Publishers Weekly Snubs Science

Carl Zimmer sent me a message via Facebook, which made me think I might owe the New York Times an apology for last week’s ranting. Publishers Weekly has come out with their list of the best books of the year, and they do even worse than the Times: not one of the 27 books in their “Nonfiction” category are about science– the closest they come is probably Gladwell’s Outliers.

Better yet, in a move that will no doubt delight my colleagues here at ScienceBlogs, they have an entire category on their list for “Religion,” but no category for “Science.” Fantastic.

I’m not quite as bothered by this one, as PW is more of a trade magazine than an intellectual journal (at least, that’s my impression), and it’s probably true that books about faith sell better than books about reason. Still, given the number of science titles published in any given year, you might think it would be worth a note. If they can make a whole category for “Religion Fiction” (one of the two books is by Anne Rice), they ought to be able to come up with at least a couple of science books that are worth a mention.

Comments

  1. #1 Jonathan Vos Post
    December 7, 2008

    Chad’s right.

    Couldn’t Publishers Weekly at least meet us halfway with a book about science AND religion?

    “God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion”, by Guy Consolmagno.

    Brother Guy is a real scientist, many publications (for instance) the moons of Jupiter. He’s been President of the Anmerican Astronomical Society. He works in the Vatacan Observatory, and has reported to two Popes. He did extensive interviews in Silicon Valley with techies. And he’s a science fiction fan, even doing panels at science fiction conventions.

    Surely authors such as this, and books such as this, have something to tell even the innumerate and science-challenged loons in the book industry.

  2. #2 Melissa
    December 9, 2008

    If you are looking for a glimmer of hope on this topic, the Economist’s list of best books of 2008 includes a science & technology section.

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