Thursday, June 28, 2007

Science Mag's Summer Reading List

Science senior editor Barbara Jasney and book review editor Sherman Suter asked their "advisers, reviewers, and colleagues" for summer book recommendations (subscription required). The list is heavy on the non-fiction, but a few science fiction novels made the cut. Here are the suggested books with a bioscience base:

Fiction
FrameshiftNever Let Me GoIntuition
ArrowsmithBrazzaville Beach
  • Brian Davison, chief scientist for Systems Biology and Biotechnology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, recommends Robert J. Sawyer's Frameshift.
    This medical thriller includes genetic disorders, in vitro fertilization, health insurance, Neandertal genomics, Nazi war criminals, and a love story between researchers occurring in the near future at UC Berkeley. Perhaps not the author's best, but an exciting read that could be a movie with Adrien Brody and Sandra Bullock
  • Science news editor Colin Norman recommends Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.
    Science fiction set in current times, the novel explores a morally repugnant use of science and the society that condones it. In his understated but beautiful prose, Ishiguro imbues this ultimately chilling tale with warmth and understanding.
If you prefer "Lab Lit" to science fiction there are selections for you too:
  • Science editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy recommends Allegra Goodman's Intuition. Kennedy notes that there are "certain characters who are modeled closely enough on players in widely known cases to encourage identification [...]".
  • U.C. Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor of Daniel Koshland recommends the old classic Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis.
  • Colin Norman recommends William Boyd's Brazzaville Beach. It's not set in a lab, but the characters are involved in primate research in Africa.
Other novels that were recommended are David Mitchell's Ghostwritten, Ian McEwan's Saturday, China MiƩville's Perdido Street Station, and Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn.

Non-Fiction
Guinea Pig's History of BiologyBotany of DesireThe Ancestor's Tale
Microbe HuntersWhy We Get Sick

Plenty to keep even the most voracious reader entertained for most of the summer. If not check out the full article for the entire list of recommendations.

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1 comment:

Ford said...

There's a link between Arrowsmith and The Microbe Hunters, aside from Koshland. Science writer Paul de Kruif, the author of the latter, helped Sinclair Lewis with the former. So that's where he got his amazing insight into the mind of a scientist!
"Why we get sick" is good, too, as is "Ancestors Tale", so far.