Discussion moved from Go Books.
2002-11-1: Harpreet: I would like to see the dictionaries restored to this page. "Tesuji Dictionary" etc. are Go books and should be linked from this page. I organized a lot of this page thinking of it as a place where you could come and do a text search as well as see other related books etc.
A smaller dictionary page that you have to go to to find some books is not an interface improvement. All books should be linked here. I'll do it myself in a day or two unless there's some sensible objection (restored Harpreet's comment that started the whole discussion so that the discussion makes sense)
Hu: Best first check with SAS who seems to have made the most versions of the page and may have an interest. I have a slight bias in favor of putting everything on this page. The bigger question is should this page be reserved for English language books and translations in English. I think that might be a good policy after reconsideration of a prior addition or two I made.
Charles Matthews: I created the dictionaries page, for a reason - which was to discuss the kind of top-down picture of go they give one. I didn't expect that page to detract in any way from this one. Has it? My own preference is for shorter pages. I'd suggest that go books in English (around 100 titles possible) is enough for one index page. There are certainly 1000 titles in Japanese, if you include out-of-print books such as some of the dictionaries.
Harpreet: No it doesn't detract at all. I think it's sensible to have it but I think it's also sensible to link those pages from here. I think organization rather than raw length determines a text web page index's usefulness. If we keep a semantic organization I vote we keep linking from this page until it seems not useful or starts becoming a bad interface. I don't think it is there yet. I don't think it's usefulness has even peaked yet.
SAS: I removed "Tesuji Dictionary" because there is no such book, as far as I know. (There is a tesuji dictionary by Fujisawa Hideyuki, but it has a Japanese title.) But I really don't think we should be listing Japanese books on the Go Books page anyway - there are too many of them, and they will eventually overwhelm the English books. Best to have a separate Japanese Go Books page linked from Go Books. (In fact, I think a separate English Go Books page may be good too - remove all books listings from Go Books and just use that page for general information about go books and links to other go-book-related pages.)
Harpreet: Let's do this. Seems logical. Takes some page renaming though.
Kendrah: *shuffles in* Um, I's just wondering: how do you all learn from Go books? I'm still a Go newbie, so maybe I haven't learned the trick.
I read the book (I bought a few from the Elementary series) front to back or sometimes in different sections and it seems to go in one ear and out the other when I'm playing Go. I would break open my little Go board, but many people have told me that that's a crime against humanity (to set up the problems on a Go board) and that I'm destined to be sentenced to a big fiery place for such a thing, but I see myself understand it more if I can see it. (No one has actually told me why, but they always get saucer eyed and they're better then me, so I figure it can't hurt. I do find I always get the highlighted wrong answer when I just do it from the books. That's a true gift, I figure. ;) )
So, yeah. Thanks for your thoughts. :D I looked around and couldn't find anything like this so... *scurries away*
Blake: It depends on the book. Some books, like Graded Go Problems, require that you work through the problems in them. It's often good to do them repeatedly, even as they get easier, so that you internalize the lessons from each problem. Other books might contain game commentary; these, I think, are best served by playing through the games while reading the commentary. You can go through them several times for better effect. Other books like the Nihon Kiin Proverbs book (which I have enjoyed greatly) are easier; just read them repeatedly. You will notice differences in your play after every reading--or, at least, I have.
Scartol: Don't let anyone tell you how to learn. Go is like bowling is like Zen; you have to find your own path to skill. You have to be open to other peoples' ideas, of course, but for someone else to dictate (or intimidate) to you the terms of your intellectual development is both absurd, and -- to me, as an educator -- offensive.
So if it helps you to throw down the stones and see how it looks, go for it. After all, replaying professional games is a common technique among stronger players, so why shouldn't you play out the positions in the books you read?
I suspect that the eye-rollers (hereafter "the jackanapes") are indicating that you should learn to think about the position in an abstract way. This is a useful skill, but it comes naturally with practice. Have fun, learn the actual lessons from the books, and work on reading later.
Hu: Scartol is exactly right: Do it your own way, and have fun doing so. That way you will be most motivated. Let the jackanapes "should" each other to death. Here are three more ways that might appeal to you:
1) Read a little bit of a book, and then search through your own games to find places where it might apply to you or your opponent.
2) Flipping that around, review one of your games, or somebody's game that you admire, and try to find a section in your books that applies to an interesting point in the game.
3) Layout board positions from the books into an editor like CGoban2, explore branches and various lines of play until you are satisfied. Then go back to the position and visualize it in your mind. Keep exploring and going back (maybe spread over a few days) until you can visualize the main variations.
Blake: The attitude seems somewhat hostile. "Jackanapes?" "Eye-rollers?" Maybe people who are telling people how to use books are simply speaking from their own experience, and offering advice on how to start trying to get something valuable from them. I know when I said what I did above I didn't mean, "This way, my way, is the only way to learn." I meant: I have found this method useful. You may, too.
Hu: Perhaps you have misinterpreted, Blake. I'm sure that when Scartol referred to jackanapes, he was referring to the people who told Kendrah that playing book positions out on a board was a crime. By contrast, you had some good ideas, and didn't write "should" or "crime" once.
Scartol: Yeah, I wasn't talking about you, Blake -- you speak of what is often good and whatnot. I was referring to people who insist that there is one way to proceed on the board and in our lives (and I've run into many, many of these people).
JTron: It seems that much of the advice that is bad about learning Go (as opposed to Blake's advice, which is good) suffers from two fallacies: One, that everyone learns the same way; two, that there is only one learning method for all player levels (as Bill refutes below). There are so many learning styles - some learn by hearing, some by reading, some by doing - and each individual's style will change as they improve. Further, as one improves, they often will be able to revisit a book and find something there that the thought they understood (or not) before become even more clear.
Bill: Kendrah, as for the lessons of a book seeming to go in one ear and out the other while you are playing, one thing people warn against is trying to apply book learning during play. (There are some tips, called proverbs, that are meant to be applied during play, however. ;-)) Particularly at your stage of learning, the thing is to get so you see things when you play. That usually happens gradually, but sometimes things will gel suddenly for you. If it hasn't happened yet, not to worry. It will. :-)
As for playing through problems on the board, why not? There is something to learning how to work problems without doing so, but that's a skill to develop later.
There is something to memorization. It's not how I learned, but recent brain scan research suggests that pros make great use of memory. It may well be that recognition is more important than reading out variations. (OC, the two go together.) In that case, setting problems up on the board and playing them through may be better than sitting there trying to read them out while looking at a book, particularly at your level. If the answer is not something you played through, it's not a bad idea to play through the answer slowly, looking at each new position as it arises.
Evand: So, this looks like the best place to ask... How would I go about buying Japanese go books? I'm a student of Japanese, and would like to start putting my rudimentary Japanese skills to use. So, can anyone recommend a way to buy such books that doesn't necessarily require too much fluency in Japanese? I'm interested both in books like Attack and Defense (I already have the English version, which should make going through the Japanese easier), and also more problem-oriented books.
Fhayashi: One way is by internet mail order. http://www.amazon.co.jp is about as easy to use as amazon.com, except it's all in Japanese. The easiest way to look up books for ordering is by their ISBN number. Otherwise, Kiseido ( http://www.kiseido.com) sells Japanese books in addition to English books. Ordering from amazon.co.jp is cheaper, however.
Evand: Thanks, that looks helpful. Any idea where I could find ISBN numbers? I wasn't able to find anything on amazon.co.jp without them. The list linked from Reading non English books doesn't seem very helpful. Or am I missing something obvious? I don't live near any of the Kinokuniya stores, but I might be able to have someone pick something up for me. How helpful would they be to someone looking for titles who doesn't know any Japanese?
Velobici: Some books listed here at SL have ISBN numbers. Hopefully, in time, all books will be listed with their ISBN numbers. I have never been to one of the Kinokuniya stores. I hope to get to one this weekend. (written 20020825)
BobMcGuigan: I think Amazon.co.jp now has a lot of stuff in English. You can find the Go books if you can read katakana and know the kanji for igo 囲碁. Te simplest way to find go books is to copy the chracters for igo and paste them into the search bar. Following is a more detailed way to get to the section on go. Go to books in Japanese 本 (first heading in the list on the left on the home page), then look for "entertainment" in katakana (エンターテイメント), then look for igo 囲碁 (and shougi 将棋). Next click on the igo 囲碁 link. The search bar on the Igo section will search go books only, using kanji or using ISBN. It is useful when looking for books by a particular author (e.g. when you don't have the ISBN) to find any book by that author and then click on the author's name, which will bring up a list of all books by that author). Amazon.co.jp now has an English version of the checkout pages. In general the prices are lower than at Kinokuniya, even when shipping is taken into account. The Kinokuniya store in New York City does not have a large selection of Japanese go books in stock, but if you are looking for some problem books you might do all right.
Nemir: English Go Books on the new bibligraphy all have ISBNs listed in their details. This site is pretty comprehensive and searchable, so it should be easy to find the information you're looking for.
Question about books for beginners moved to RecommendedFirstBooks.