If you're like me, you probably think of Unicode as "expanded ASCII" and that's about it. But there is infinitely more to the subject than I thought, and Unicode Explained by Jukka K. Korpela is an exhaustive reference to all that is Unicode. And in this increasingly global computing environment, you will need to know this information...
Part 1 - Working with Characters: Characters as Data; Writing Characters; Character Sets and Encoding
Part 2 - A Systematic Look at Unicode: The Structure of Unicode; Properties of Characters; Unicode Encodings
Part 3 - Advanced Unicode Topics: Characters and Languages; Character Usage; The Character Level and Above; Characters in Internet Protocols; Characters in Programming
Appendix - Tables for Writing Characters; Index
In concept, Unicode is real simple. An expanded character set using 16 bit encoding, and you can accommodate far more languages and symbols than straight ASCII. But the implementation is far more complex than that. Korpela starts with the basics of characters... what they are, what they mean, and the nuances involved. From there, you learn about how applications have to interpret the different encoding standards and handle things like case, sort orders, line breaks, etc. When I saw the size of the book (600+ pages), I wondered if the material was just a lot of reference tables that could be found online. Gladly, it's not... This is an exploration of everything that is Unicode, and you'd have to wade through a lot of web pages to even begin to glean the level and value of information that you'll find here.
If you have anything to do with programming or designing global software, this book purchase is a no-brainer. And even if you're not doing anything in that area right now, this is one of those reference titles that is worth having on your bookshelf and available for the first time you *do* need it. It won't take long to pay for itself...