As many people know, I’m a huge fan of O’Reilly books. What really gets me are the animals on the O’Reilly books.

Now I’ve been a fan of O’Reilly books for quite a long time, and when I talk of some of my favorites, I refer to them by their animals – “the rhino book” (Javascript) and “the camel book” (Perl). I’ve found O’Reilly books in general to be great reference books that I actually use often, as opposed to books kept for reference but hardly ever used.

In college, some of my classes actually used O’Reilly books as reference books, rather than using boring textbooks. Then again, my instructors weren’t just instructors; they also worked in the non-academia world and knew what we would find useful once we were in the working world.

Now that I’m in the working world, I keep a couple O’Reilly books on my desk as reference – my “rhino book” and “the koala book” (HTML & XHTML). Thanks to my ACM membership, I have access to Safari Books Online, which means online access to O’Reilly books. There have been many times where I’ve referred to them while at work, which has saved me a lot of time and research. Thankfully, I can keep a bookshelf in Safari Books Online and store books as needed, up to a certain amount of slots. My current bookshelf includes “the circular saw book” (Windows Developer Power Tools) and “the angelfish book” (Programming WCF Services).

I realize that I just mentioned an O’Reilly book that doesn’t have an animal. In my day job, I am a web developer, and there’s a section in this book called “Enhancing Web Development” that I referred to when I first got back into full-time web development. It was quite helpful, so I keep it around to remind me of simple things, even though some of it may be outdated. Even though it doesn’t have an animal, it’s still an O’Reilly book and it’s cool enough to stay on my virtual bookshelf.

So what triggered this entry? I’ve been dealing with them for swag for Cleveland Day of .NET, and they’ve been wonderful to deal with. (Sorry guys, the VBA book had nothing to do with it.) If I talk about them again, you’ll know that I’ve had yet another awesome experience with them that just compelled me to blog.

As for the title of this entry, I realized that I edited that part out before I published this. There is an O’Reilly dream behind all of this. One of my dreams when I was in my early days of college was to actually find out what it takes to become an O’Reilly writer. Well, I’ve found the process, so maybe I’ll propose VBA 2008 and they’ll take me up on the offer. Who knows… maybe there’s a niche market that they’re willing to cater to (like all 10 or so of you who have this odd obsession with VBA and want me to do open spaces on it)!