The other day someone asked me what my top 5 popular science books were, and it made me realize I have never mentioned that here! I love science, I do it during the day, and I read about it in my free time. So here I have listed my favorites, in no particular order:
1. The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
I did not expect to like this book so much, especially since its subject matter is most certainly not something I am inherently interested in: the history of the periodic table of elements. I had gone into this book thinking it would be cheesy stories about the elements, but I was dead wrong. The book was engaging, well written, and imparted so many fascinating facts not just about the elements but about the people who discovered them and named them.
2. A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg
I have probably said this enough, but I loved this book. I’ll just leave a link to the review here and move on with the list
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
While not strictly a “science book,” this piece of journalism covers the previously untold story of the woman behind HeLa cells, Henrietta Lacks. Not only did I appreciate learning the history behind the cell line and the woman herself, but the book also touched on the fascinating, and vitally important, questions surrounding medical ethics.
4. Stiff by Mary Roach
I love Mary Roach, and Stiff was the first book of hers that I read. It details potential avenues that your body might take after death if donated to science. Roach has an absurd sense of humor (if you’ve seen her TEDtalk, you know what I’m talking about) and is one of the authors out there that truly enjoys science, and it comes across in her writing. While not always delving into the deeper questions behind the science and leaving one pondering, she never fails to present facts that will impress your friends at parties or trivia night.
5. Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
Many years ago, I was at a public lecture presented by Dr. Richard Lenski, and he recommended that everyone in the audience read Your Inner Fish, and so I ordered up a copy on my bus ride home. Glad I listened to him. This book is told from the perspective of a paleontologist, the researcher who discovered Tiktaalik, which is sometimes referred to as a missing link of evolutionary biology. Tiktaalik was a creature that had features of fish, and features of land-dwelling animals. The novel is an enjoyable look at evolutionary biology and what the fossil record can teach us.
And there you have it, my favorite popular science books. I have a long list of science books to read this summer, so this list may need updating soon! Have any suggestions on what to read? Let me know!