Thumbs up for Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match by Amy Webb. Science.
After watching Webb’s TED talk I was curious as to whether her book was a worthwhile expansion of the talk, or merely a padded version. I can say now that the book is well worth it, if you think humor, data hacking and love are a winning combination.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser. Science.
Oh look! Another book that makes intelligent decision-making even more difficult! You probably should not read this if you’re easily freaked out by the end of the world. I am somewhat immune (pun intended) to being freaked out by certain things, since I’ll never have children: I will not, for example, have to decide whether treating my six-month-year old with antibiotics for a painful ear infection is worth the risk of permanently throwing their microbiome out of whack, which may lead to a host of other difficulties down the road.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Musings and Meditations: Reflections on Science Fiction, Science, and Other Matters by Robert Silverberg. Nonfiction/essays.
As with any book of essays, not all equally interesting; but the best far outnumbered the lesser. My copy sprouted a forest of shredded post-it notes. I read “The Death of Gallium” and “The Handprints On the Wall” aloud to unsuspecting friends; “Oh Avram, Avram, What a Wonder You Were!” sent me scurrying to order the book (The Avram Davidson Treasury) which the essay was first written to introduce; and I acquired myself some C.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach. Science.
Mary Roach is one of the few authors – hmm, possibly one of two or three in the universe – whose books I want to read the moment they come out: yea, even unto ordering them new (gasp!). Her previous books have covered a variety of topics including cadavers, ghosts, sex, and space travel, all with informative and hilarious results.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. Science.
Yet another book in the guy-does-weird-stuff-in-order-to-write-about-it genre? I had low expectations. And yet: I really enjoyed this book, and furthermore, I feel like I got quite a bit out of it. Originally setting out to do nothing more than write a short magazine piece on the 2005 USA Memory Championships, Foer gets sucked into training for, and competing, in the next year’s event.… >> Read more
for Getting Started in Bird Watching
by Edward W. Cronin, Jr. Nonfiction/nature.
While bored at work I read this book’s 62 pages of content (the remainder are bird lists). A very useful beginning. The lists however have been superseded by a 99c app on my phone. Ah well.
How does a beginner start to identify birds? Typically, the birds he sees are moving so fast through the foliage or across the sky that he seldom gets a good view.
… >> Read more
for How to Be a (Bad) Birdwatcher
by Simon Barnes. Nonfiction/nature.
A small, wise, funny book that makes birdwatching sound like the best hobby ever. And, well, I guess that was the point. Highly recommended if you have ever for a moment wondered how you might tell the difference between one small brown bird and another.
Birdwatchers are famous for being boring.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Packing For Mars by Mary Roach. Science/humor.
If you have not yet read Mary Roach, and you like learning things and want to laugh so hard you curl up in pain and make little squeaking noises in place of breathing, then you need to go out right now and buy all of her books: Stiff, Spook, Bonk and now Packing for Mars.… >> Read more