The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Readings for April 2017

Geek Sublime by Vikram Chandra

Vikram Chandra is the author of one of my all-time favorite novels, Sacred Games. He's on the informal list of authors whom I periodically check up on in the book store to see if they have anything new. Well recently I did find a new work, Geek Sublime, which was serendipitously filed in the literature section rather than in the proper non-fiction section (where I would have never seen it).

What's this book about? Well, that's not exactly straight forward. It's a reflection on beauty in computer programming. If this isn't your field, you may have never heard of "clean code" and "elegant solutions", but for people who make a living instructions machines and have an aesthetic taste, these are valued.

This concept is presented beside a primer on Sanskrit poetry. Wait, what? Why? Well, Sanskrit has a reputation of being a more formal than natural language (due in part I believe to being held in a static form by tradition, and the nature of its grammar - though I cannot comment directly on either of these). The surprise is that this formal language has produced some beautiful poetry - hence the comparison with "the beauty of code."

Do you like computer programming? Are you curious about Sanskrit poetry? Recommended for you.