukturiert werden können.

Kapitel sieben beinhaltet alle Informationen, welche man benötigt um einen eigenen Server aufzubauen, der Git Repositories für verteiltes Arbeiten zur Verfügung stellt. Dabei werden verschiedene Varianten betrachtet inclusive Gitolite, Gitweb und CGit.

Das zweitletzte Kapitel gehört definitiv in die Sparte fortgreschritten. Es geht um Attribute, Hooks, Referenzen und ganz allgemein darum, vieles zu automatisieren. In diesem Kapitel ist noch viel mehr als in den anderen sichtbar, dass die Autoren aus der Unix/Linux Ecke kommen. Während die vorgestellten Git Mechanismen sicherlich auch unter Windows funktionnieren müssten, sind alle Scripte für Linux ausgelegt.

Im letzten Kapitel wird sehr ausführlich erklärt, wie man mit Git an einem Subversion Repository mitarbeiten kann und wie ein Subversion Repository nach Git migriert werden kann.

Sehr zu empfehlen ist auch Anhang C, wo ausfährlich erklärt wird wie Git besser in die Bash und Z-Shell integriert werden kann, mit Kommando Vervollständigung und einem angepassten Comand Prompt.

Allgemein kann gesagt werden, dass dies ein sehr gelungenes Buch ist, welches auch von geübten Git Anwendern geschätzt werden dürfte. Für Anfänger dürften Kapitel 1, 2 und 5 erst mal interessant sein und die Lektüre des ganzen Buches nach einiger Arbeit mit Git erscheint als sinnvoll. Allerdings sollte man nicht den Anspruch haben, sämtliche erwähnten Kommandos und Optionen nach einmaligem Lesen zu kennen; viele davon kommen aus der Schublade "fortgeschrittenes Arbeiten mit Git" und sind in einigen Situationen ausgesprochen hilfreich, aber nicht überlebensnotwendig.


titleThe Secret Servant
authorDaniel Silva
ISBN-100-141-03695-8
ISBN-13978-0-141-03695-3
impression3-star
date2011-Nov-14


Gabriel Allon is an art-restorer, officially. Off the record, however, he is one of the best agents Israeli intelligence has. When a scholar doing terrorism analysis is murdered in Amsterdam, Gabriel is sent to his house to make sure nothing linking the dead scholar back to the "Office" in Israel will be found. But Gabriel can not even go out to get some Thai food for dinner without stumbling right into something big. An international chase of very well organized terrorrists starts.

Neither familiar with the history nor the political situation in the middle east, there were many terms and concepts which I did not really understand. Nevertheless, the fast paced story is understandable and interesting to read. But at times it is not quite so clear how Gabriel comes to some conclusions.


titleKörpersprache
authorTiziana Bruno und Gregor Adamczyk
ISBN-103-448-09299-1
ISBN-13978-3-448-09299-8
impression3-star
date2011-Nov-16


Ich finde dieses Büchlein ist ehrlich. Es will nicht dem Leser vorgaukeln, dass er mit ein paar einstudierten Körperstellungen sein Gegenüber einfach täuschen oder auf einen Blick das Innerste aus dem Gegenüber herauslesen kann.

Sehr wohl "sprechen" wir nicht nur mit Worten, sondern auch durch unseren Körper, aber jeder mit vielleicht einem klein wenig anderen Dialekt. Auch darauf hingewiesen, dass wir meist nicht authentisch wirken, wenn wir bewusst versuchen Signale auszusenden, welche nicht unseren wahren Absichten oder Gefühlen entsprechen.

Der erste Teil erklärt die Körpersprache. Dazu gehören Themen wie Haltung, Gang, Mimik, Gestik, aber auch Sprechweise. Intuitiv verstehen wir alle die Körpersprache, einige vielleicht besser als andere. Aber oft wissen wir nicht recht warum uns jemand sympathisch ist, weshalb gewisse Personen in Besprechungen dominieren oder warum uns bei manchen Verkäufern das Bauchgefühl rät "schliess keinen Vertrag bei dem ab". Die Erklärungen im ersten Teil können helfen, gewisse Situationen besser zu verstehen. Gleichzeitig lernen wir auch besser zu beobachten und verstehen was für Signale wir selber aussenden und warum wir vielleicht manchmal anders wirken als beabsichtigt.

Im zweiten Teil werden rund fünfzig Uebungen vorgestellt. Die eine oder andere mag hin und wieder ganz nützlich sein zur gezielten Entspannung oder Beruhigung.

Das Büchlein ist günstig und handlich im Format. Meiner Meinung nach ist es geeignet, dem Leser Signale bewusster zu machen, welche wir mit unserem Körper mehr oder weniger bewusst aussenden.


titleThe Collectors
authorDavid Baldacci
ISBN-101-405-09011-1
ISBN-13978-1-405-09011-7
impression4-star
date2011-Nov-25


Two seemingly unconnected stories start in this book and it is not before about the middle they finally become somewhat connected.

Annabelle Conroy is planning to relieve someone with a rather heavy bank account of some of his weight. For this she needs some help; a very skilled team and a precisely planned script.

Robert Bradley, a successful and influential politician is shot at a party. Jonathan DeHaven, librarian at the Library of Congress, dies at his workplace. Cause of his death: unclear. Nothing suggests these two deaths, and others to follow, have anything to do with each other. But when the members of the Camel Club have a look into the circumstances of DeHaven's death, they are convinced it was a well orchestrated murder.

As always, David Baldacci captures the reader right from the start and keeps things interesting throughout the whole book, even though the reader knows lots of things already early on and can guess a lot. But the why and how only comes bit by bit. By the way, how are the two stories connected to each other? Well, you'll have to read the book for yourself to find that out, I don't want to spoil it and you won't regret reading the book for yourself.


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Page last modified on 2011-Jan-16 11:26 GMT