Agile Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

Meera has posted 70 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Top 5 Books I Read in 2008

  • submit to reddit

I read several books in 2008, 90% of them were technical. I also read a number of books related to software development rather than a specific framework or technology. Listed below are the top 5 books I read in 2008 in no particular order.

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship written by Robert C. Martin is one of the best books I read in 2008. This is the book for developers looking to produce better code. To be honest, any developer, software engineer, project manager, team lead or system analyst who develops an application or just reads code, should probably have a copy of this book on their bookshelf. Even though the examples in the book are written in Java, the book provides relevant information for developers using any language.


 Effective Java, Second Edition by Joshua Bloch with all the great advice and  updated to cover Java SE 5 and Java SE 6 features, was a perfect reference book. Generics, Enums, Annotations, and Exception Handling are very clearly explained, and with excellent code samples this came in handy when I was doing several code reviews.

Some of the other chapters which I reread were on General Programming, Serialization, and Classes and Interfaces.


The ThoughtWorks Anthology by ThoughtWorks well justifies its addition to the top 5 in 2008. The book is aimed at several different audiences. The book's coverage of its subject matter is exhaustive and obviously expert. This book is a collection of essays which covers a broad range of problems facing the IT industry and developers in particular throughout the software development life cycle. You'll find tons of pragmatic advice to improve the efficiency of your development efforts.

You'll find essays on varied topics like refactoring build files, testing for enterprise applications, single click software release and many more. The essays don’t focus on any specific language. This book and the varied essay’s are useful if you are using Java or .NET or any other language.


 Java Power Tools written by John F. Smart is enjoyable, extremely well organized and covers a wide range of open source tools needed for any successful software development life cycle. I would recommend Java Power Tools to anyone writing Java.

Java Power Tools can be used as an introduction to various technologies and also as a complete and easy-to-use reference work. After having read and reviewed numerous books over the past 5 years, I think it is safe to say that I have not read another book that combines the two aspects as thorougly as Java Power Tools does.


Groovy Recipes: Greasing the Wheels of Java written by Scott Davis shows that one way of thinking of Groovy is to say Groovy is Java. I was able to successfully use Groovy in several projects, and this was the book I referred every time I needed to find any groovier code.

The material in this book is very well organized for random access. Each and every chapter, and every section in each chapter is organized in such a way that it solves a specific problem or explains with excellent working examples some specific Groovy language feature.

These are the top 5 books in my library for 2008. What are the top 5 books in your library for 2008? Do you have any specific books on your wish list for 2009? 

As always share your thoughts with us.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Meera Subbarao.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Twice Tshwenyane replied on Mon, 2008/12/22 - 12:40pm

For me Clean Code is the best followed by Effective Java. Spring Recipes also deserves a special mention.

Meera Subbarao replied on Mon, 2008/12/22 - 12:48pm in response to: Twice Tshwenyane

[quote=twicet]Spring Recipes also deserves a special mention.[/quote]

Yes indeed. I read and reviewed Spring Recipes and gave it 5 stars for all the categories. I had to choose from several books I read. If I had top 10, it would have been in the list.

Meera Subbarao

Kenneth Mark replied on Mon, 2008/12/22 - 9:39pm

Indeed Clean Code is my year favorite book. 

aryan rahmani replied on Tue, 2008/12/23 - 4:20pm

Thank you for your recommendation, its very useful especially "Clean Code"

Raghunathan Sem... replied on Thu, 2008/12/25 - 10:39pm

I recommend every java developer to read Effective Java.  Do you blog some specific topics or design methodology/some interesting code snippets?

sea sar replied on Fri, 2008/12/26 - 9:21am in response to: Meera Subbarao


[quote=twicet]Spring Recipes also deserves a special mention.[/quote]

Yes indeed. I read and reviewed Spring Recipes and gave it 5 stars for all the categories. I had to choose from several books I read. If I had top 10, it would have been in the list.

Meera Subbarao


looking forward to your Top 10

sea sar replied on Fri, 2008/12/26 - 9:24am in response to: Raghunathan Semburakkiannan

the 1st Version is very classic. it is believed that the 2nd  is greater!

Anuj Mehta replied on Fri, 2009/01/09 - 6:04am

Thanks Meera for such a nice list of Books.



Simone Padovan replied on Mon, 2009/02/16 - 8:07am

Thank U very much Meera. I've just finished reading this book and I must say it was really a beautiful suggestion !

Lance Dacus replied on Wed, 2011/05/04 - 8:36am

When I was selling textbooks online I sold a lot of Java books especially "Effective Java, SE". I have to admit that I haven't read the other books in this 5 draft that you posted that's why I can't comment them. I promise I will read them in the near future and I'll return with an opinion. Anyway, thanks for the book titles!

Joel Llanos replied on Wed, 2011/05/18 - 9:42am

Thanks Meera for this list of great books,

my favorite book is Clean Code

Carol Anne Bane... replied on Thu, 2012/03/15 - 10:44pm

I work at a place where students sell textbooks and I have noticed that when some students sell certain books, they look really worn (pages dog-eared or folded over, lots of bookmarks, etc.) and that shows me the student is reading and rereading (i.e. very much using) those texts. There are too many to mention here, but it is very heartwarming to know that when lots of college students buy textbooks for their classes, they really use them a lot (rather than just sticking them on a shelf somewhere). Although I'm probably not smart enough to read and understand those books like students do, I did pick one up and start reading. I was not only impressed with the calibre of books nowadays, but I also have to greatly admire the smarts students have to be able to use such quality texts.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.