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

Sholom Aleichem was sometimes called “the Jewish Mark Twain”. His excellent novel The Bloody Hoax, recently translated into English, is a comedy involving harsh criticism on the blood libels that were common at the time in Russia.


We’ve come a long way from From invisible inks and secret codes, but cryptography still plays a very important role in war -- and secret love affairs. Bruce Schneier’s second edition of Applied Cryptography forms a great introduction and a handy refernce to the computer-based art of cryptography.
[Computer Science]


The future history of mankind is presented from a unique point of view in one of Clifford D. Simak’s best novels, City. A collection of short stories that follow one family over numerous generations, the book is most original and highly enjoyable.
[Science Fiction]


Richard P. Feynman, a Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics, tried very hard to be the source of a large number of annecdotes. The first collection of these annecdotes, <a href=”/feynman”>Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, is an ammusing book about a curious person.


Orson Scott Card was the first author ever to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards for two years in a row, let alone for a book and its sequel. The first book was Ender’s Game, the sequel was Speaker for the Dead, and together with Xenocide and Children of the Mind they form Card’s Ender Wiggin Quartet.
[Science Fiction]
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