Tag Archives: science

What I Will Be Reading #36: Mostly Nonfiction

I’ve been saving up new books for my reading list. I’ve been doing a good job of reading down my TBR list – time to add some new ones.

First up is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating by Alan Alda. It certainly wins an award for the longest title. I listened to Alan Alda  on the ID10T podcast. The book seems to be all about communicating science to non-science people. That’s basically my teaching job. I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my teaching, so on the list it goes.

My next addition is Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling. I learned about this one when doing some research for a new class I’m teaching in the fall about environmental issues and geography. For one of their assignments, I want my students to play around with data on Gapminder. When I went onto the website, I saw they had a book. It sounded interesting, so I’m putting it on my list.

One more nonfiction book for my reading list is Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen. I found this one in my library catalog as I was looking for versions of Beowulf that the library had. (I thought there was a graphic novel version of Beowulf, but if there is, my library doesn’t have it.) I love origin stories and learning about the origins of all of the Arabic letters sounds right up my alley.

And one last book, this time some fiction: Black Widow by Daniel Silva from The Modern Mrs. Darcy post on long novels. (I can’t write a post about new books without mentioning The Modern Mrs. Darcy at least once.) I don’t really care that it’s a long novel. I’m interested in it because it’s recommended as a high quality spy thriller (which is a genre I haven’t been reading much lately but do really enjoy) AND it gets me an S author (which I don’t have yet this year).

So, anything look good to you? Anything else I should add to my reading list?

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the title or cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!



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Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History by Bill Laws

I picked this book up from the library as a possible resource for Miss Adventure. She’s doing a project on the different sources of fabrics and their history. I read the pages on cotton to check and see if it would work for her, and got sucked into reading the whole book.

Published: 2010

Genre: science nonfiction

Length: 217 pages of text, 224 pages total

Summary: Short version: read the title again
Continue reading

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Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

This is the third book in the Memoir of Lady Trent series.

Published: 2015

Genre: historical fantasy

Length: 348 pages

Setting: various locations within the Broken Sea, six years after the events of The Tropic of Serpents

Summary: Short version: Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle with dragons Continue reading

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The Canon by Natalie Angier

When this book came out, I saw it reviewed a number of places. It was touted as a general tour of the sciences, so I wanted to see if it would be a good fit for one of the general science classes I teach.

Subtitle: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

Published: 2007

Genre: science nonfiction

Length: 264 pages Continue reading

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Mobius by Christoph Weber

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: May, 2016 in Writers of the Future Vol 32

Genre: science fiction

Setting: a near future city on Earth

Summary: Liz is a detective with GeneCrime, looking for illegal gene-tweakers. She’s found a lab that seems a bit more sophisticated than usual. She’s attacked by what she thought was a corpse on a table within the lab. She wakes up four days later under the care of her father, a physician. Turns out, he’s figured out how to repair a person’s DNA to a pristine state, which can also return them from the dead. She has the last remaining sample of Mobius and must decide whether to destroy it, killing several people (including herself and her previously thought dead mother) because they won’t have access to Mobius, or allow the illegal virus to be used.

Final thoughts: Weber leaves the resolution of the story completely up in the air. He sets up a world where gene-tweaking is easy and just as often deadly as helpful. Liz is dead-set against all gene-tweakers, since that was how her mother was killed. Come to find out, it’s her father’s lab she’s raiding. He’s cured death with his special, gene-tweaked virus – isn’t it awesome! Liz isn’t convinced. So, he lays on the guilt. If you destroy the sample, you’ll kill his colleague. Not enough? You’ll kill yourself, since you’re infected with the same lethal virus he’s got. Not enough? You’ll kill your mother, that you didn’t realize I’d raised from the dead. And then the reader is left to wonder if that’s enough or she’ll just destroy it. If she wipes out the sample of Mobius, her father’s just going to create more, perhaps not in enough time to save the three people who’s lives are on the line, but he’s still got all his research.

Title comes from: Liz’s father named his virus Mobius, after the Mobius strip and the possibility of living forever.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Virals by Kathy Reichs

As a icebreaker question, I’m asking everyone in my 80-person Environmental Science class to give me a book recommendation. This was one of those recommendations. I’m interspersing lighter books with a 1300+ page book I’m also reading, and this seemed to fit the bill.

Published: 2010

Genre: YA science fiction/mystery

Length: 454 pages

Setting: Charleston, SC, present day Continue reading

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The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

It’s a book about the Great Lakes, which makes me interested. My husband got it from the library and I’ve had Mr. Curiosity reading it for his science. I decided it would be good to know what I was assigning him.

Published: 2017

Genre: nonfiction science

Length: 321 pages of text, 364 pages total Continue reading

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