The 2018 Read More Science Book of the Year

This week I announced the nominees for the first Read More Science “Best Book of the Year”, my humble attempt to recognize outstanding science writing for the general public by an author who may represent a minority in the STEM fields. You can see the full list of nominees in my announcement.

The Read More Science Best Book of the Year is simply a way to acknowledge a book I see as incredibly relevant to our modern day, accessible for general readers, and deserving of more recognition. While I cannot possibly acknowledge every science book deserving of more recognition (as much as I would love to do that!), I hope that this effort will put the book in the hands of more readers.

I am pleased to announce that the recipient of this year’s award is Hannah Fry’s Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms

Hello World is incredibly relevant to today’s world and extremely accessible for readers who may never have read a pop science or technology book before. In easily comprehensible and succinct examples, Fry clearly defines algorithms, machine learning, neural networks, and artificial intelligence. Her book also addresses how our data is being used – gathered, sold, and manipulated in order to influence our behavior as consumers. If you’ve ever wondered why ads seem to target your previous purchases, if you’ve ever considered why so many apps are free and want to know what you’re exchanging your data for, then this is the book for you. Fry’s warm and down-to-earth voice guides readers through the tricky technology of our modern world, paying special attention to how the biases of programmers can infect the algorithms they design and lead to social injustices.

As a woman in mathematics and computer science, Hannah Fry provides younger women with an excellent role model. I also felt that she deserved recognition on the basis that she spends so much time dissecting how algorithms may be used in the justice system and how we can prevent our own racial and gender biases from affecting their objectivity. Her attention to such relevant social issues is a significant reason I chose Hello World for this year’s prize – in many ways, the book is an excellent representation of our world in 2018.


Announcing the First Annual Read More Science “Book of the Year”


Big-name male science writers have long dominated the bestseller lists of the New York Times and other large and well-known book review sources. With this award, my intention is to highlight and promote excellent and overlooked science writing by authors who may be minorities in the STEM fields. 

I’ve started the annual Read More Science “Book of the Year” as a way to acknowledge a new release in popular science that appeals to general readers by an author who deserves more recognition. The book will be featured in the last newsletter of the year (just in time for the holidays) and displayed on the home page of readmorescience.com along with a short summary of why it was chosen. Although there will not be a “prize”, I will be promoting the book through social media and hope to provide a sticker of some kind as the award evolves. 

Without further ado, it is my pleasure to share the books that are under consideration:

Nominees for the 2018 Read More Science “Book of the Year” 

If 2018 could be described by a single phrase, it might be “overlooked no more”. This year gave us several wonderful histories of women who made significant contributions to the STEM fields but haven’t received proper recognition for their work. This year’s books also addressed biases both gender and racial in the fields of technology, artificial intelligence, sex robots, medicine, and the history of science itself. These books challenged conventional thought, delighted and outraged readers, and inspired varying degrees of controversy. These books are each truly a testament to the state of our world in 2018. I wish I could have featured more, because there were many books deserving of recognition!

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong by Angela Saini


Turned On: Science, Sex, and Robots by Kate Devlin

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Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry


Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by Sabine Hossenfelder


Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans


Close Encounters With Humankind: A Paleoanthropologist Investigates our Evolving Species by Sang-Hee Lee

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There you have it — this year’s nominees. I will be announcing the winning title this week, and those signed up for the Read More Science newsletter will be the first to receive the announcement. Get signed up and you’ll be automatically entered to win exciting titles like these every month! 

The Best Science Books for Holiday Gifting

Looking for science-themed gifts this holiday season? Consider giving one of these wonderful new nonfiction books as a present. Whether the recipient is an aspiring young scientist or the head of their own lab, these books are sure to captivate and inspire. Perhaps one will even end up on your own wish list this year!

This list is organized by the suggested gift recipient, and there’s something here for everyone. But keep in mind, good science writing often transcends the reader’s interests or passions. Don’t be afraid to try giving someone something new – you might just inspire them to start a new passion.

Remember to shop local this year to support independent bookstores!


The Best Books to Give This Holiday Season

For the fossil collector or paleontology enthusiast:

The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Earth’s Ultimate Trophy Quest (Sept 2018) is a beautiful piece of narrative journalism by New Yorker writer Paige Williams. It follows the adventurous story of Eric Prokopi, who in 2012 tried to sell “a super Tyrannosaurus skeleton” from Mongolia. This book is all about the risky business of fossil collecting and smuggling. A riveting story about fossils.

For the climate change warrior:

This is the Way the World Ends: How Droughts and Die-offs, Heat Waves and Hurricanes Are Converging on America (Sept 2018) by environmental expert Jeff Nesbit persuades its reader to consider the consequences of climate change: how, if we continue on our current path, we will lose our home here on Earth. A powerful new look at climate change.

For the one interested in artificial intelligence and data:

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms (Sept 2018) by mathematics lecturer  and computer scientist Hannah Fry is a fascinating – and at times, startling – book about the presence of algorithms in our everyday lives: how they make (and influence our own) decisions. Wonderful introductory explanation of data science (including how our online data is used), artificial intelligence, and the use and function of algorithms. Very introductory approach to complex subjects.

For those who love whales and their history:

Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures (June 2018) by paleobiologist Nick Pyenson is a fascinating look at the natural history of the whale. Pyenson, curator of the Smithsonian’s fossil whale collection, indulges readers with the details of life as a scientist in the field – discovering, digging up, and preserving fossils. Throughout the narrative, he shares the evolutionary history of whales – and makes predictions about what their future may entail. Wonderful and easy to read.

For the advocate (or skeptic) of gender equality in science:

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story (March 2018) by science journalist Angela Saini is a captivating, in-depth look at why women have been viewed as inferior for centuries. Through careful examinations of the pseudoscience fueling misconceptions and sexist stereotypes – set alongside recent research illustrating Saini’s points – she makes a persuasive argument we should give up the whole notion of women being inferior, biologically or otherwise. Firm, touching, and earnest read you could give to your best friend or your worst enemy. Buy yourself a copy while you’re at it – and if you’re feeling particularly generous, make a donation to this GoFundMe and get Saini’s book put in schools and the hands of young woman across the world.

For those raising a teenager:

Inventing Ourselves: the Secret Life of the Teenage Brain (May 2018) by neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is this year’s recipient of the Royal Society’s Science Book Prize. This book is particularly fascinating because Blakemore focuses on her own research, which specializes adolescents. This beautiful book educates the reader on how we form our identities and our selves throughout adolescence – and how we could be doing better at raising young adults. This is somewhat of a dense book, but full of interesting content and anecdotes from the author herself. Perfect for the educated and interested parent or curious adult individual. 

For the one who’s always saying, “Did you know…?”:

Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets to Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live (Nov 2018) by biologist and bestselling author Rob Dunn is best summarized as “A natural history of the wilderness in our homes, from the microbes in our showers to the crickets in our basements.” This captivating and educational book is sure to provide countless facts and figures to entertain and inform the know-it-all in your life. Great one to buy for yourself, too!

For the aspiring psychologist or lucid dreamer:

Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey (Nov 2018) by science journalist Alice Robb takes a look at the fascinating things happening in our brain while we dream. Her book explores the concept of lucid dreaming and its likely purpose according to neuroscience. An interesting and friendly introduction to neuropsychology and the science of sleep. 

For those interested in the science of psychedelics:

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence (May 2018) by bestselling author and journalist Michael Pollan is a “brave adventure into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs”. This daring book is the perfect gift for an adventurous soul interested in challenging conventional thought and fascinated by the edge of science. 


That’s it for this year! If you feel a book deserves to be on this list, please leave a comment below sharing your recommendation and who you think it would make a great gift for. Help others find good science books!

Please note: All of these books were selected by myself independent of publisher influence or sponsorship. I received no compensation from the authors or their publishing houses for suggesting these titles. You know, just in case that might affect your gift-giving decisions somehow.

#SciArt and #Inktober: Week 3 Featured Art

Featured science art has been a part of the Read More Science Book Club monthly newsletter for a few months now, but for #Inktober, I’m bringing it to the blog to celebrate all the science-inspired art of October. Read More Science is proud to support the scientific artists and illustrators working hard every day this month to present beautiful #SciArt to the online community. Artwork is an important aspect of science communication! At the end of each week in October, I will post a round up of work that caught my eye for you to enjoy here on readmorescience.com.

You can help support these artists and their work by following them on Twitter, purchasing artwork (if they sell online), or simply by liking and retweeting their #Inktober work. Follow along with this Twitter list to stay up to date: https://twitter.com/IAmSciArt/lists/inktober2018sciartists. If you see any art you’d like to share or would like your own to be featured, tag me on Twitter or Instagram @ReadMoreScience.

We’re wrapping up Inktober now, and Halloween is just around the corner. Enjoy these little pieces of art – this week includes a frightening marsupial mole, stars and galaxies, bacteria, some anatomy, an impressive hawk, damselflies, an explanation of the stickiness of anemones, and…mud!

FEATURED #SCIART FOR INKTOBER: WEEK THREE









As always, thanks for stopping by the blog, and if you have a moment would you consider signing up for the Read More Science Book Club, my monthly newsletter? By subscribing, you’ll be automatically entered to win free science books in upcoming giveaways. This month’s giveaway includes beautifully illustrated botany bookmarks, as well as a copy of James T. Costa’s book Darwin’s Backyard.

Happy reading!

Sarah

#SciArt and #Inktober: Week 2 Featured Art

Featured science art has been a part of the Read More Science Book Club monthly newsletter for a few months now, but for #Inktober, I’m bringing it to the blog to celebrate all the science-inspired art of October. Read More Science is proud to support the scientific artists and illustrators working hard every day this month to present beautiful #SciArt to the online community. Artwork is an important aspect of science communication! At the end of each week in October, I will post a round up of work that caught my eye for you to enjoy here on readmorescience.com.

You can help support these artists and their work by following them on Twitter, purchasing artwork (if they sell online), or simply by liking and retweeting their #Inktober work. Follow along with this Twitter list to stay up to date: https://twitter.com/IAmSciArt/lists/inktober2018sciartists. If you see any art you’d like to share or would like your own to be featured, tag me on Twitter or Instagram @ReadMoreScience.

Wow, the second week of October gave us some absolutely beautiful artwork! I hope you’ll enjoy the following snippets – I wish I could have included ALL of them, but you can find more on Twitter.

Featured #SciArt for Inktober: Week Two







Fascinating! Something I am currently studying in my marine ecology class this semester.




Thanks for stopping by my website to check out this amazing #SciArt! While you’re here, consider signing up for the Read More Science Book Club, a monthly newsletter for readers of popular science, nature writing, and nonfiction. You’ll be automatically entered to win free science books and other goodies in our monthly giveaways.

#SciArt and #Inktober: Week 1 Featured Art

Featured science artwork has been a part of the monthly newsletter, but for #Inktober, I’m bringing it to the blog to celebrate the science-inspired art of October. Read More Science is proud to support the scientific artists working hard every day this month to present beautiful #SciArt to the online community. At the end of each week in October, I will post a round up of work that caught my eye for you to enjoy here on readmorescience.com!

You can help support these artists and their work by following them on Twitter, purchasing artwork (if they sell online), or simply by liking and retweeting their #Inktober work. Follow along with this Twitter list to stay up to date: https://twitter.com/IAmSciArt/lists/inktober2018sciartists.

Enjoy!

Featured #SciArt for Inktober






That’s it for this week’s featured #SciArt! Thanks for stopping by the website, maybe check out a book review while you’re here, sign up for the monthly newsletter, and start reading more books about science.

Happy reading (and inking!)

Sarah

 

3 Censored Science Books for Banned Books Week

This week celebrates literary freedom, and it’s important to consider the science that has been censored by banning books. I wanted to include a few books on evolution that have been banned or challenged, so that you can #readmorescience during #bannedbooksweek. Evolution is a hugely controversial theory, and these books were banned from my own household while growing up. Without them, some children may not realize they love science, or have the chance to learn about our world. Censoring science harms education. Fight back by reading these classics on evolution! Better yet, go buy copies at your local bookstore to help bookstores keep them on shelves by making them in demand. Happy banned books week!

1. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin’s classic book on evolution and natural selection was banned in 1895 for contradicting Christian beliefs.

2. Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story by Lisa Peters

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This beautifully illustrated children’s book was challenged for promoting evolution, which again conflicts with Christianity’s belief in creationism.

3. In the Beginning by Isaac Asimov

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This book was requested to be removed from my hometown of San Diego’s schools for challenging the Bible.


If you’re interested in exploring science censorship throughout history more in depth, here’s an excellent article about banned science and philosophy books. In the meantime, I will leave you with a quote by Isaac Asimov which is my own personal reading motto:

16667.jpg“Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.”