Best Science Books 2012: The Guardian

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2012 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Christmas gifts 2012: the best science books, Best science books of 2012, Christmas gifts 2012: the best wildlife books.

  • The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World by Sean M. Carroll
  • A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss
  • Ocean of Life: How Our Seas Are Changing by Callum Roberts
  • The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body by Frances Ashcroft
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
  • The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters by Mark Henderson
  • This Is Improbable: Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens and other WTF Research by Marc Abrahams
  • Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans by Brian Fagan
  • Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind by Mark D. Pagel
  • Inside the Centre: The Life of J Robert Oppenheimer by Ray Monk
  • The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age by Nathan Wolfe
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 22 by Rosamund Kidman Cox
  • Extinct Birds by Julian P Hume and Michael Walters
  • Extinct Boids (sic) by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy
  • Drawn from Paradise: The Discovery, Art and Natural History of the Birds of Paradise by David Attenborough and Errol Fuller
  • Fighting for Birds: 25 Years in Nature Conservation by Mark Avery
  • Silent Spring Revisited by Conor Mark Jameson
  • Wildlife in Trust: A Hundred Years of Nature Conservation by Tim Sands
  • Birds in a Cage: Warburg, Germany, 1941. Four P.O.W. birdwatchers. The unlikely beginnings of British wildlife conservation. by Derek Niemann
  • Mushrooms by Peter Marren
  • Field Guide to Micro-moths of Great Britain and Ireland by Phil Sterling
  • The Unfeathered Bird by Katrina van Grouw
  • Scotland by Peter Friend
  • Partridges by GR Potts and Francis Buner
  • Grasshoppers & Crickets by Ted Benton
  • Otter Country by Miriam Darlington
  • The Profit of Birding by Bryan Bland
  • A Patch Made in Heaven by Dominic Couzens
  • My Garden and Other Animals by Mike Dilger
  • Jewels beyond the Plough by Richard Jefferson and John Davis
  • Troubled Waters by Bruce Pearson
  • Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up most of my lists from Largehearted Boy.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn’t a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or maybe even something else from today's list.


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You missed Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre. An absolute must.

By Neurobonkers (not verified) on 16 Jan 2013 #permalink