The New York Times, despite its excellent reporting on The Trump Situation, is still neglecting science. Here’s its new list of 73 books to read for the summer (click on the screenshot):
And are the categories:
Movies & TV
The Great Outdoors (mostly about gardening and landscaping)
There are no science books! What—is science so hard that it’s not something to read at the beach, or even in the summer?? Is it the literary equivalent of rosé wine? Well, let me remedy that defect with at least one science book (click on screenshots to access), and I’ll throw in one nonfiction book and one fiction book for your summer delectation.
Readers, please recommend one book for the summer (it needn’t be science), and tell us why it’s worth reading.
This is Carl Zimmer’s new book on heredity, which got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist: a trifecta. It’s also the #1 bestseller in biology, and Jennifer Raff gave it a superb review in the NY Times as well (yes, Carl does write for them). It’s long, but well worth your time:
If you haven’t sampled the joys of Mencken, this is the place to start. It’s a selection of his short pieces, and though many might infuriate or distress you (the man was opinionated), you’ll love the bits on atheism (and I like the two pieces on free will). But it covers everything: politics, music, the Scopes trial, books, the art of criticism—and much more. Highly recommended, especially if you think that stridency is a characteristic of the “new” atheism.
I came upon Katherine Mansfield purely by accident: I picked up a “great short stories” book in the free book box outside Powell’s, and read “Bliss” on the train downtown. I was entranced: here was a fantastic, almost dreamlike short story, with a unique voice I’d never heard before. Since then I’ve been going through her collected short stories (appropriate, since she was from New Zealand and I’m an Honorary Kiwi), and many of them are wonderful. Right now you can get her complete works on Kindle for only 99 cents—a great deal—or buy the book at the bottom.
If, like me, you have to read from a paper book, this is the one for you: it has all her stories, is 688 pages long, and costs only $3.99! Like “Bliss,” I rate “The Garden Party” as one of the world’s great short stories. (Both are free online, but I don’t like online reading, either.)
Mansfield died at only 34 of tuberculosis; imagine what she could have produced had she lived a normal lifespan!