These top Java programming books are very good Java books and I would say best of lot. Whenever a programmer starts learning Java first question he ask is "Which Java books should I refer for learning?", That itself says, how important Java books are for programmers. Despite so much free resource available in Java in terms of tutorials, tips, blogs and code example, Java books has there own place because of two reason :
1) They are written by programmers who are authority in subject
2)They cover the subject with more details and explanation.
These Java books are my personal favourites and whenever I get some time I prefer to read them, though I have read many of them already, I always learn something new when I read them again. They are kind of best Java books available today.
1) Head First Java
Head First Java is the best Java book for any programmer who are new in both programming and Java. The head first way of explanation is quite a phenomena and I really enjoyed whenever I read there books. I found them most interesting Java programming books for beginners but they are equally good for intermediate as well. Head first Java covers essential Java programming knowledge about class, object, Thread, Collection, language feature like Generics, Enum, variable arguments or autoboxing etc. They also has some advanced section on Swing, networking and Java IO which makes them complete package for Java beginners. This should be your first Java book if you are learning from scratch.
2) Head First Design Pattern
Head First Design Pattern is another top class Java book from Head First lab, I guess, this is so far there best title. When I started reading this book back in 2006, I didn't much about design patterns in Java , how they solve common problems, how to apply design pattern, what benefits they provide and all sort of basic things but after reading this Java book I benefited immensely. There is first chapter on Inheritance and Composition, which is simply fantastic and promote best practices by first introducing problem and then solution. They also have lots of bullet points, exercises, memory maps which help you to understand design patterns much quickly. If you want to learn core Java design patterns and Object oriented design principle, this is the first Java book you should refer. Head First design pattern is written by Kathy Sierra and team.
3) Effective Java
Effective Java is one of the best or top Java books in my record and most enjoyable as well. I have high regards for Joshua Bloch (writer of this book) for his contribution in Java collection framework and Java concurrency package. Effective Java is best for seasoned or experienced programmer who are well versed in Java programming and want to sharp there skill by following programming best practices, Java best practices and eager to listen from someone who is contributed in Java development kit. Effective Java as book scores high on quality, content and way of explanation. Reading this Java book is pleasant experience. Another important point of Effective Java is Item based structure which breaks whole book in small items and every Item is complete in itself, so you can read this book while travelling or short duration as well. On contents Effective Java is collection of Java programming best practices ranging from static factories, serialization, equals and hashcode to generics, enum and varargs and reflection. This Java programming book almost cover every aspect of Java in slightly different way then you are used to.
4) Concurrency Practice in Java
Java Concurrency in Practice is another classic from Joshua Bloch, Doug Lea and team. Probably the best Java book in Concurrency and multi-threading and one of the must read for core Java developers. Strength of Concurrency Practice in Java are
1) This book is very detailed and capture minor details of multi-threading and concurrency as well.
2) Focus, instead of focusing on core Java classes this book focus on concurrency issues and problems like deadlock, starvation, thread-safety, race conditions and then present ways to solve them using Java concurrency classes. This book is excellent resource to learn and master Java concurrency package and classes like CountDownLatch,CyclicBarrier, BlockingQueue or Semaphore. This is the biggest reason I like to read this Java book and read again and again.
3) One more strong point of Concurrency practice in Java is No nonsense Examples, examples in this book are clear, concise and intelligent
4) Explanation : book is good on explaining what is wrong and why its wrong and how to make it right which is essential for Java book to succeed.
5) Java Generics and Collections Java Generics and Collection by Naftalin and Philip Wadler from O'Reilly is another great book on Java, which I initially forgot to include in my list, but including it now as requested by many readers. I personally like this book because of its content of Generics and Collections, which is core areas of Java programming language. Strong knowledge of Java Collections and Generics are expected from any experienced programmer and this books help on that area. It explains each of Collection interface e.g. Set, List, Map, Queue and there implementation and compares how well they perform in different situation. I really loved there comparison chart at the end of each chapter.
6)Java performance from Binu John
Another good Java book which is my personal favourite. As we are moving gradually started from beginners level to intermediate and senior level. Java performance Book is all about performance monitoring, profiling and tools used for Java performance monitoring. This is another, must read Java book, if you are serious about performance in Java programming language. This is not a usual programming book, Instead It provides details about JVM, Garbage Collection, Java heap monitoring and profiling application. I lover there chapter on JVM overview and its must read to learn about JVM in simple language. Just remember this Java book is advanced in nature and expect that reader has experience in Java. Beginners and intermediate programmer can also benefit from this book but Its good to have some Java experience on your belt before reading this book. So far best Java book on performance monitoring.
7) Java Puzzlers
Java Puzzlers is another worth reading Java book from Joshua Bloch, this time with Neal Gafter. This book is about corner cases and pitfalls in Java programming language. Java is more safe and secure than C++ and JVM does good job to free programmer from error-prone memory allocation and deallocation, but still there Java has corner-cases which can surprise even experienced Java programmer. This Java books presents such Java pitfalls and explains them in detail. A good Java book if you love puzzles, You can even include many of these in core Java interviews to check how deep there Java knowledge is. I don't rate it as high as Effective Java and Concurrency Practice in Java but still you can give it a go. In order to get most of this Java book, tries to solve the puzzles by yourself and then look into explanations to make your knowledge more concrete.
8) Head First Object Oriented Analysis and Design
Another good book on Java programming and design principles from Head First series. Head first Object Oriented Analysis and design book can be read in conjunction with Head First Design patterns. This book focus on Object oriented design principles like favour composition over inheritance, programming for interface than implementation, DRY etc. One part of learning Java is writing good code and following best practices and this book is great in educating programmers about them. knowledge gained from this book is applicable to many object oriented programming language and will overall improve your understanding of code and design principles.
9) Thinking in Java
Thinking in Java book is written by Bruce Eckel who is also author of Thinking in C++ and he uses his unique style to teach Java concept. Many would agree that this is one of the best Java book and strength of this books are there to the point and intelligent examples. This is one of the complete book in Java and can be used as reference as well. There is a chapter on Java memory mapped IO from Thinking in Java which is my favourite. I would say this is another Java book which demands space in Java programmer's shelf and must read Java book for beginners, especially if you don't like Head First teaching style and rather need a beginners Java book with plain old example style, Thinking in Java is a good choice. It is detailed, matured and frequently updated.
This was my list of Top Java programming books and I would say best of lot. I have read all the books, some of them I am still reading and couple of them like Effective Java and Head First series, I have read couple of times. Many programmer ask me about which books they start, which Java book they read now. I hope you will find some good Java books in this collection.