[Tutor] Learning books

Alan Gauld alan.gauld at freenet.co.uk
Tue Dec 20 23:35:55 CET 2005

> Afternoon all, My son asked me what books I would like for Christmas this 
> year. So what would you recommend?

I love these questions! :-)

> I am a beginner here.

The question you need to answer is what do you want to get out of the book?

For example you could get a book that teaches you the basics of programming,
(and from this list probably doing so in Python). But after you understand 
it you
probably won't read it again.

My book, Learning Python and a few others fit in here.

Alternatively you could get a reference book that will be used constantly
*after* you learn but will be of limited use until then.

Programming Python, Python Prog on Win32, Python in a Nutshell etc
are good examples here

Or you might pick a specific subject area(Web, Databases, GUI, Games)
and get a book that focuses on that area. ie. A specialised tutorial and 

Text Processing in Python, Python & Tkinter Programming, etc are examples
of this genre

Finally you might get a more general computer science type book that applies
to all programming languages.

Code Complete, Programming Pearls, The Pragmatic Programmer and
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs are all examples here.

Or of course you might just opt for a novel, put your feet up and relax for
a few hours! :-)

FWIW The books I actually use most (for Python programming) are:

Python in a Nutshell
Python Programming on Win32
Tcl/Tk in a Nutshell (for Tkinter/Tix stuff)
Using C on the Unix System (for low level OS stuff)
[This is now superceded by Unix Systems Programming for SVR4
but I prefer the older books shorter explanations!]
Java in a Nutshell (for Jython)
Programming Pearls
HTML The Definitive Guide

And for general computing:

Code Complete
Programming Pearls
Software Engineering, A Practitioners Approach(2nd and 5th editions)
OO Design & Analysis(1st edition) by Grady Booch
Oracle 8 the Complete Reference (for SQL/Database topics)


Alan G
Author of the learn to program web tutor

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