Archive for the 'best science books 2009' category

Best Science Books 2009: Royal Society 2010 Prize for Science Books

Jun 17 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

This list is usually the very, very last of the best books lists of the year. It's a good list, but since it's UK-based there are a number of books that we probably won't be seeing on North American shores for another year or so. I'll probably get around to updating my 2009 summary list later this week or next week.

  • We Need To Talk About Kelvin: What everyday things tell us about the universe by Marcus Chown
  • Why Does E=mc2? (And Why Should We Care?) By Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  • Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne
  • In Search of the Multiverse by John Gribbin
  • Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic by Frederick Grinnell
  • God's Philosophers: How the medieval world laid the foundations of modern science by James Hannam
  • Storms of My Grandchildren:The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hansen
  • Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England by Steve Jones
  • Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane
  • The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist
  • Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell
  • A World Without Ice by Henry Pollack

Update 2010.07.09: Added Grinnell book which I somehow managed to forget initially.

2 responses so far

Best Science Books 2009: The top books of the year! (Updated)

Mar 22 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

For the last little while I've been compiling lists from various media sources giving their choices for the best books of 2009. Some of the lists have been from general media sources, in which case I've just extracted the science-related books. From science publications, I've included most or all of the mentioned titles.

What I'm doing in this post is collating all the books I've mentioned in all those lists and compiling a sort of master list of all the books mentioned three or more times. There were twelve of them and they are listed below.

Some notes/caveats:

  • These aren't in any way the "best" books of 2009, only the most popular books on year's best lists. For the most part, all the books mentioned wil likely be very good since they've attracted the most media "best" mentions. But, they are also almost certainly the books that had the biggest promotional budgets and sent out the most review copies.
  • There are probably one or two straggler "best of" lists that haven't come out yet. Library Journal, for example, does a list around the March time frame. (last year's) That's fine -- I just don't feel like waiting. I may update this list later on if it seems appropriate.
  • Similarly, there may be lists that were published that I just missed.
  • Finally, in some of the longer mainstreams lists that I did see, I can't guarantee I consistently pulled in the same "edge cases" in to my science-y lists. There were 25 books mentioned twice so one or two of those might have squeaked onto this list.
  • British, American and Canadian publication dates can mean that a 2008 British & Canadian book is a 2009 American book and vice versa. It happens. For example, I have the British paperback edition of Age of Wonder already.
  • There were 178 different books mentioned among the various lists. If you want to see my spreadsheet, just let me know and I'll email it to you. If I get more than one or two requests, I'll probably just load it into Google Docs.

Enjoy -- and good reading!

Here's the list, in descending order of mentions.

Any comments? First of all, there's not a whole lot of actual science among the books -- more edge cases or about historical or socail aspects of science. That's probably more a function of the number of pure science sources I found versus the mainstream ones. Second, not a whole lot of women on the list, unfortunately. Third, Logicomix is third, which is pretty cool.

Update 2010.03.22: Updated the list with books from Library Journal Best of 2009 Sci-Tech Books. The standings did shift a little, for example with the Dirac book going into second place all by itself. Also, four books were added to the list with 3 mentions: Catching Fire, Healing of America, Reading the Brain and Cold. There are also now 198 separate books mentioned among all the lists.

5 responses so far

Best Science Books 2009: Library Journal Best of 2009 Sci-Tech Books

Mar 11 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

A big list of 35 titles in various categories: Astronomy, Biography, Biology, Climatology, Environmental Science, Evolution, Geology, Health Sciences, History of Science, Mathematics, Natural History, Neurology, Oceanography, Paleontology, Physics, Psychology, Science, Technology, Zoology.

This particular list that Library Journal does every year is one that I always use for collection development. I'll order pretty well all the books that we don't already have. It's also heartening that a good chunk of the books that we do have were checked out when I checked the other day.

BTW, I may get around to updating my Top Books of the Year list...or I might not.

  • Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe by Gates, Evalyn
  • The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom by Farmelo, Graham
  • Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science by Yoon, Carol Kaesuk
  • Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance To Save Humanity by Hansen, James
  • A World Without Ice by Pollack, Henry N.
  • Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Brand, Stewart
  • What We Leave Behind by Jensen, Derrick & Aric McBay.
  • The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by Lovelock, James
  • Evolution: The Story of Life by Palmer, Douglas & Peter Barrett (illus.)
  • Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Wrangham, Richard
  • Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World by Zoellner, Tom
  • Taming the Beloved Beast: How Medical Technology Costs Are Destroying Our Health Care System by Callahan, Daniel
  • Experimental Man: What One Man's Body Reveals About His Future, Your Health, and Our Toxic World by Duncan, David Ewing
  • The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by Reid, T.R.
  • Science: A Four Thousand Year History by Fara, Patricia
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Holmes, Richard
  • Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist by Levenson, Thomas
  • The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics by Pickover, Clifford
  • One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World by Hempton, Gordon & John Grossmann
  • Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery by Nicholls, Steve.
  • Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City by Sanderson, Eric W. & Markley Boyer (illus.)
  • Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places by Streever, Bill
  • Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions by Barry, Susan R.
  • Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance by Restak, Richard, M.D.
  • World Ocean Census: A Global Survey of Marine Life by Crist, Darlene Trew & others.
  • How To Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever by Horner, Jack & James Gorman.
  • Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles by Halpern, Paul.
  • On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction by Boyd, Brian
  • Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Behavior by Dahaene, Stanislas
  • Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts. Includes: Shapes, Flow and Branches by Ball, Philip.
  • Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future by Mooney, Chris & Sheril Kirshenbaum
  • The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs by Belfiore, Michael
  • The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society by DeWaal, Franz
  • On Thin Ice: The Changing World of the Polar Bear by Ellis, Richard
  • Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution by Fraser, Caroline

4 responses so far

Best Science Books 2009: Amazon.ca

Jan 27 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

Oddly and interestingly, Amazon.ca has a different list that the US parent.

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity & Hope by William Kamkwamba
  • Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin
  • Wicked Plants: A Book of Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart
  • The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • Green Metropolis by David Owen
  • Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller by Jeff Rubin
  • Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis by Alanna Mitchell

This is one of the last lists I'll do for 2009 -- there are one or two more that will come later in the year but most of the lists that will be published have been. As such, I most likely have enough data such that in the coming days I'll be compiling all the books from all the lists and coming out with a master list of the lists. Should be interesting to see which books were popular enough to appear on multiple year's best lists.

One response so far

Best Science Books 2009: January Magazine & National Book Critics Circle

Jan 26 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

I thought I'd combine a couple lists that only have a couple of relevant items.

January Magazine

  • The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York by Matthew Goodman
  • The Bizarre and Incredible World of Plants by Wolfgang Stuppy
  • Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim
  • Planet Ape by Desmond Morris with Steve Parker

National Book Critics Circle

  • Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes
  • Strength in What Remain by Tracy Kidder

BTW, I'm running out of lists so if you know of any "best book of the year" lists for 2009 that I haven't covered yet, please let me know.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2009: Reference and User Services Association

Jan 20 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

The Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association has released it's list of 2009 Notable Books.

  • The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2009: The Times

Jan 19 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

A pretty extensive list from The London Times, across multiple categories: science, stocking stuffers, biography, graphic novels and nature.

  • Mad Science: 100 Amazing Experiments From The History Of Science by Reto Schneider
  • How To Make A Tornado: The Strange And Wonderful Things That Happen When Scientists Break Free by The New Scientist
  • Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
  • Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides Are Wrong in the Race Debate by Kenan Malik
  • Your Inner Fish: The Amazing Discovery Of Our 375-Million-Year-Old Ancestor by Neil Shubin
  • The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins
  • Decoding the Heavens: A 2,000-Year-Old Computer--and the Century-Long Search to Discover Its Secrets by Jo Marchant
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes
  • What's Next: Dispatches on the Future of Science edited by Max Brockman
  • A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster
  • Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou, art by Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna
  • The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle by Sara Wheeler
  • To Sea and Back: The Heroic Life of the Atlantic Salmon by Richard Shelton
  • The Running Sky: A Bird-Watching Life by Tim Dee
  • A Sleepwalk on the Severn by Alice Oswald

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2009: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jan 11 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

Two items in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's list.

  • The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid
  • The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution And The Birth Of America by Steven Johnson

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2009: Scientific American

Jan 07 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

Nice list of coffee table books, biographies and other books from Scientific American.

  • Galápagos: Preserving Darwin's Legacy edited by Tui de Roy
  • Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle by Michael Benson
  • The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton, and Antarctic Photography
    by David Hempleman-Adams, Emma Stuart and Sophie Gordon

  • No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale by Felice C. Frankel and George M. Whitesides
  • Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century by Masha Gessen. (A biography of Grigory Perelman)
  • The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America by Laura Dassow Walls
  • Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King by Brad Matsen
  • Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age by Kurt W. Beyer
  • The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures by Nicholas Wade
  • Green Intelligence: Creating Environments That Protect Human Health by John Wargo
  • Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life by Scott D. Sampson
  • Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football by Wayne L. Winston
  • Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity by G. A. Bradshaw

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2009: San Francisco Chronicle

Jan 06 2010 Published by under best science books 2009, science books

A nice list from the SF Chronicle:

  • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
  • A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon by Neil Sheehan
  • Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City, by Greg Grandin
  • Googled: The End of the World As We Know It by Ken Auletta
  • The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins
  • Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou
  • Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City by Eric W. Sanderson

One response so far

Older posts »