Every two months or so I buy a few technical, scientific (or maths) books. The format I like most is a few introductory chapters and then some reference material: this survives best the passing
of time; actually this seems to be some O'reilly pattern (at least if it's not a GUI-oriented book).
Anyway most of the time, especially when I cannot find something new that interests me, o something
sufficiently well written, I end up buying some perl book. About one month and half ago I bought Damian Conway Perl Best Practices (PBP) and Mark Jason Dominus Higher Order Perl (HOP).
The book did not appeal much at first, being a long sequence of recipees, but quickly I started looking at some of the chapters that interest me more, and simply could not stop reading; I read all the book "diagonally" and then started up again from chapter 1 to the end. Overall a great read and a fine reference to peel practices well worth of applying __now__