Monday, November 21, 2016

Nonfiction November Week 4: Become the Expert

Today’s Nonfiction November (hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Lory at Emerald City Book Review, Rachel at Hibernator’s Library, Julz at Julz Reads, and Sarah's Book Shelves) topic is book experts:

Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

I'm choosing to become the expert on genetics since one of my nonfiction goals is to read more science nonfiction and these books have been on my to read list for awhile. 

violinist's thumb by Sam Kean book cover nonfiction scienceThe Violinist's Thumb: And Other Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
by Sam Kean

Kean explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists. Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.
Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin book cover nonfiction science
Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body
by Neil Shubin

Neil Shubin, a leading paleontologist and professor of anatomy who discovered Tiktaalik--the "missing link" that made headlines around the world in April 2006--tells the story of evolution by tracing the organs of the human body back millions of years, long before the first creatures walked the earth. By examining fossils and DNA, Shubin shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our head is organized like that of a long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genome look and function like those of worms and bacteria.

Gene An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee book cover nonfiction scienceThe Gene: An Intimate History 
by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices. Throughout the narrative, the story of Mukherjee's own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—cuts like a bright, red line, reminding us of the many questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. 


Katherine Nabity said...

Many years ago, I was a biology major with an interest in genetics. (Organic chemistry kind of showed me that I have no talent in the lab...) But I still want to know more! #1 and #3 have been on my TBR for a while. #2 going there--what a great title!

Sarah's Book Shelves said...

Cool topic! This one is a little niche, but I recently listened to The Sports Gene, which was super fascinating. The whole nature vs. nurture debate as it pertains to athletes.

JoAnn said...

The closest book to this topic I've read is The Philadelphia Chromosome, and it was a favorite last year. The Emperor of All Maladies has been on my wish list ever since, but Mukherjee's The Gene sounds interesting, too.

Lory said...

I want to read more science nonfiction too. So many fascinating stories there. I just read NeuroTribes and highly recommend it -- a bit off your genetics topic, but definitely related.

Debbie Rodgers said...

Very ambitious! I'll read a science NF now and then, but I wouldn't commit to read three. Have fun!

looloolooweez said...

'Your Inner Fish' is a great choice for this list! And now I feel compelled to read 'The Violinist's Thumb' as well -- you had me at "There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies..." haha

Rachel said...

You've already read The Gene! Good for you. It's huge. I have it on my Christmas list.

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