Found in 9 comments on Hacker News
LocalMan · 2015-04-07 · Original thread
A much more complete book than K&R is "C: A Reference Manual", which has much better explanations.

See it here:, at its home page.

Or at Amazon here:

Turn to this book when you have questions. The authors are Harbison and Steele. If you become a C programmer, you will want and need this book. So you may as well get a copy now.

Another (more advanced) book is The C Puzzle Book.

It's older and I'm not sure it's totally up-to-date with the latest version of C. But it's still very valuable. If you finish this book, you will be a C ninja, and it isn't too hard.

K&R is outdated, in my opinion, because it is too skimpy.

greenyoda · 2015-01-29 · Original thread
This list really just scratches the surface of the standard C libraries and C syntax. You can't really call it comprehensive if it's missing something as fundamental as memcpy(). As a truly comprehensive reference for serious C programmers, I'd recommend this book:

C: A Reference Manual, by Harbison and Steele

(That's the same Guy Steele who's known for his work on the Common Lisp specification. He's a man of many talents...)

Goladus · 2011-08-26 · Original thread
Just a note for anyone reading the Crenshaw book, in chapter 9 he notes:

    The C language is quite another matter, as you'll see.   Texts on
    C  rarely  include  a BNF definition of  the  language.  Probably
    that's because the language is quite hard to write BNF for.
There is now an excellent reference that includes a full BNF Grammar for C(C99):

(This book didn't exist when the tutorial was written)

andrewcooke · 2011-06-01 · Original thread
Effective Java is the best book for general Java that I know - It's not a tutorial, but a collection of recommendations that could take you from just-learnt to competent.

Very slim, and very good - Javascript: The Good Parts

For a C reference, Harbison & Steele is excellent -

parenthesis · 2011-02-16 · Original thread
The excellent, C: A Reference Manual (5th edition) covers C99.

Goladus · 2010-07-17 · Original thread
For learning C I strongly recommend C: A Reference Manual (Harbison and Steele), not K&R. Read K&R for context, sure, but Harbison and Steele is more up-to-date and comprehensive while still a concise language reference. That book can basically answer almost any question about the language standard that isn't compiler-specific.

1331 · 2010-03-23 · Original thread
I highly recommend _C: A Reference Manual_ by Harbinson and Steele. It has many tiny examples, but it is mainly used as a reference manual (as the title suggests).

A good book for learning C is _Mastering Algorithms with C_ by Loudon. The source code is over-commented and contains too much white space, which is a bit annoying, but the content is quite nice.

hga · 2010-01-02 · Original thread
Back in 1980 K&R didn't really work well for me beyond the most basic things, the Lions' Commentary on UNIX 6th Edition, with Source Code did the trick, and it will teach you some basic operating system and UNIX things that are still quite useful. A classic, it's a copy of V6 UNIX with (the first really widely distributed one) including a few device drivers with lots of excellent commentary. See for online copies.

The best reference manual is C: A Reference Manual by Harbison and Steele,

If you like Guy Steele style language reference manuals (e.g. Scheme, Common Lisp, Java) you'll like this; they wrote it for the CMU compiler spinoff Tartan Labs so there would be a rigorous reference.

Bluesmoon's suggested books are also excellent.

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