A few weeks back Ben Forta sent me a copy of one of his new books, the MySQL Crash Course. I've been a casual user of MySQL for a while now, but I typically prefer to use SQL Server. After reading this book, I have a much bigger appreciation for the power and usefulness of MySQL. There were many features that I simply wasn't aware of, and while I could have read the docs (I know, RTFM), I have to say that I really enjoyed the format of this book.

As an author, I've been a part of many "big" books (1000+ pages), and while they certainly have their place, I loved how quick and easy it was to read the Crash Course. I could easily skip over the stuff I already knew, and the material was very short and sweet. The size of the book also makes it a perfect desk companion. I'd love to see more books in this format, even a ColdFusion one.

As a side note, I'd recommend MySQL-Front for a visual client. It has had issues in the past, but seems pretty stable. I especially like the export options (html is one of them and is a great way to do a simple report). It isn't free, though, but 35 bucks is pretty cheap.