the two halves of my tasty brain

Learn You a Haskell for Great Good

To be completely honest, I’m not much of a reader. My reading speed lies somewhere between “painfully slow” and “potentially illiterate,” so reading fiction, in particular, is more chore than hobby. I love works of reference when they have well constructed indices or, better yet, hyperlinks between related topics — my bookshelves and wikipedia usage can attest to this. I’m also fascinated with “meta-reading” fiction, where I read summaries, critiques and so forth of some work to gain insights into what it’s all about, but without reading the actual source material. This fascination is probably the only reason I didn’t fail every high school English class. The point of this, which I’m dangerously close to completely losing, is that my thoughts on a book are generally not of much use to anyone else.

With all of that in mind, I will say that Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! is probably the best book I’ve purchased in a while. I’m only into the 6th chapter now — again, painfully slow reading speed — but the tone, narrative, examples and pretty pictures make it an enjoyable read for me. There are externalities working in LYAH’s favor, namely my strong interest in Haskell as it appeals to “mathematics degree” brain, and a recent uneasiness I’ve developed regarding some elements of the Ruby/Rails world; however, I think the book would be just as engaging without these factors.

So, if you’re the kind of person who buys books based upon reviews that could have been written by an 11 year old, pick up a copy of Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! right now. Thank you, Miran Lipovača, for such a unique Haskell introduction.

On the topic of books, but not directly related to Learn You a Haskell, if you want a great introduction to combinatory logic, grab a copy of To Mock a Mockingbird by Raymond Smullyan. It’s entertaining, a fairly easy read and, unfortunately, out of print, so you’ll probably have to buy it second hand.