This one will be short. Amazon.com has just listed volume 4 of Donald Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programming. (Actually “4A” but that’s OK.) If you know anything about this series, I do not need to say more. If you do not know about Knuth, it would take too long to explain the strangeness of seeing volume 4 actually being advertised. I won’t believe it until I get my hands on a copy.
Unfortunately, you have to buy the whole set to get Volume 4. What’s that all about? And it apparently has a different cover and binding. So I am angry, amazed, confused, and delighted.
I have the first three volumes. I paid serious money for them when I was a not-too-wealthy graduate student. The books have this wonderful quality of starting out simple and getting exponentially more difficult. (One of the “exercises” was to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem. After the book was published someone did it.) I did not get that far, but I did get farther than I ever thought I could. For that I will always be grateful to Professor Knuth.
My edition of Volume One is dated 1968; volume Two 1969, Volume Three 1973. Now Volume Four in 2011? I am having trouble with this.