30 October 2012

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011

Catching up with 2011's Best American Sicence and Nature Writing.  Edited by Mary Roach - whee!

A good collection, with many good pieces here that need to be read by a wider audience.  Such a good reflection of how Roach is a great writer popular science books with an eye for a great story.  A lot of "famous names" in this volume including Jonathan Franzen, Stephen Hawking, Malcolm Gladwell, Atul Gawande, and Deborah Blum (whose article "The Chemist's War" was later incorporated into her book The Poisoner's Handbook).  Roach arranged the articles in alphabetical order by author, so there's monkeying about with agreement or disagreement of organization.
  • Bhattacharjee's "The Organ Dealer" about the illegal kidney trade
  • Bilger's gag-inducing (at the very end) "Nature's Spoils"
  • Dittrich's "The Brain That Changed Everything" which brings a very personal sense of history to the story of a man with brain damage resulting from a surgically-absent hippocampus
  • Freedman's "Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science" which highlights how reported medical research oftentimes is later proven incorrect or inconclusive
  • Gawande's haunting "Letting Go" about the disconnect in the medical establishment regarding end-of-life care
  • Mooallem's occasionally funny, occasionally stern "The Love That Dare Not Squawk It's Name" about the long-term mating habits of the Laysan albatross and the ridiculous levels humans go to to apply animal behavior as justification for human behavior
  • Sack's "Face-Blind" about the neural basis and social complications of face-blindness or prosopagnosia
  • Zimmerman's elegy "The Killer in the Pool"

No comments:

Post a Comment