Books!

You may have noticed that this is not the pre-written oracular spectacular that you usually get posted to your inbox/facebook at 7am on a Sunday morning.

That’s because I’m on holiday.

However, holiday is a relative term, and I have been reading quite the spectacular book – The Genome Generation, by Elizabeth Finkel. It’s a good read, aimed at a ‘vaguely educated’ audience, and also covers a bunch of the 300-level genetics course, so I keep recognizing names that I cited about a million times in assignments last year.

From http://www.cosmosmagazine.com, the cover of the book I’m reading RIGHT NOW.

It tells the story of discovery about many of the facets of DNA, from ancestry, to disease prediction, to GMOs, and is written by an award-winning science journalist (and in my opinion, one of the best science writers out there). I get a little bit fangirly over science writing (can you tell?), but this is legit one of my favourite books, like, ever.

(I quite like The Selfish Gene as well, but you do have to take Richard Dawkins with a grain of salt.)

If your jam is more physics, you can’t do better than Lisa Randall (Warped Passages or Knocking on Heaven’s Door) or, my brother is reading some Feynman right now that is apparently quite good although doesn’t beat minecraft out at the end of the day.

Are Angels Ok? is a nice collection of short stories that arose from New Zealand poets/writers collaborating with New Zealand physicists. Some bits, such as the limericks about the nature of light, are certainly hit, and some stories I found perishingly dull, but each to their own (I am a very impatient reader). (Speaking of science poetry, here’s a nice one)

General science books to try are Falling for Science by Bernard Beckett – aimed at a less educated audience but very excited about everything. Bernard Beckett is a New Zealand author as well, which always makes me quite happy. I really enjoyed his book Genesis, a young adult science fiction novel that is also about philosophy, and I enjoyed Jolt to an extent – it was required reading at my high school for some classes (Year 10, I think), which always reflects on a book unfairly.

(I am now quite tempted to go on a rant about how the printing press was developed because YOU GUYS that was SO INCREDIBLY COOL, but I also really want to get back to this book.)

Anyway, there are some reading ideas for the holidays. Go forth and be well-read.

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