Picking up books again

You can’t deny the power of a good book. And yet, for the past years I relied mostly on blog posts and hands-on experience when it came to learning and keeping up in tech. Some of it due to being hard to combine with family life, blogging and basically everything else that comes your way, but a few weeks ago I decided to get back on track and start working my way down that built up book backlog.

Getting started

I bought a Kobo Aura Edition 2 after a lot of contemplating and information gathering, purchased a few ebooks and got ready to read until my eyes hurt. Getting books on the Kobo is a breeze, simply plug it in your laptop and copy the epub files to your reader. I immediately fell in love. Being able to takes notes, highlight and look for more information on certain words while you’re reading is super neat. Not only does it, in my experience, work better than a paper alternative, you can get a complete overview of all your notes and export them where needed afterwards. Given that my main use case is to learn and study, this feature is key in turning this into a success story.

The only thing that kept bugging me was the slow response time when opening a book or swiping to the next page. Only after looking into this, and learning about ebooks and the epub format, I realized you can have a huge difference in performance depending on the format settings. Luckily, fixing this is rather easy. Download Calibre, install the Kobo Touch Extended plugin and reformat the epub files. I made sure to split files larger than 20KB in the epub output, this allows for fast responding ebooks and the smaller size hasn’t got any impact on your reading experience. An extra, and not to be taken lightly, advantage of the plugin, is that it automatically converts epub to kepub when selecting Send to device in Calibre. This provides you with additional reading insights and even better response times. I now convert every epub to this format before adding it to my Kobo (extra thanks to Kris Hermans for pointing me to this information).


If you want to read, and you’re looking for interesting deals like me, you’d want to know where to get free ebooks that are worth your time. I get my books from a couple of sources:

The last two often have interesting deals so you can get books cheap. Also, Humble Bundle offers interesting deals on ebooks. Make sure to keep an eye out for interesting stuff. And in the end, there are a lot of books out there worth every penny.

Here are the books listed in the order I will read them of which I’m certain I will actually read them. have a look for inspiration, or add your own recommendations and/or sources in the comments below. Stay tuned for a review of Pro Git edition 2 which I finished reading last week. I can already recommend it to anyone working or wanting to get started with Git.

  • DevOpsSec - Jim Bird
  • The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win - Gene Kim
  • The DevOps Handbook - Gene Kim
  • Using Docker - Adrian Mouat
  • Docker Security - Adrian Mouat
  • The Art of Software Security Assessment - Mark Dowd
  • Automate the Boring Stuff with Python - Al Sweigart
  • The Little Go Book - Karl Seguin
  • Modular Programming with Python - Unknown