Now that I'm done with the New Classics Challenge, it's time to come up with a list for the Science Book Challenge. I'm very excited about this challenge, and I had a lot of fun putting this list together. What can I say, it's the button. It does things to me. Of course, the fact that science is awesome also helps some.
The goal of the challenge is to read three science books in 2009, but of course I had to list more than three possibilities. I figured that it would be fun to come up with a science reading list I can return to even after the challenge's over. So lo! My list:
- Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman (both my boyfriend and Jenclair recommend this one.)
- Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey (I want to learn more about primates... I didn't have much luck with Goodall, but this sounds like it will be better.)
- Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (This is one I most definitely want to get to. I think it will help me gain a vocabulary to explain why certain things make very loud alarm bells go off in my head. This is a vocabulary I used to have, but I'm losing it because I haven't dealt directly with certain concepts in so long. And I can't let that happen. Basically, I need to read more science books. And look! There's a blog.)
- Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science by Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt (Because this is a topic that seriously pains me.)
- Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science by Alan Sokal (Because Alan Sokal's prank was awesome, and because I LOVED Dawkins' review of his book.)
- How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff (Along the same lines as Bad Science.)
- Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey (This just sounds so interesting.)
- The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species by Scott Weidensaul (Added to my wishlist thanks to Jeane.)
- Owls Aren't Wise and Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies about Wildlife by Warner Shedd and Trudy Nicholson (Same.)
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Surely this won't be whiny?)
- An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks (I've wanted to read something by Sacks for a while and this is the only one my library has.)
Today I discovered the Royal Society Prizes for Science Books. You can see a complete list of winners and shortlisted and longlisted books here. The list is great. I'm always afraid of picking up science books on my own, because what if I come across pseudoscience in disguise? No, the world won't end, but I will have wasted my time and possibly my money. The books on this list are sure to be reliable and well-researched, and since the aim of the prizes is to to encourage the reading, writing and publishing of high quality, accessible popular science books, I have a feeling they won't be boring either.
And last but not least, the Science Besiedged website also has a long list of science books.
(I wonder if the Science of Discworld books could count? They're a mix of fiction and non-fiction, but the science chapters are written by actual scientists. Hmm.)