If you are interested in a book about designing, building and tuning large distributed systems, this should be on your reading list.
This is a guide to building and managing large distributed systems, with an emphasis on client/server database applications. It is a seriously large book, both in terms of words to read and information contained! It is broken down into sections, the first one lays down some foundation knowledge, then there are some chapters on general design principles for performance, a section on more specific application development principles, a section on technology information and finally a reference section. Throughout the book there are 'guideline' boxes and as a nice touch, not only is there a large index to the text, but also a separate index to the guidelines by subject area.
I must admit this is a big book to read, but because it is logically structured, it is possible to jump to a chapter about a topic, such as database locking and read it reasonably independently of the rest of the book. I found that after reading the first section, it was easy to pick up the book, select a chapter almost at random and read it gaining useful information. It's probably not as structured a method of reading the book as the authors intended, but perfectly practical for those intimidated by the large number of pages to simply read the sections relevant to their particular needs. Hopefully most people will find it sufficiently interesting to read the rest of the book as well.
The style is very logical and easy to read, with good explanations and sensible advice. Just when a section seems to be getting a little heavy there is often an amusing little aside waiting to lighten the moment. You might imagine it would be difficult to find enough material in the subject matter to write a book this big without padding or repetition, but this book is proof that there is. If you are interested in a book about designing, building and tuning large distributed systems, this should be on your reading list.