Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

I Get Books ..

I receive a fair number of books to review each week, so I thought I should do what several magazines and other publications do; list those books that have arrived in my mailbox so you know that this is the pool of books from which I will be reading and reviewing on my blog. You may have noticed that some weeks, I am at the top of my game and read one book per day and review it within two or so days after I’ve finished it. Other weeks, like this one, I am unable to concentrate long enough to read a paragraph, so obviously, reading these books, all of which are worthy of a careful reading and a thoughtful review, is nearly impossible for me at this time. So to make up for my fluctuating mood-induced limitations, I decided it was only proper to let you know what is in the queue, waiting for me to tell you about.

Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies (Three Continents Press 1997). I heard Leonard Lopate’s fascinating interview with this author on WNYC and was so intrigued that I had to read this particular translation of this book.

The Ardent Birder: On the Craft of Birdwatching by Todd Newberry & Gene Holtan (Ten Speed Press, 2005). I listed some books published by Ten Speed Press on my blog for the Birdbooker Report, and mentioned I’d like to read some of them. The publicity agent at Ten Speed Press found this comment and kindly prepared a package of books and mailed it to me.

That Gunk on Your Car: A Unique Guide to Insects of North America by Mark Hostetler, PhD (Ten Speed Press, 1997). What can I say? Just the title is amusing, but a quick glance through this book already shows it is going to be both amusing and educational.

The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants by Peter D’Amato (Ten Speed Press, 1998). I have always been fascinated by carnivorous plants, but now that I live in a building that is home to more cockroaches than human residents in all of Manhattan, my interests in this topic are more than casual.

Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide by Paul Stamets (Ten Speed Press 1997). Considering how much shit I have to deal with on a daily basis, I wondered if I could somehow transform that shit into psychoactive mushrooms? Okay, bad joke, but I am quite interested to learn more about mushrooms, and if I happen to come across some psychoactive ‘shrooms in the process, well, good for me.

High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families by Peter Gosselin (Basic Books; 2008). I heard Leonard Lopate interview this author on WNYC recently and I just had to read this book, especially since I have written about poverty several times recently and have had to endure arrogant people who have never been poor lecture me about “lazy good-for-nothings” and “all those freeloaders.” Well, it appears that even decent, hardworking middle-class Americans are increasingly having a rough time: gee, who’da thunk it??

Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Ted Floyd (Collins; 2008). Collins (along with its sister companies, Harper and Harper-Collins) NEVER sends books for review to nobodies like me, so I was very lucky to receive a copy of this book. The publicity agent actually sent them to Seed Media Group to distribute among my colleagues at ScienceBlogs, so I got a copy, too. My review of this book will appear in a few days.

Choosing Wildness: My Life Among Ospreys by Claude Arbour, translated by Joan Irving (GreyStone Books; 2008). I and a few other of my ScienceBlog colleagues received this book recently, so I assume this was part of a targeted publicity campaign. I am partial to books such as this, so you can be sure I will be reading it soon.


  1. #1 sea creature
    July 29, 2008

    Just wanted to tell you, I was inspired by your review of Mean and Lowly Things by Kate Jackson to buy the book. I could not put it down. Thank you for your reviews – they give me great ideas for reading.

  2. #2 "GrrlScientist"
    July 29, 2008

    i am really glad to learn that you enjoyed that book! i’ve certainly got lots more that i am reading, so be sure to check back for more reviews.

  3. #3 Tabor
    July 30, 2008

    Here I am retired and I can’t make it through the pile of books beside my bed and you are tempting me with even more interesting titles. So many books, so little time!

  4. #4 Grant McCreary
    August 1, 2008

    Wow, I wish I had that problem 🙂
    The Ardent Birder is great. I’d reread it, but I’ve also got a pile of books that I need to get to.
    I’m looking forward to hearing about Choosing Wildness

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