My long-awaited book, Martin Fowler's 2nd edition of Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code arrived yesterday. I'm looking forward to reading it.
My family tells me I'm a little odd that I enjoy this kind of reading. And, truth be told, some technical books are boring. It's not so much the topic, but the writer who makes or breaks the experience. I have read books on code that were awful and boring. And with technical writing it takes a great writer to make it interesting. Martin is one of them. Kent Beck, a contributor to Refactoring is another.
Earlier this year, I read Eric Meyer and Estelle Weyl's CSS: The Definitive Guide from cover to cover. Over 1000 pages, and they made it interesting.
Besides interesting, or maybe because they make it interesting, the time I spend goes beyond entertainment and enjoyment in the moment. After I finish with these books, I understand something new. I have something internalized that I can try out and experience for myself. Reading good code books makes me a better programmer.
So, for anyone trying to become a better programmer, I recommend the practice of reading good code books. Checking Stack Overflow is all fine when you have an immediate problem and are hunting for a ready solution – provided you understand the solution and aren't just copy/pasting. But reading the good books deepens the pool you have to draw from across the board.