Archive for the 'best science books 2011' category

Winners of the 2011 Lane Anderson Award Celebrating the Best Science Writing in Canada

Sep 29 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, Canada, science books

This past Thursday evening I was honoured to attend the awards ceremony for the 2011 Lane Anderson Award which celebrates the best science writing in Canada.

The winners were announced at the end of the evening. This is from the press release, which doesn't seem to be online yet:

Toronto. 2thth September, 2012: The two winners of the 2011 Lane Anderson Award were announced today by Hollister Doll and Sharon Fitzhenry, Directors of the Fitzhenry Family Foundation, at an intimate dinner in Toronto. The annual Lane Anderson Award honours two jury-selected books, in the categories of adult and young reader, published in the field of science and written by a Canadian. The winner in each category receives $10,000.

Adult Readers

The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History by Harry Thurston (Greystone Books)

The distinguishing elements of this book are its superb design and visual features. With stunning photography and well executed maps and illustrations, The Atlantic Coast is brilliantly published. Moreover, the text is not overshadowed by the visuals and is pleasantly integrated into a very accessible and informative volume. Valuable both for its scientific fact and its readability, The Atlantic Coast is a delightful book for study or simply to delve into. -- The Jury

Harry Thurston is the author of several collections of poetry and more than a dozen non-fiction books. He has also written for Audubon, Canadian Geographic and National Geographic.

Young Readers

Nowhere Else on Earth: Standing Tall for the Great Bear Rainforest by Caitlyn Vernon (Orca Book Publishers)

Weaving together biology, ecology, history, and the social sciences, Caitlyn Vernon demonstrates the interconnection of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada. Not only does this comprehensive book have substantial science content and current information about northern regions of this impressive province, it also offers engaging side-bars with personal stories, facts and trivia, and most importantly, call to action, demonstrating the ways that even young children can make positive differences for a more sustainable future. A very important book, well designed with engaging and interesting information told in a conversational style. -- The Jury

Environmental activist Caitlyn Vernon guides readers through a forest of information, sharing her personal stories, her knowledge and her concerns. Caitlyn has a background in biology and environmental studies, and is currently a campaigner with Sierra Club BC.

A reminder of what the award is about from their website:

The Lane Anderson Award honours the very best science writing in Canada today, both in the adult and young-reader categories. Each award will be determined on the relevance of its content to the importance of science in today’s world, and the author’s ability to connect the topic to the interests of the general trade reader.”

The annual Lane Anderson Award honours two jury-selected books, in the categories of adult and young-reader, published in the field of science, and written by a Canadian.

The winner in each category will receive $10,000. Two three-person jury panels drawn from the Canadian academic, publishing, creative and institutional fields will review submissions in the two categories. The jury will be announced with the winners at an event in Toronto in mid September.

And this year's complete shortlists:

Adult Readers

Young Readers

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2011 Lane Anderson Award Shortlist: Celebrating the Best Science Writing in Canada

Aug 28 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, Canada, science books

I saw an article in the Quill and Quire announcing the shortlist for the Lane Anderson Award, celebrating the best in Canadian science writing.

The Lane Anderson Award honours the very best science writing in Canada today, both in the adult and young-reader categories. Each award will be determined on the relevance of its content to the importance of science in today’s world, and the author’s ability to connect the topic to the interests of the general trade reader.”

The annual Lane Anderson Award honours two jury-selected books, in the categories of adult and young-reader, published in the field of science, and written by a Canadian.

The winner in each category will receive $10,000. Two three-person jury panels drawn from the Canadian academic, publishing, creative and institutional fields will review submissions in the two categories. The jury will be announced with the winners at an event in Toronto in mid September.

And here is this year's shortlist:

Adults

Young Adults

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Best Science Books 2011: The top books of the year!!!!!

Mar 30 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

Every year for the last several years I've collated and extracted the science books from all the various "best books of the year" lists in different media media outlets. I've done the same this year for books published in 2011! I can tell it's been popular among my readers from the hit stats I see for this blog and from the number of keyword searches on "best science books" or whatnot I see in my analytics program.

Back in 2009, I started taking all the lists I could find and tallying up all the "votes" to see which books were mentioned the most times. An interesting exercise, to say the least! While the "winner" wasn't in any sense the best book of the year, it was certainly very revealing to see what the most reviewed and acclaimed book was. Since that post was very well received, I decided to do the same thing for 2010 books and once again this year for 2011 books.

As with previous years, some of the lists have been from general/non-science media sources, in which case I've just extracted the science-related books. From science publications, I've included pretty well all of the mentioned titles.

This year I've looked at 82 different lists, spread among 50 different posts. The last two years I looked at 60 & 33 different lists over 46 & 32 different posts, so I had significantly better coverage this year. That was mostly thanks to the amazing work gathering Year's Best Book lists over at the Largehearted Boy blog. Thanks!

Given the number of lists I'm covering this year I was tempted to up the number of mentions needed to make the list from 4 to 5 but I've decided to keep it at 4 since it lets me slip in some Canadian content. As a result, I'm listing 25 books this year compared to 21 last year and 16 the year before.

Some notes/caveats, mostly similar to previous years:

  • These aren't in any way the "best" books of 2011, only the most popular books on year's best lists. For the most part, all the books mentioned will likely be at least decent since they've attracted a fair bit of critical attention. But, they are also almost certainly the books whose publishers had the biggest promotional budgets and sent out the most review copies. Realistically speaking, of course, Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs probably falls into that category. The attention paid to it and the buzz around Jobs probably gave it a bit of an extra push amongst reviewers than many of the others. Like Skloot's Henrietta Lacks book last year, it also had quite a bit of crossover appeal and was the only even remotely scitech book on quite a few lists. If it was the best reviewed, it was probably also the widest read.
  • There are probably one or two straggler "best of" lists that haven't come out yet and I'm sure there are a bunch that I missed. Since I saw so many lists, I feel pretty confident that the list is fairly representative of reviewer sentiment.
  • 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 numerous books mentioned twice or three times so one or two of those might have squeaked onto this list. Of course, I can't guarantee complete accuracy in any of the steps of the whole process. Sadly there is no small army of research assistants helping me compile these lists.
  • British, American and Canadian publication dates can mean that a 2010 British & Canadian book is a 2011 American book and vice versa. It happens.
  • This compilation is being published a couple of months later than last year and that's mostly because the whole RWA/Elsevier Boycott/FRPAA thing sucked up most of my blogging energy over the last couple of months.
  • There were 266 different books mentioned among the various lists. My list is in a Google Docs spreadsheet here. If you have any questions about the spreadsheet, just let me know.

Enjoy -- and good reading!

  1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (25)
  2. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick (15)
  3. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker (13)
  4. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard (11)
  5. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer (11)
  6. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (11)
  7. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson (8)
  8. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman (8)
  9. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene (8)
  10. In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy (7)
  11. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean (7)
  12. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor (6)
  13. Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World by Lisa Randall (6)
  14. The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin (6)
  15. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutch (6)
  16. Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss (6)
  17. The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water by Charles Fishman (5)
  18. Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku (5)
  19. Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser (5)
  20. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery by Andrew Westoll (4)
  21. Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. by Philip Connors by Philip Connors (4)
  22. Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author,Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn (4)
  23. Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet by Tim Flannery (4)
  24. Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen (4)
  25. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal (4)

My thoughts? First of all, there's a fair bit of actual science among the books, not just more edge cases or books about historical or social aspects of science. That's a nice trend to see continuing. Second, not a whole lot of women on the list, unfortunately, with four being the same number as last year on a slightly longer list. I also like to see a few good technology books, like the Isaacson, Levy, Hohn, MacGregor and McGonigal.

And it there was one overwhelming theme or trend it's books on the environment and sustainability. There's a great big bunch of them coming from several different angles and that's nice to see.

BTW, I really do appreciate the comments I've gotten both online and off about the usefulness of this bizarre project/obsession. It can be a bit of a slog sometimes as well as taking up a good bit of my available blogging energy during the late fall and sporadically during the winter, so the comments help keep me motivated.

One response so far

Best Science Books 2011: L.A. Weekly, San Antonio Express-News, Canada AM

Mar 15 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

Dear FSM, by all that is unholy, I think this is the last one.

A final bunch of lists for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

Top Books We Read in 2011, by L.A. Weekly Writers.

  • The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

San Antonio Express-News: Best books of 2011

  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
  • The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick

Canada AM's best book picks of 2011

  • The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery by Andrew Westoll
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

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Best Science Books 2011: San Francisco Chronicle 100 Recommended Books, LA Public Library, The A.V. Club

Mar 15 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

A couple more lists for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.


San Francisco Chronicle 100 recommended books

  • American Anthrax: Fear, Crime, and the Investigation of the Nation's Deadliest Bioterror Attack by Jeanne Guillemin
  • Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by Richard White
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Los Angeles Public Library: Best of 2011: Fiction and Non-Fiction for Adults

  • Our bodies, ourselves by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective.

The Onion A.V. Club: The best books we read in 2011

  • Triumph Of The City by Edward Glaeser

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Powell's Books

Mar 14 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Powell's Books Staff Top 5s of 2011.

  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
  • Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
  • Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku
  • The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo
  • Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick
  • A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
  • Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay
  • Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men: The Surviving Elites of the Cosmic War and Their Hidden Agenda by Joseph P Farrell

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Wall Street Journal

Mar 13 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Year in Reviews: Wall Street Journal: Twelve Months of Reading.

  • The Quantum Universe: (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does) by Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Stephen Pinker
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty by Simon Baron-Cohen
  • The Art of Science: A Natural History of Ideas by Richard Hamblyn
  • The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: The Independent

Feb 12 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: The Independent Books of the Year: Science, History.

  • The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happen by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  • Wonders of the Universe by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen
  • The Magic of Reality: How we know what's really true by Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes by Steven Pinker
  • Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet by Tim Flannery
  • The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space by Mary Roach
  • A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil Macgregor

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: January Magazine

Feb 11 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: January Magazine Best of 2011: Art & Culture, Non-Fiction.

  • The Magic of Reality: How We Really Know What's True by Richard Dawkin
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
  • The Great White Bear by Kieran Mulvaney
  • Mnemonic: A Book of Trees by Theresa Kishkan
  • Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology by Alexis Madrigal

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

No responses yet

Best Science Books 2011: Cryptomundo

Feb 08 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, science books

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: The Top Cryptozoology Books of 2011.

  • The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff
  • When Bigfoot Attacks by Michael Newton
  • Tracking Bigfoot by Donald Wallace and Lori Simmons
  • In Search of Sasquatch by Kelly Milner Hall
  • Weird Waters: The Lake and Sea Monsters of Scandinavia and the Baltic States by Lars Thomas and Jacob Rask
  • The Water Horses of Loch Ness by Roland Hugh Watson
  • Loch Ness, Nessie & Me by Tony Harmsworth
  • Strange Monsters of the Pacific Northwest by Michael Newton
  • Monsters of Wisconsin: Mysterious Creatures in the Badger State by Linda S. Godfrey
  • Monsters of Illinois: Mysterious Creatures in the Prairie State by Troy Taylor
  • The Mystery Animals Of The British Isles: Gloucestershire and Worcestershire by Paul Williams
  • The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: The Northern Isles by Glen Vaudrey
  • The Cryptid Creatures of Florida by Scott Marlowe and Charlie Carlson
  • Monsters of the Gévaudan: The Making of a Beast by Jay M. Smith
  • The Werewolf Book (2nd Edition) by Brad Steiger
  • Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore by Benjamin Radford
  • Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology by Brian Regal
  • Tracking the Man-beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More by Joe Nickell
  • Owlman by Jonathan Nola
  • The Inhumanoids by Barton Nunnelly
  • Scattered Skeletons in our Closet by Karen Mutton
  • Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter by Josh Gates

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

(Dear FSM, I'm finally coming to the end of this. Just a few more posts to go, now that I'm getting back to it.)

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