Every single regular reader of this blog has read or intends to read Stephen Jay Gould's The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History. I just noticed that the Kindle version of it is available for $1.99, and I assume this is temporary. I already had the book on dead-tree matter, but I picked this up because ebooks are searchable! You will want one two.
Every single regular reader of this blog SHOULD want to read, or should have already read, Mary Doria Russell's excellent binary set including The Sparrow: A Novel and Children of God. (The Sparrow is first, COG second.)
Right now, and I assume very temporarily, The Sparrow is also avaialble for $1.99.
A quick word about the Sparrow series. It has been classified as science fiction. Others have said, no, it is not science fiction, it is philosophy and spirituality. A lot of church groups read it because of its religious meaning and implications.
That is really funny because there isn't a drop of religiosity in this series. There is a priest, but it is a priest mainly operating in a post-religion world. This series is primarily anthropology fiction, which happens to be set in a science fiction theme, and if anything, it deconstructs the central role of religious institutions and makes them look as potentially lame and potentially nefarious and as potentially impotent as the other institutions. Or, really, as products of human behavior as anthropologists understand it, the outcome of a mix of self interested behavior, bonding or revulsion, racism and in-group vs. out-group thinking, the power of institutions, ritual, tradition, class, and exploitation. Set, of course, in the background of co-evolution of morphology of predator and prey. There is also a linguistic theme addressing meaning creation (or lack there of: ouch), development of mind and behavior, language learning, and so on.
You have to read them, and now you can get one of them for two bucks! (Unfortunately COG seems regular price.)
Let me add this too, just noticed it, could be of interest for two bucks: The Science of Star Wars: The Scientific Facts Behind the Force, Space Travel, and More!.
I made a video featuring Mary and "The Sparrow" for the 100 Year Starship Symposium a couple of years ago.
She appears at 1m 36s here" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jhrfm6twuEc
I totally agree about The Panda's Thumb! It is a must read. And ask yourself: Is a zebra a white animal with black stripes or a black animal with white stripes! ALL of Stephen Jay Gould's books should be must reads for anyone interested in science and natural history, especially evolution. Also read Punctuated Equlibrium, The Structure of Evolution, and Ontogeny and Philogeny. He once said: "When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown." seeing the consequences now of a large population who lack independent critical thinking abilities, and the idiots they elect should drive us all to insist on truth and conduct critical analyses of all pronouncements from politicians.