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Search in Book Reviews

The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
Search is a simple string search in either book title or book author. The full text search is a search of the text of the review.
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Title:
Read Me First!
Author:
various
ISBN:
0-13-142899-3
Publisher:
Prentice Hall
Pages:
355pp
Price:
£27-99
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
documentation
Appeared in:
15-5
As titles go this must be one of the least descriptive. The subtitle is a bit more helpful 'A Style Guide for the Computer Industry'. But that could easily lead you to think that it might be something about software/source code style. You would be completely mistaken.

This book is about writing, ordinary technical writing. In this context the injunction of the title is right on the mark. If you have never written before (or even if you have, but are yet to get glowing tributes about the clarity of your writing) this is a book that would be worth investing some time with before you write your next article, manual or book. Mind you, I am not happy with all the advice and examples in the book. For example the authors sometimes get so focused on one aspect of a piece of advice that they miss some other aspect. For example on page 10 concerning pronouns:

  • l Do not use first person pronouns

Incorrect:

We recommend that you install the custom components only on large systems

Correct:

Install the custom components only on large systems.

Now I do not know about you, but the correct version would seem to be:Only install the custom components on

large systems.

The book covers all forms of writing including writing for the Web.

While I am happy to recommend this

book as being better than nothing I think that the book (now in its second edition) would benefit from having a genuinely fluent writer of English involved in its next edition.

Much of the language is unnecessarily

stilted and thereby gets between the reader

and the content. In other words the content

is fine but the book fails to teach by

example.