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Introducing a few recent book events and an invitation to talk about what you’re reading.

This post is an experiment I guess. I’ve previously written articles pointing to reading material, even occasionally reviewed a book! (I haven’t done that in quite a while!) Here I’d like to invite readers to share what you are currently reading . Before I do, let’s look at a couple of recent book events & news.

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The Royal Society of England’s shortlist for the Prize for Science Writing 2010 is out. Bookies odds are near the bottom of the page! – they favour James Hannam’s God’s Philosophers: How the medieval world laid the foundations of modern science.

Thinking cynically, you’d have to wonder if the publisher is thinking that science books with the word ‘god’ in the title attract attention, and sales. (Ken made similar remarks recently, which is bringing this thought to mind.)

Some of you will have already seen their second-ranked book, We need to talk about Kelvin,* on the shelves in New Zealand.

Jennifer Rohn noted that every shortlisted book book this year has a male author, which has a number of writers twitting disappointment.

I note the remark at the end that they are seeking support for the award for coming years: you’d like to think this is a good cause for someone to be allied with and that someone will see the opportunity it represents. The same could be said of the New Zealand equivalent, the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize. It is biennial with the next round next year.

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If anyone was looking for a copy of Jennifer Ouellette’s Calculus Dairies that I mentioned in Looking for a book to read?, it’s now available on Amazon.com. There are a lot of science writers tweeting that they are getting their copies of Brian Switek’s Written in Stone: that’s available now too.

There’s still time to contribute to the Science Book Challenge 2010. Their Book Notes are another place to search for new science-y reading material, with a long list of science-related books.

But the main purpose of this post was to invite people to share what they have read recently that they think other’s might like. Or just books they’ve spotted that sound great.

I have almost completed reading Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction by Lisa Tuttle. I know it isn’t ’science’, nor do I expect to become a sci-fi ‘great’ from it, but it has been interesting to explore the issues of presenting a sci-fi work. Others have objected that this book does not give much on writing in general, but like some others I think Tuttle has made an excellent choice to focus on what is different in writing sci-fi (and fantasy). There are countless general writing books available, after all, and it keeps her work the more compact and better for it.

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God’s Philosophers sounds like something I’d read, and as you might guess is part of the inspiration for this post. Currently, I have a book on a related subject out of the library, The Age of Wonder, by Richard Holmes, which looks at science through the late 1700s through to the mid 1800s. I’ve barely had time to get through the first few pages – it’s an enormous thing, 469 pages excluding end-matter – but it looks very promising.

There is also a copy of Alice Flahery’s The Midnight Disease that I have been wanting to read since seemingly ’forever’. Alice Flaherty is a neurologist and in the book she explores hypergraphia, the compulsive desire to write. This book seems appropriate for a blogger who often finds himself writing his posts in, literally, the wee hours of the morning, just as the title alludes to.

Share what you’ve read or are interested in lately in the comments!

Footnotes

* I’d provide a link, but the publisher really needs to do something about their server: the page won’t load andI’m not about to provide a ‘sucky’ link to my readers…!


Other articles on Code for life:

Looking for a book to read?

I remember because my DNA was methylated

Welcome PLoGs

Dictionaries, the OED, and what do you use?

Major newspaper opts for science blogging