Particularly dead authors
The sense of a novel arises from it's chapters, paragraphs and sentences. As these components slip by the sense changes. I've written on this blog about these changes in sense. I've written about the literary contexts, the historical contexts, and I've written about plots and themes.
What is the sense I get from reading The Joy of Clojure? I get a sense that I am learning something complex. I don't see themes and instead of mysterious plots with the tantalising potential for pathos, there's a table of contents. I don't get a sense of a developing text.
I do get a sense of context outside the text: of other languages, particularly Java, of a community of Clojurians writing idiomatic code, presumably on Github. I get a sense of history too: the LISP genetics, the development of computer science. I get a sense of industry: the production-ready Clojure code for creating trees, and how far the authors' contrived example is from the actual needs of a tree, as they say. The books emits intellectual curiosity and a ferociously dedicated and examining craftsmanship.
Code example by code example my experience is surely much more attuned to my existing skills and appreciation than it is for a novel, which is a much more curated experience. Someone from a Python background would feel very differently, as would a DBA, to say nothing of a technical non-programmer, to say even less of an artist or musician. The common materials of a novel are human lives, but the common materials of a technical book are esoteric. The thin threads of enthusiasm and generic erudition are too rare to ameliorate the overwhelming specificity of a technical book.
Other than meta-analysis of the above type, what more is there to say? It seems that authors are a lot deader here than they are for a novel.