Amazing LISP Books living again in Clojure

The LISP family of languages has a rich heritage, with some epic tomes gracing Computer Science history (and our shelves) over the years.  Clojure is the latest entrant in the LISP family, bringing concurrency advances and the richness of the JVM ecosystem to the table. For Clojure this means there is much legacy code to plunder reuse.

The Little Schemer

An old favourite for many people who studied this in College or at home – The Little Schemer is the way many people have started the road to LISP.  Described as ‘mind blowing’ by some – particular highlights include the ycombinator and the metacircular interpreter.  In Clojure you can find the following online:

Practical Common LISP

Practical Common Lisp is the modern Common LISP Pickaxe – the guys at ITA software hand this to grads to get them up to speed.   The guys at Relevance have spent some time bringing this across:

Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming

PAIP is a well known book that has aged well – and still remains a delight to flip through. The author Peter Norvig has served as the head of Computational Science at NASA and is now Director of Research at Google.  The opportunities for the Clojure community here are wide open because this book has some amazing stuff. In Clojure it looks like this:


Paul Graham has been an outstanding advocate and essayist for LISP, and many have explored LISP because of his writings. He’s also famous for his LISP startup Viaweb and it’s subsequent sale to Yahoo, plus his distinguished work in the YCombinator VC Fund.  One of his primary arguments in the essay ‘Beating the Averages’ is that LISP helps programmers by being more expressive (more powerful) and the tool that LISP has that other languages don’t is macros. How do we learn about macros? Paul Graham wrote The Book on LISP macros. Here is what it looks like in Clojure:

Lisp In Small Pieces

Lisp In Small Pieces

Lisp In Small Pieces is a wonderful book by Christian Queinnec. Lots of people have written a LISP interpreter. The author writes eleven interpreters and two compilers.

The opportunities for this to be ported to Clojure are wide open – and work has only just begun:



Updated 25 May 2013

Peter Siebel Reaction

12 thoughts on “Amazing LISP Books living again in Clojure

  1. @mnicky – I’ve set the comments to be moderated to keep spam down. The timezones are in Australian Eastern Standard time.

  2. Thanks Tim. I’ve struggled to find decent chunks of Lisp in Small pieces in Clojure code online. If you find some – let me know and I’ll post it.

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