Top 10 Science Books of 2008

By Carl Zimmer | November 3, 2008 10:53 am

It’s already end-of-the-year-list time, and I’m delighted to see that Amazon has picked Microcosm for their top ten science books of 2008. I must confess I’ve been slow this year on reading science books. What little free time I’ve got I’ve signed over to trying to finish War and Peace before I die. I’m enjoying it greatly, but at the rate I’m going, it’s a toss-up whether I’ll hit my biological deadline. Of the books on Amazon’s list, I can certainly recommend Your Inner Fish, having reviewed it in Nature. But are there any 2008 science books missing from this list, in your opinion?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Microcosm: The Book

Comments (8)

  1. Oh Gods! (or at least the FSM). Can we ban colons from book titles? They make the titles look like A Book about Something: but most of you are too stupid to work that out. For at least six of them the subtitle is redundant: you can work out what the book is about from the main title (Microcosm is one of the exceptions).

    Sorry, this is becoming a pet peeve of mine.

  2. David B. Benson

    Carl Zimmer — To finish War & Peace you need a collection of old-fashioned 3×5 index cards. Use these to keep track of the characters. Otherwise you’ll find you keep backtracking, almost starting over, …

    Noticed that yet?


  3. I’m really enjoying Richard Fortey’s Dry Store Room #1:The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. (Look Bob! I found more dots for you!)

    It’s a great read, very casual and perfect after an evening of pencil drawing. The science just kind of sneaks up on you throughout the stories of big personalities.

  4. Congratulations Carl! (On the top 10 list, not the biological deadline) 😉

  5. Jon D

    I reckon Phil Plait’s Death from the Skies deserves a mention, although its only just come out so may not have been on the shelves long enough yet.

    Really impressed with Neil Shubin – just finished the book a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I did with Microcosm a couple of months ago.


  6. Since if I don’t, no-one will: Yes — mine. I know Eating the Sun is not out in teh US until November 18th — but that is still in my calendar well within 2008…

  7. Jeff Brown

    I’m reading one right now called “The Alchemy of Air” that is very good. The center of the story revolves around Fritz Haber and developing the process for fixing ammonia (responsible for most of today’s fertilizer & our ability to produce crop yields high enough to feed the world). But the author does a nice job and gives us a lot of back story in order to be able to understand the importance of the invention.

    I’m still part way through so I haven’t gotten to the tragic part of the story yet (Haber was deeply involved in chemical weapon development in WW2 – and the same process used for fertilizer is also important for making explosives), but there are certainly all the elements for a good story and the author does a good job of telling it.


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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