Tal Cohen's Bookshelf: A Collection of Personal Opinions about Books


Science Fiction


Computer Science

Book In-Jokes
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The Fiction Collection
“I wonder... What's in a book while it's closed... Because as soon as I open it, there's a whole story with people I don't know yet and all kinds of adventure and deeds and battles... All those things are somehow shut up in a book. But it's already there, that's the funny thing. I just wish I knew how it could be.”
Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
The Science Fiction Collection
“A wild dream and a far one -- but no wilder and no farther than some of the dreams of man.”
Clifford D. Simak, City
The Non-Fiction Collection
“That's the reason they're called lessons: because they lessen from day to day.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
The Computer Science Collection
“Think of a computer program. Somewhere, there is one key instruction, and everything else is just functions calling themselves, or brackets billowing out endlessly through an infinite address space. What happens when the brackets collapse? Where's the final “END IF”? Is any of this making sense?”
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
Book In-Jokes

Here I try to maintain a list of book in-jokes: little jokes that most readers won't notice, hidden in otherwise serious books (for more about what “in-jokes” are, see at the end of the list).

I'll need your help: if you find any such in-jokes, let me know. Please include the word “injoke” in the subject.

The books are listed in no particular order.

Book Reviews Book Reviews: Fiction Science-Fiction Book Reviews Non-Fiction Book Reviews Computer Science Book Reviews

Simon Singh describes the fascinating story of the riddle that confounded the world's greatest minds for 358 years, in Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem.
Read more... Comments so far: 2


Roger Penrose's attack on strong AI, as presented in his book The Emperor's New Mind, is not an easy book to read (especially if you fear physics). The reader will learn much about physics and computing, but little, I'm afraid, about the book's real subject: artificial intelligence.
Read more... Comments so far: 1


Carl Sagan is best known for his popularization of physics. Many, however, will remember him for his contribution for the war against ignorance. The Demon-Haunted World is part of that contribution.
Read more... Comments so far: 4


Douglas R. Hofstadter's Pulitzer-Prize winning opus, Gödel, Escher, Bach, is one of those rare works of non-fiction that are nonetheless works of art. The book never says what it really is about: it deals with a very wide variety of subjects, from Abstract mathematics to Zen. But deep inside, it is really a quest for understanding human intelligence.
Read more... Comments so far: 2

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