With the holidays just around the corner, many find that it’s an ideal time to curl up with a good book (or the perfect time to work through your endless to-be-read backlog). A few months back we mentioned 5 exciting books for your summer reading list, today I’m going to dive into what I’m planning to read over the next few months. Oh, and just the briefest reminder that many libraries are open and ready to lend these (and other) amazing books – support your local library!
1. Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting – Lisa Genova
Best selling author and Neuroscientist Lisa Genova’s latest book dives into the intricacies of memory – how we remember and why we forget. The book details the differences between short-term and long-term memories, and the distinction between forgetting something normal (where you left your keys) and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
2. Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future – Elizabeth Kolbert
A look into the ways that biologists, engineers, and climatologists are working to preserve the world for an uncertain future. The book examines global issues and the ways that scientists are trying to fix the problems that society has been creating over the past few centuries. A previous non-fiction book by the author, The Sixth Extinction, was a fascinating (if not depressing) look at the current loss of biodiversity around the globe. If Under a White Sky is similar it promises to be another poignant look at our current times.
3. The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred – Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Dr. Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics and how the pursuit of knowledge can clash with the struggles that minorities can face in academia and research. The book deals with some heavy but relevant topics, including the responsibilities that scientists should bear in society. Undoubtedly a polarizing look at the intersections of science and politics, but one that has received serious praise.
4. The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity – Robin Ince
The co-host of the BBC show “The Infinite Monkey Cage”, alongside physicist Brian Cox, Robin Ince details how he fell in love with science after completely abandoning it early in life. One of my main jobs (and one that teachers certainly can sympathize with) is finding ways to inspire students. The Importance of Being Interested explores why so many people find science to be boring or intimidating, and how to rekindle that lost curiosity.
5. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark – Carl Sagan
Alright, so this one is somewhat cheating… Carl Sagan has always been an inspiration and his writing is one of the things that first motivated my journey into science education and outreach. I read “The Demon-Haunted World” as a teenager, but feel that the premise rings just as true today as it did in the 90’s – that scientific thinking, and the ability to reason through arguments and distinguish truth from pseudoscience, is essential.
Let us know what you’re reading over the holiday break!