Recently I felt a sudden need to re-acquire two books I gave away before returning from Germany to the U.S. a decade ago. Although I’m not a very materialistic person in general, I have strong attachments to books that have influenced me or that represent something I value highly.
The first book was Jim Gray ‘s Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques. Ten years ago I was working on distributed systems, and I studied Gray’s book closely; although it was published in 1992 and I was working in 2009-2010, Transaction Processing remained the best treatment of its subject. Like David MacKay’s Information Theory, Transaction Processing is both well-written and challenging to read. I still remember the shock of Gray’s disappearance in 2007, just as I was starting to appreciate his work.
The second was A Book of Dreams by Peter Reich, the son of Wilhelm Reich. I had learned about Wilhelm Reich in college, but I didn’t know about his son’s book until I saw the video for Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting”, which is supposed to take place at Orgonon.