What I've been reading:

How to Build a Shed

Sally Coulthard,Lee John Phillips

How to Build a Shed (2018, King Publishing, Laurence)

I bought this book over Christmas 2020 and spent the first three months of 2021 considering how and more importantly if I would follow its instructions.

On the surface the book appears to be a complete guide to building a decent looking shed-come-garden-room, with pages throughout adorned with beautiful illustrations on how to do things. However this is no idiots guide; while it does show you step by step how to do certain things almost every section of the book is written with some assumption of prior knowledge and I found some sections to have inconsistencies between steps.

With that being said, this book is an excellent rough guide and will get you far enough along to have a base, four walls and a roof framed out; leaving you, the reader, to learn elsewhere how to do the details such as sheathing the walls and house wrap (something the book leaves out entirely).

If you couldn't have guessed by now, I did in fact decide to follow the book; having been ground down by the extensive lock down due to the ongoing pandemic I spent a couple of weeks building my garden office. The book now battered, soiled and ready to be retired has served me well however I did not go about the endeavour with the book alone. You will find it a most excellent starting position, but YouTube guides and asking people on various forums will get you over the finish line.

Review published June 23, 2021. View on

Stimulating simulations

C. William Engel

Stimulating simulations (1979, Hayden Book Co.)

Considering this book was first published in the 70s it is arguably still relevant today. The BASIC language is by its name simple to pick up and work with and this book contains twelve different simulation games written in BASIC which are enjoyable to play.

Each chapter introduces the simulation scenario before showing an example of the program being run. Variables are documented and the program listings come with flow diagrams which help visualise the execution order and how decisions are made. The authors go so far as to suggest a list of minor and major modifications that the reader could make to each program in order to improve or personalise the experience further.

All of this goes together to make this quite honestly the best BASIC type in book in my collection; if you're a retro computing enthusiast then I strongly recommend you find yourself a copy for your collection too.

Review published June 23, 2021. View on

This books page layout was inspired by Cox Chapman's Books page.