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  1. The Best American Science and Nature Writing by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  2. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013 – review
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The Wisdom of Psychopaths: Jan 11, Brad Hodges rated it really liked it. I am not one who has a scientific bent, but I am fascinated by science. I just can never get too deeply into it, because I don't understand high concepts of math, and because I don't have the patience for the scientific method. He notes in his introduction that science is under attack: We have our own Sizzis and Delle Colombes today: Earle's "The Sweet Spot in Time," she writes, "a full 90 percent of all large wild fish and many small kinds as well have disappeared from the world's oceans, the result of devastating industrial fishing.

But she's also hopeful: Never again will there be a better time to take actions that can ensure an enduring place for ourselves within the living systems that sustain us. Influenza normally kills far fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of those infected. This makes H5N1 one of the deadliest microbes known to medical science. About 60 percent of human infectious diseases are zoonoses. I preferred the articles that were about nature.


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One about quantum mechanics was way over my head, and there was another about math that I can't even summarize. Additionally, there were several nuggets of information worth sharing.

Illingworth studies galaxies so distant that their light has traveled through space for more than 13 billion years to get here. Julius Caesar described them as being just 'a little below the elephant in size. It is sometimes called the Benjamin Button jellyfish, because when it reaches the end of its life cycle, it reverts back to its earliest form of development, and starts all over again.

That's enough to be interesting, but then he introduces us to Shin Kobuta, a marine biologist who specializes in hydrozoans, which include jellyfish. He's quite a character, something of a celebrity in Japan he writes a jellyfish column for a newspaper , and a karaoke addict. He has even written songs about jellyfish, which can be found in the international database of karaoke machines. All in all, this was an excellent collection, and that I was able to understand as much as I could is a testament to the lucid writing of the authors assembled.

Dec 13, Becky Johnson rated it it was amazing. This book had a lot of interesting essays, but my favorite was the one on immortal jellyfish. Jun 01, Art rated it it was amazing Shelves: Once again, another fine edition in this series, which celebrates the best writing of the year while offering up-to-date science and nature. The edition seems to include more nature stories than previous volumes. Twenty-seven essays in the current edition. About a new employment agency for autistic adults — 50, turn 18 every year. Apparent weakness bluntness and obsession can become marketable skills directness, Once again, another fine edition in this series, which celebrates the best writing of the year while offering up-to-date science and nature.

Apparent weakness bluntness and obsession can become marketable skills directness, attention to detail. Gareth Cook, who wrote this article, serves as the editor of the Best American Infographics, an annual that debuted this month. A year-old scientist measures every input and output of his body. A fascinating story about this guy who studies and knows his own ecosystem. This constant monitoring reflects his vision of a patient-centric, computer-assisted world of medical care. A scientist to the core, he is trying to save us.

Attributes found in psychopaths, some business people and some office holders: Reminds me of the book "Snakes in Suits," about that sociopath that everyone works for at some time. Rewilding, a new movement that envisions ecological history parks that would harbor such recently extinct animals as the aurochs, predecessor of the modern cow. Rewilding candidates include depopulated areas of the American Midwest. The Wildlife Conservation Society struggles with triage as a process for deciding which species become eligible for protection.

Energy for the poorest people in the world through artificial photosynthesis. But does the inventor oversell it? A Russian who solved an unsolvable math problem turned down a million-dollar prize. He solved the problem as a pure pursuit, unmotivated by material reward. Our significance in the universe. About advances in cancer treatment, the immune system and T-cells. A long article about the voyage of a large bulk carrier through the shrinking polar ice cap. New words and newness The articles in each edition always introduce new words to me.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Also, as a science and nature series, each book reflects its exciting currency when terms such as these appear year after year: They describe how science happens. Feb 11, Alan rated it it was amazing. Instead I love this anthology in which a couple of excellent editors pick out great stories from a wide variety of fields in science.

I always wind up reading articles I never would have read otherwise. Here is a short summary of my favorites in this edition. He died 3 days after receiving the Nobel Prize. Oct 06, Crosby rated it liked it. As always in this series, each individual essay will likely find an audience for it that declares it the best. For me, I found it a little more hit and miss than those published in previous years. It is the first issue in this series that I have not read from cover to cover the theoretical physics articles were hard for me to get into --and usually that's not the case.

I like to read these collections when flying across the countrythe articles are just long enough to occupy one's time durin As always in this series, each individual essay will likely find an audience for it that declares it the best. I like to read these collections when flying across the countrythe articles are just long enough to occupy one's time during the stop and go of traveling.

Bits and pieces of these articles rather than the whole articles stayed with me from this issue. For example the lyrical words celebrating the larch tree, the idea that a chimpanzee raised with a child would influence the child more than the vice versa, etc. But, for me, probably the most memorable aspects of these articles was the spotlight it placed on the extreme diversity of human personalities.

Kubota's optimistic and enthusiastic plans to learn the secret of immortality in his jellyfish, Grigori Perelman's complete and total withdrawal from society after solving one of math's most famous puzzles, Dr. Steinman's confidence in the ability of medical science and his research to unlock the keys to helping him survive cancer, Dr. Sacks' use of mind altering drugs to help him understand the nature of his chosen medical specialty i. As always, a wonderful journey. Once again gathered from trade publications as widely varied as the New Yorker, Outside, Playboy, Scientific American, Harper's, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and filtered by a highly qualified guest editor, in this case Siddartha Mukherjee, cancer physician and researcher and author of The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, the Pulitzer Prize winner for general nonfiction.

His theme was "how science happens. How do we measure the universe? How do you do triage for endangered species? What's the next pandemic? These are just some of the questions explored by the writers and scientists within these pages. Very fitting, since science and writing both very often start with questions. I usually enjoy every essay and this year is no exception--even the very short ending essay about the social utility of psychopaths.

I'm sure it was reading this anthology year after year that led me to eventually subscribe to Science News, which presents a mostly distilled version of papers and abstracts across the sciences in articles unfortunately too short for inclusion in this anthology, though also for the lay reader. Yes, buy it and read it! It will whet your appetite for science writing. Oct 08, Angie rated it really liked it Shelves: This is an interesting collection of science writing.

It's not so much about science as it is about scientists. In the forward, the guest editor Mukherjee talks about tenderness, the quality so many scientists hold for their research subjects or data his example is Mendel tending his plants.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013 – review

And so there is little science but much scientist in the essays. I guess I was hoping for more science, but it was an interesting collection in any case. Some of the essays seemed more relevant than others This is an interesting collection of science writing. Some of the essays seemed more relevant than others.

One was entirely about all the different drugs a neurologist had abused -- ummm, not all that interesting in my book. Another was about a trip a journalist took with a Ukranian shipping crew through the Arctic, proving the northern passages are open now. While the journey was made possible by global warming, there was no science and no scientist in the piece. Okay, so those missed. Others were quite engaging.


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I especially liked the questions in the measured man: In any case, a collection worth reading that gives a sense of the people who do science. Mar 18, Chen rated it really liked it. So I made it a yearly thing. Most importantly the writing is beautiful, unlike the dry academic writing.

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We really need more of these writing to make science more layman friendly, more accessible to the general public. It is also good to science, unlike certain news reports oversimplified, exaggerated or distorted the science finding. Oct 28, E. I enjoyed the breadth and approachability of the subjects in this collection. The works were often comical, quirky, relevant, humanistic, and informative. It is an incredibly narrow line to maintain the depth, complexity, technical detail of science and still make it approachable to someone outside of a given discipline.

This collection highlighted some of the best writing in this regard. Physics and math writing I enjoyed the breadth and approachability of the subjects in this collection. Physics and math writing was included as well as ecology and biology. The works were mostly at a late high school reading level but managed to fully cover the topic without being condescending to the reader.

This is a great review of some of the pertinent topics of the year as well as introduce you to topics that you didn't even know that you were interested in. Apr 30, Jen rated it really liked it. There were some real standouts though - authors I felt like I really must start following. My hands-down favorite piece was "The Larch. I never would have expected a one of the things I usually like best about this series is the variety of articles they choose, and I felt like this edition wasn't as varied as they usually are. I never would have expected a paean to a specific tree would be so compelling - but this is one of those pieces I want to force into people's hands and say, read.

Nov 08, Phil Scovis rated it liked it. A lot of recent science and nature writing is more correctly described as "science history" and "science biography", and this anthology showcases both. I was enlightened by J. McKinnon's criticism of the idolization of Nature, and Benjamin Hale's criticism of sign-language experiments on primates. And I am always enlightened by anything from David Deutsch, even when it is unfortunately only a few pages.

I like these "Best American" books because I can feel free to skip anything bo Good and bad. I like these "Best American" books because I can feel free to skip anything boring without missing the good stuff. And likewise, anyone who enjoys a tedious description of arctic shipping can read that, and perhaps skip the fascinating debate on the perils of experimenting with mutated pathogenic viruses.

Jul 14, Joy Weese Moll rated it really liked it. The Best American Travel Writing takes the reader to Cairo in black veils, to a ski resort in Sarajevo in a warm winter, and to New Orleans in the company of the pirates of old. The authors who take us for these adventures include sports writer Kevin Chroust on running with the bulls in Pamplona, college professor Daniel Tyx on a journey not taken, and author David Sedaris on medical care and dentistry in Paris.

More thoughts on my blog, including my fan-girlness of Elizabeth Gilbert and my The Best American Travel Writing takes the reader to Cairo in black veils, to a ski resort in Sarajevo in a warm winter, and to New Orleans in the company of the pirates of old. More thoughts on my blog, including my fan-girlness of Elizabeth Gilbert and my love of travel: The Best American Travel Writing I love, love, LOVE this series. You'd be hard pressed to find a work within these publications that I find boring or even remotely lacking.

Topol's 'Tea and Kidnapping'. The subjects are as varied as their authors and I always finish feeling refreshed and enlivened. While the writing is very good, the book is a mixed bag of stories. You wonder why some were even selected in this edition, such as the piece about a Lutheran minister dispensing miracle-cure water cures in Tanzania, cock fighting in Afghanistan, gold mining in Peru, and a history of New Orleans and Jean Lafitte.

They seemed misplaced among the other stories about various people and places around the world. Yes, they were edifying but they didn't provide much in relation to travel. I may venture While the writing is very good, the book is a mixed bag of stories. I may venture into other books in the annual series, but I'll keep a watchful eye on what I'm about to tread before I take that initial step. Enjoyable Tripping I enjoyed this book for two reasons.

The 1st, entirety selfish on my part was to gain more insight into completion of my 1st book of short stories. I now feel more prepared to edit my first four stories of fictionalized personal travel in Latin America in the s. The 2nd is the sheer enjoyment of reading a good story. This book gave me that opportunity time after time. It also gave the needed kick in the pants to start my 5th, and probably last short story for compilation in Enjoyable Tripping I enjoyed this book for two reasons.

It also gave the needed kick in the pants to start my 5th, and probably last short story for compilation into my "first book. This collection seemed a bit more superficial than others in the series. Still three stars for "liked it" but as a whole, n This collection seemed a bit more superficial than others in the series. Still three stars for "liked it" but as a whole, not the greatest collection. Dramatic stories and funny stories, tales of discovery and stories that make you want to shut yourself inside the house and never go out again, as usual, the most fun is Sedaris' IMHO , too bad I had already read it There were some really good stories in this collection, but many that I just didn't consider to actually be 'travel writing'.

I enjoyed learning more about different parts of the world, including my own home state. I've never read anything by Elizabeth Gilbert but I have a feeling if I did I probably wouldn't like it very much. I'm interested in checking out the previous year's selections though.

Short, one of the shortest of the collections. Gilbert was basically the editor I feared she would be: That said, the pieces on direct travel from Miami to Cuba, bull-running in Pamplona, cockfighting in Afghanistan, and especially the final piece on New Orleans' pirate history were all very good. Lots of good stories.

Elizabeth Gilbert said that she wanted the stories to be transformational. She wanted them to take us to places where we smell, see and taste the place. In fact, one has us taste a unique vietnamese noodle found in one little town. It's the reason I read travel books or stories. They become relational to the location and people present and to the history.

I'm glad I picked it up. Another great travel writing anthology. The introduction by Gilbert was also more interesting than other years. As always, some essays I thought were much better than others. Here are the essays I found most interesting: These books definitely take you to places that you most likely will never get to visit and evoke thought to the authors that did, not all of it is uplifting, but does increase awareness to our world,and greatly appreciate what we have in our USA, even with all the flaws, our struggles in this 21st century, as we strive to evolve to the ideals that are established.

This was the first collection of travel writing that I read and throroughtly enjoyed most of them. As some of the other comments mention, not all of these are travel adventures but even those that were not were quite interesting. The best by far was "Babu on the Bad Road". There is an accompanying slideshow available online at vqronline. This is a great book if you are traveling on an airplane - or anywhere. Of the 19 stories most were either very good or good. I especially liked the stories set in Cuba, Maine, and Vietnam.

The authors who told about running with the bulls and confessions of a packing maximalist were hysterical as was David Sedaris writing about his dentist in Paris. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love , spent 57 weeks in the 1 Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. It has shipped over 6 million copies in the US and has been published in over thirty languages.

A film adaptation of the book was released by Columbia Pictures with an all star cast: The credit for her profile picture belongs to Jennifer Schatten. Other books in the series. Best American Travel Writing 1 - 10 of 19 books. Books by Elizabeth Gilbert. Trivia About The Best American No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from The Best American If we can capture them in that fleeting window, great social advances can be achieved. See what happens when a young black prostitutes hooks up with a preppy white boy for the weekend.

I've been recommending it to everyone. This book should create a sensation. Pluto's Garden by Rick Zabel Hopewell Publications , ISBN , trade paperback, pgs Guthrie LaRue, a so-called renowned terrorist from the s, is mired in the past and can't find her way into the twenty-first century. Now a local laughingstock, she is certain that the only way for her to relive her days of infamy is to blow up a huge shopping mall that she believes is threatening to destroy the small rural community of Shakespeare, Indiana.

Even though they share the same educational background, poor boy Randy becomes an immediate outcast among this tight-set, narrow-minded heirs to American power. A master of wordplay She is a wonderfully gifted young woman, a young woman of genius, uncanny wisdom and primitive strength, whose revelations unfold in the course of an odyssey across the heartland of America.

Kennedy, author of In the Company of Angels. A novel about the schizophrenic, ubiquitous, and cyclical nature of all wars within and between men, women, and nations. The soul of good and evil is presented in two characters: Kennedy, Intl Editor of StoryQuarterly. Trail of Vengeance by Peter James Quirk Hopewell Publications , ISBN , trade paperback, pgs Lisa Rossi, a young Brooklyn police detective, is pitted against international jewel thieves, who, during the course of a spectacular heist in Manhattan, murder Lisa's partner. Two Brothers by Robert Gover Hopewell Publications , ISBN , trade paperback, pgs Bestselling author Robert Gover tells the story of two brothers— inseparable as children—whose adult paths through life could hardly be more different.

They reunite late in their lives, one a multi-millionaire, the other coming from skid row. Their reunion brings surprising consequences for both. Two Deserts , a collection of stories, spans cultures and deserts. Adventure travel agent Emma Solace plunges into the impossible conflicts in an Arabian Gulf country.

Her circles embrace her radically political lover Samir, 17 year-old Ayshah yearning for freedom, Muslim mother Maryam plotting to rescue her son from a jihadist movement. Her circles include a hooker who is training her daughter for the life, an academic whose lust is depleting, a club of women whose husbands are dying, a priest who has fallen in love from the pulpit. Some folks just travel in a darker realm.

He's lost his way, his money, and his pride. Frank's resorted to bumming drinks and taking jobs that are more than a little illegal. Then one job goes horribly wrong and he's faced with the toughest decision of his life, either commit the ultimate crime or spend the rest of his life in prison. Every man makes mistakes, and Frank understood mistakes had to be paid for. He just never dreamed the payment would be so great. With both lyricism and wit, Clammer uses her body to explore a complicated history of assault, addictions, mental illnesses and sexuality. Ranging from hilarious to chilling, the powerful prose in BodyHome drives our bodies back home.

Kennedy and Walter Cummins have selected for this book essays by twenty fiction writers, poets, and essayists about how they have managed to keep themselves housed and fed while writing. They share a long tradition. Best New Writing Hopewell Publications , ISBN , trade paper, pgs An annual anthology of new fiction and creative nonfiction from writers around the world, including the winners of the Eric Hoffer Award for prose and the Gover Prize for short-short fiction. Cover by Thomas Gillaspy.


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An annual anthology of new fiction and creative nonfiction from writers around the world, including the winners of the Eric Hoffer Award for prose and the Gover Prize for short-short fiction. Cover by Peter Davis. Price, and Kiarra Smith.