Camden recently asked for a list of books that might be good for summer reading assignments. I thought others might find this useful as well so here is a copy of my reply:
One thing you might do is have them check out book reviews on these books (after they have read them—especially the academic reviews)Here are some books/authors:Nick Lane’s Books: Life Ascending; Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life; and Oxygen, the Molecule that made the World. Great, great connections written by a scientist. Connections at all levels.Neil Shubin’s books: Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within: A Scientific Adventure. Both are very good and do a great job showing how theory guides investigation. Great connections.Sean Carrol’s Books: The Making of the Fittest and Endless forms Most Beautiful would work well. He has two others that will promote the idea of being a scientist and adventure.Carl Zimmers Books: All are good but I think that Microcosm is the one of the best at connecting all of life. Parasite Rex and At the Water’s Edge are great also.Ignorance: How it Drives Science by Stuart Firestein Short, valuable read.One you might want to check out is Life’s Ratchet by Peter M. Hoffman–probably too much for students.Marlene Zuk has great books as well—better than some of the more popular books promoted by some of the AP BioTeachers on the forum. I really think that Riddled with Life should be more widely read.Matt Ridley’s books are very well done: I particularly recommend Nature via Nuture and Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 chapters.Jonathan Weiner has two great books: Beak of the Finch and Time, Love, and Memory.I am sure I’ve forgotten some and there are some popular books out there that folks like to assign that I’m not so hot on. I’ll check my bookshelf at home to see if there some other possibilities. One of the issues is that there haven’t been a lot of recent books that fit this model. Neil Shubin’s just came out but most are within the last 10 years and still mostly relevant.