Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top Five Friday: Science Books

Top Five Friday
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Top Five Friday: Top Five Books Related to Science:

Emma's List
1. The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins
This book is one of my favorites ever. I LOVE reading about evolutionary biology, and this book is fascinating. Dawkins describes anecdotes related to biology and evolution in a remarkably entertaining way. He focuses on the really cool bits and misunderstood aspects. You don't need a foundation in biology to enjoy this book, I sure don't have one!

2. Freakanomics and SuperFreakanomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
Economics: the dismal science! It's not so dismal or boring in these books. Levitt and Dubner strive to eliminate boring graphs and all that and make the application of economic thought really fun and interesting.

3. The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin
When I finally got around to reading this book I thought it would be sort of boring and dry, but it wasn't! It was actually beautifully written in addition to being one of the most important books ever written.

4. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
This book is all about how awesome science is in comparison to superstition. Sort of preaching to the choir in my case, but still really thought-provoking and a fun read.

5. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams
Yes, the man who brought us the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy provided us with non fiction as well. Which he still manages to write hilariously. The book is short, funny, and illustrated with photographs but is still a very moving account of some of the planet's most endangered species. I especially enjoyed the kakapo section, they sound adorable.

Emily's List (using a loose definition of science, since most of what I read every day is academic science)
1. The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. If you haven't read this book... seriously, where in the world have you been? If you eat, then you should read this book. By which I mean, everyone should read this book. You're putting it in your body, fueling your life... shouldn't you be able to identify what the food is, where it came from? I cannot emphasize the significance of food consciousness too much.

2. Snowball Earth, by Gabrielle Walker. Everyone loves the story of a maverick scientist! Seriously cool stuff here, a theory about climate feedback cycles leading to an Earth of the past, consisting of ice and snow. Kind of like the movie The Day After Tomorrow, except not preposterous and no Jake Gyllenhaal. I read this right before going into college, and reread it after finishing my Earth and Planetary Sciences degree. Fun read!

3. Arctic Dreams, by Barry Lopez. Considered to be one of the most significant writers in environmentalism, Lopez's book is a blend of biology/ecology, anthropology, and the significance of human interaction with the very fragile ecosystem that is the Arctic. His writing is beautiful. I'm overdue for a reread of this.

4. Hack the Planet, by Eli Kintisch. See review.

5. Krakatoa, by Simon Winchester. An engaging, detailed, written-for-the-general-public history of a significant volcanic eruption, linking the volcanic eruption to tsunamis, climate effects, and the religious politics between Muslims and Christians in the late 19th century.

*Emily's list is subject to change, as she is currently reading some very good science books, including two Pulitzer Prize-winning works.

Want to play? Post your list of five science related books in your blog, link back here, and comment so that I can add a link to your blog! Check back in a week for a new list.

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