Thursday, June 30, 2005

LIT: A Book Meme Compilation

What Science Bloggers are Reading . . .

I had hoped to finish this in time for last week's Tangled Bank at Geomblog, but i was too late -- perhaps best, as i've been able to add quite a few more details.

Update: We made the next Tangled Bank at Science & Sensibility!

After participating in the passing of the book meme, and then following up on the folks i asked to join in, i got tangled in the web of the whole thing and found some mighty fine (and some mighty strange . . .) recommendations.

Though i enjoyed participating, it occurred to me that some real use might come of it, and i (after challenging others to do this) decided i would try to compile as many of the various lists as i could to make a kind of master list of books being read by the group in which i am most bloggily entangled -- namely scientists.

Some of these folks are academics, others are what i call the non-academy academics, some writers, some just aficionados, but all that i have tracked thus far have been directly involved in science somehow. The interests are broad -- math, biology, chemistry -- but the group that seems to be involved in the time period of my own meme-ing seem to be largely interested in invertebrates (a fellow malacologist passed it on to me).

I am sure that most of these authors would caution that (especially in the "influential" category) just because a book is cited does not mean that one necessarily follows what is inside. This is about things that might have changed one's thinking, or even reinforced antithesis. So, caution.

In any case, for what it may be worth, and i sincerely hope something (perhaps as an interest-sparker for students who want to see what working scientists read; or scientists who want to find something new and interesting to while the time [or is it wile the time?]) here is a compilation. I am going to continue to add to this regularly as i come across participants, or as i find time to trace more of the threads -- it has already become highly unwieldy trying to keep track.

I ignored the how-many-books-do-you-have question. The important things i thought were the what-have-you-bought and/or read-lately, and the lists of influential books. A number of participants also added categories of their own or mentioned other books in passing and i felt compelled to add those as well. So you'll find those three categories below.

First is a list of the participants from whom i have collated lists thus far. The link there is to their actual meme participation post. I also heartily endorse reading the original posts -- many of them have extended descriptions, summaries and reviews and, of course, many lead elsewhere. And, of course, the blogs themselves are a wonder, so this might be a good introduction to the finest science writing on the net.

Then there's the list of recently bought and/or read books followed by the list of influential books, followed by the miscellaneous mentions.

I have bumped it to the top mainly for this week's entry in The Tangled Bank, but will likely do so again if i continue to add material to it.

Hope you find something worth reading . . .

AND, if you've done the book meme, and i missed you, and would like to be included here, post a link for me in the comments . . . tg

Snail’s Tales –

Bootstrap Analysis --

Culture of Chemistry --

Urban Dragon Hunters --

Thoughts from Kansas --

Kevin Nyberg – via comments at

Michigan Odonotes --

Henry’s Webiocosm --

Niches --

Stranger Fruit --

Pharyngula -- (plus various commenters on the post, which might mean that some non-scientists snuck in)

Darwin’s Little Darling --

gorejes528 --

Still Motion --

milkriverblog – (plus commenters)

NEW: Science and Politics --

Last Bought, Last Read for First Time:
The Seashell on the Mountaintop, Alan Cutler
The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms with Observation on their Habits, Charles Darwin
Wedding of the Waters, Peter Bernstein
Mr. Bloomfield’s Orchard: The Mysterious World of Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycologists, Nicholas Money
Evolutionary Ecology of Birds, Life Histories, Mating Systems, and Extinction, Bennett and Owens
Family Matters, Rohinton Mistry
Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions, Michael Novacek
The Remarkable Life of William Beebe, Explorer and Naturalist, Carol Grant Gould
Spirit of Fire, Ursula King
I’d Wished I’d Made you Angry Earlier, Max Perutz
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States by John Abbott (2 lists)
Damselflies of the Northeast, Ed Lam
Damselflies and Dragonflies of Ohio, Bob Glotzhober and Dave McShaffrey
Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata, Corbet
A Dazzle of Dragonflies, Forrest Mitchell and James Lasswell
A Field Guide to the Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets of the United States, John Capinera, Ralph Scott and Thomas Walker
Down and Dirty Pictures, Peter Biskind
100 Great Curries
The Cook’s Encyclopedia of One-Pot and Clay-Pot Cooking
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Romeo Dallaire
Experts vs. the Sicilian, Aagard & Shaw
My Great Predecessors, Vol. IV: Fischer, Kasparov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond
Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
Crimes against Nature, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
The Living, Annie Dillard
Field Guide to Insects, Donald J. Borror
Dark Tower 6: Song of Susannah, Stephen King
Dark Tower 7: The Dark Tower, Stephen King
Home Tree Home: Principles of Treehouse Construction and Other Tall Tales, Peter Nelson
For Love of Insects, Thomas Eisner
Three by Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, The Writing Life)
Before Darwin, Keith Thompson
An End to Suffering, Pankaj Mishra
On the Origin of Phyla, James Valentine (2 lists)
Letters from Earth, Mark Twain
Collapse, Jared Diamond
The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
The Natural History of Religion, David Hume
Savage Run, C.J. Box
The Fossil Hunters, Adrienne Mayor
Adam’s Curse, Bryan Sykes
Cantata-140, Philip K. Dick
The Portable Door, Tom Holt
Changing Planes, Ursula LeGuin
Fundamentalist World: A New Dark Age of Dogma, Stuart Sims
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter, Thomas Cahill
The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick, Peter Lamont
Brief Lives, Neil Gaiman
Flashman’s Lady, Ian McDonald Fraser
Unintelligent Design, Mark Perakh
Eight Men Out, Eliot Asinof
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, Atul Gawande
Tycho and Kepler, Kitty Ferguson
The Baby Book, William and Martha Sears
Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig
On the Origin of Species, Darwin
The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, Stephanie Coontz

The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms With America's Changing Families, Stepahnie Coontz
Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage, Stephanie Coontz
The Sex Lives of Teenagers, Lynn Ponton

Influential Books:
The Theory of Evolution, John Maynard Smith
The Seeds of Discovery, W.I.B. Beveridge
Creation Revisited, Peter Atkins --
The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells
The Bird Guide, Chester Reed
Why I’m Not a Christian, Bertrand Russell
The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
The Beak of the Finch, Jonathan Wiener
Waiting for Fidel, Christopher Hunt
The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton
The Liturgy of Hours
Marie Curie, Eve Curie
Lady with a Spear, Eugenie Clark
Grassrott Jungles, Edwin Way Teale
Near Horizons, Edwin Way Teale
Golden Guide to Insects
Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths
Dragonflies through Binoculars, Sid Dunkle
The Bible
A Paradise of Birds, Helen Cruickshank
House of Breath, William Goyen
Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern, Douglass Hofstadter
Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language, Douglass Hofstadter
The Trumpet of the Swan
Geographical Ecology, Robert H. MacArthur
Macroecology, James H. Brown
Purgatorio, Dante
The Bible (King James Version, 1611; Aland et al., Greek New Testament, 1983)
The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 1623
Play Like a Grandmaster, Kotov
Aeneid, Vergil
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Ed., 1908
The Foundation Trilogy, Asimov
Norton's Star Atlas
The Discarded Image, C.S. Lewis
A History of Rome, Cary
A History of Greece, Bury
The Demon-Haunted World, Sagan
My 60 Memorable Games, Fischer
Early Greek Myth, Gantz
Carmina (Poems), Catullus
Orationes (Orations), Cicero
An Introduction to the Study of Insects, 4th Ed., Borror, Delong, and Triplehorn
How to Know the Insects, H.E. Jaques
The Golden Guide to Insects, Herbert Zim
Peterson's Guide to the Insects of North America, Borror and White
Wasp Studies in the Field, Rau and Rau
Life on a Little-Known Planet, H.E. Evans
Wasp Farm, H.E. Evans
An Introduction to Entomology, J.H. Comstock
Insects and Their Ways and Means of Living, R.E. Snodgrass
Dragonflies of North America, Needham and Westfall
Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Walker
A Biology of Dragonflies, P.S. Corbet
Dragonflies of the Northwoods, Kurt Meade
Damselflies of North America, Westfall and May
Broadsides From the Other Orders, Sue Hubbell
Sociobiology, E. O. Wilson
Beginnings, Isaac Asimov
Time’s Arrow and Evolution, Harold F. Blum
Dune, Frank Herbert
Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia, new ed.
The Diversity of Life, E.O. Wilson
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
The Midwich Cuckoos, John Wyndham
Contact, Carl Sagan
The Dispossessed, Ursula K. LeGuin
Timescape, Gregory Benford
A Problem from Hell, Samantha Power
Darwin, Adrian Desmond and James Moore
Science as a Process, David Hull
A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn (3 lists)
The Dhammapada
On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzche
The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Daniel C. Dennett
Arcadia, Tom Stoppard (2 lists)
The Grand Inquisitor, Dostoevsky
The Birth of Venus, Sarah Dunant
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Behind the Mask, Dave Pallone
The Official Rules of Major League Baseball
The Stranger, Albert Camus
Einstein’s Dreams, Lightman
Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre
Utopia, Sir Thomas More
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Sea Hawk, Rafael Sabatini
Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative, Herbert Mason
Sociobiology, E.O. Wilson
Developmental Pasticity and Evolution, Mary Jane West-Eberhard
Wind in the Willows, Grahame
The Histories, Herodotus
The Green Ma, Treece
The Age of Arthur, Morris
Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Sassoon
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
Faust, Goethe
The Snail on the Slope, Strugatsky & Strugatsky
Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges
8-Bit Imbedded Controllers, Intel
The Future of Life, E.O. Wilson
Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, J.L. Mackie
The Shape of Life, Rudolf Raiff
The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould
The New Science of Strong Materials, J.E. Gordon (2 lists)
Essential Kanji, P.G. O’Neill
Use of Weapons, Iain M. Banks
Red/Green/Blue Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
Without Guilt and Justice, Walter Kaufmann
Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner
Q, John Kloppenberg
What If/What If 2, Robert Cowley ed.
The Mind’s Eye, Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Stark, Ben Elton
The Usborne Guide to Computer Programming
Progress and Poverty, Henry George
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Demon Haunted World, Carl Sagan
Cookery Book, Edmonds
The Night’s Dawn Trilogy, Peter F. Hamilton
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Model Selection and Multimodel Inference, Burham and Anderson
Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War, William Manchester
Night, Elie Wiesel
Stalingrad, Antony Beever
Hitler’s Willing Executioners, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Doctors of Death, Philippe Aziz

King Solomon's Ring, Konrad Lorenz
[The Country Vet Series], James Herriot
The Natural Rider, Mary Wanless
Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Stephen Jay Gould
Moral Politics, George Lakoff
Gull No. 747, Mary Craighead George

Miscellaneous Mention:
Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Stephen Jay Gould
The Panda's Thumb, Stephen Jay Gould
Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, Stephen Jay Gould
The Flamingo's Smile, Stephen Jay Gould
The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions, Donald Quammen
Monster of God, Donald Quammen
Grass Dancer, Susan Power
Fuel, Naomi Shihab Nye
19 Varieties of Gazelle, Naomi Shihab Nye
She Had Some Horses, Joy Harjo
How We Became Human, Joy Harjo
Fool's Crow, James Welch
Killing Custer, James Welch
Lovesong of the Giant Contessa, Stephen Tye Culbert
Goedel, Escher, Bach, Douglass Hofstadter
A Parrot without a Name, Don Stapp
The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Hubbell
Species Diversity in Space and Time by Michael L. Rosenzweig
Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey
Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Sean B. Carroll (2 lists)
Democracy Matters, Cornel West
The Civil Wars, Kenyon and Ohlmeyer
The Cousins’ Wars, Kevin Phillips
Intelligent Design Creationism and its Critics, Pennock
Captain Blood, Sabatini
Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
Structures, J.E. Gordon (2 lists)
The Greeks and the Irrational, E.R. Dodd
Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
What Is Marriage For, E.J. Graff

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Robert Heinlein
Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond
Collapse, Jared Diamond

NOTE: If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are pygmies & dwarfs??


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