Book Reviews

I finished three books last weekend on the trip back to Wisconsin. The first one, "Newton on the Tee", is one that I've been reading off and on for a while. It's a straightforward summary on the physics of golf: what a good swing is, how technology helps the game, etc. I learned a little bit about the ball and club design that I didn't know before. It's not a technically-advanced book so anyone can pick it up and learn from it with ease. Frankly, I think more golfers should read it as they'll realize they'll never be Tiger Woods so stop shelling out hundreds of dollars on equipment that really won't help and just enjoy the walk.

The 2nd book, "Exploiting Online Games" was overall a dissapointment. I guess I was hoping for so much more, but it felt like the authors has to purposely hold back on a lot of details due to potential legal backlash. That may not be the case, but the code in the book doesn't look professional (lots of "// TODO - make this configurable" comments - yuck! That should never appear in the final product as far as I'm concerned.). It may work, but I wondered if they pulled the code from online game hacking sites so they could say, "here's an example of what you could do, but we didn't write it so we're not liable." They even admit in a chapter that they had to pull some material for legal reasons. They also mention a rootkit engine that they wrote but as far as I can tell it's not released (I went to this page but the book doesn't have a web site yet). And the images in the book suck. They're awful. They're fuzzy, the text they contain is too hard to read - I'm amazed that such poor quality got all the way to the end product. I really wanted this book to rock, but it felt very hit-and-miss. The technical details are very good in spots; it others, it's clear-as-mud at best.

The final book is "In the Woods". Before Liz and I headed out to Vegas, we stopped at a bookstore. I really didn't want to pick anything up as I already had enough reading material in my bag (and frankly I didn't want to spend the entire vacation reading), but before we left this book's cover caught my eye. I decided to buy it and I couldn't put it down. It's a mystery/thriller about a man who, as a boy lost two of his friends in the woods to an event that he can't remember. In the present day, he's a detective, and the murder of a 12-year-old girl in his hometown brings him back to his own lost memories, and the potential that the two cases are related. I don't want to give anything away, but (you may want to stop reading at this point - potential spoilers) the ending is a bit of a letdown. I didn't mind that one of the main plot lines is unresolved; frankly, I liked that. But the other story line was tied up in a way that just felt...empty, for lack of a better term. I liked how she used a minor fact that you read at the beginning of the book in a major way at the end (I completely missed it, although I remembered reading it before), but the resolution of the murder case was kind of flat. But the rest of book was really good - like I said, I was reading it whenever I had a chance in Vegas.

* Posted at 08.20.2007 07:08:00 AM CST | Link *

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