I have recently bought some books to help me with Java and programming in general and thought I would write a brief description of each here on the blog, something that I can add to as I acquire new books and hopefully others studying this degree will find them useful.
The first book is Java In a Nutshell 5th Edition published by O'Reilly.
This book is big, don't get me wrong, but already it has proved a loyal desktop reference. It contains the full Java API documentation and the author has descriptive chapters covering all the key parts of Java from the basics through to Threading and Security. I think its one of those books that will stick with me well beyond my degree and came highly recommended by my tutor and half of the Internet according to google.
The second book is Head First: Design Patterns also published by O'Reilly.
Don't judge a book by its cover! This book is incredible and I am only a few chapters in. It takes everything I've learnt about Object Oriented Programming and shows me how best to apply it in differing circumstances. The great thing about this book is the way it is written. It uses lots of pictures and activities to reinforce you learning and I personally think the OU could take a leaf out of the authors book (no pun intended) and apply it to some of there course materials.
Head First is a whole series created by leading technical authors aimed at flipping technical texts on there head. I really feel like the learning is sticking without too much effort and I am sure I will read this cover to cover. Once I'm finished I think I will pick up the Head First: SQL book as looking at the sample on Amazon it looks as good as design patterns (and I can hopefully skip the dreaded M359!! or at least make it less painful!)
Take a look at the preview of any of the Head First books and I'm sure you will agree that they are good, if you don't want to buy them try and get them from your local library as they are not worth missing out on.