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18 November 2011

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Sarah and David Flannery's "In Code: A Mathematical Journey" is one of my favorite math books. Not only do they do a good job of explaining cryptography and its connection with number theory in accessible terms, the book is also about the relationship between Sarah and her father, a math teacher. A good book for fathers of daughters, like me.

Robert,
Thanks for the suggestion! If you temper math with memoir, it might be a book I could understand!

I'm kind of surprised to see the Emperor of All Maladies in there, since the list seems so biased in favor of older books -- books that have had time to be influential, instead of just on literary or content merit. And by this time you and a lot of other people are probably sick of hearing me praise this book but since we're talking science ... The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen is one of the best nonfiction books of the last 20 years, period, much less best science books. Sheesh. I really enjoyed Jonathan Weiner's biology/evolution books, too -- Beak of the Finch and Time, Love, Memory. And what about Annals of the Former World by John McPhee -- a geology four-fer! I was always bored silly by rocks in school but I read that whole book. Though if I were to nominate a single nature/science related McPhee title, my choice would be The Control of Nature.

Nan,
Oh, my, John McPhee, I forgot about Former World. That would be a good one, and I too am a bit surprised not to see any David Quammen choices. Thanks for the suggestions!
Yes, I didn't know that Emperor of All Maladies was one of the titles that should be on the best "all-time" list, although maybe they were specifically looking for a newer one. Who knows?

Eight pm on a friday. I mean, I may not have much of a life, but at least I can find other places to be on a friday at 8 pm.

Sarah,
Ah, the old Friday 12 to 9 shift, I don't miss it. Even though I've never been the type of gal to have any exciting Friday night plans.

I agree with Nan -- looking at all the other lists you've posted, it seems like TIME was going more towards older books than anything new, so Mukherjee's book surprised me, even if I've heard it's great. I'm actually hoping to read it over Thanksgiving.

There were several years when I gave every high school and college student I knew Natalie Angier's THE CANON -- an elegant swift survey of the basics of probability,chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, and geology: what do we know? How do we know it? And what's left to find out?

Bill Bryson's A BRIEF HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING is a hoot and a half (especially in audio, which is how I read all his books), but you have to know your science pretty well to start with, to catch all the things he gets wrong.

P.S. I cannot tell you how much I have loved this series of posts. I have been taking REAMS of notes...

Kim,
Well, you and Nan are right, the list has skewed to older titles (I believe 1923 was their starting point--maybe that was the year the magazine was founded or something, I forget). I guess I didn't really think it was odd to find The Emperor... here though, because it got a ton of good press last year. That's why I kept trying to read it--seemed like it got nominated for some prizes and it popped up on a ton of the year's "best of" lists. I hope you like it! I'd still like to try it again someday.

Hapax,
Well, "The Canon" was a very good gift idea--God knows graduates come out of high school and college these days not knowing much about science unless they majored in it. That's another science book I've tried to read and never gotten through, though...perhaps it is time to try it again.

I'm so glad you're liking this series! I said it in the beginning, I think, but I'll repeat (should have done it before now), I'll gather up my choices and everyone else's onto a master list that I'll post in the sidebar.

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