Today is the last day of Women’s History Month and tomorrow National Poetry Month begins. I know I’m not the only one who tries to mark these occasions while at the some time wondering if doing so somehow contributes to the compartmentalizing of things that we care about. But if it somehow helps to bring attention to things we care about, then I will continue to do so as long as I have a platform. It is in that spirit that I blog today about women’s science authors.
Earlier this month on Huffington Post, Sten Oswald asked the question why there are so few science women popularizers? Well, in fact there is a shortage of female science popularizers, but men do seem to be more visible and occupy the highest echelons. While this deserves its own discussion, I mention it because it reminded me of another question that I have been wondering about for many years: Why don’t women authors of science books for the general public receive the same accolades that the men do? Look at the list of winning, shortlisted, and longlisted books for the prestigious Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. How many women authors do you see? Okay, there are a couple. But in my opinion there should be many more.
That’s why I’m taking this opportunity to showcase some of the work of 10 outstanding and successful contemporary female science authors. These women have written science books that are popular, substantive, accessible, important, and possess unique voices. The book I have selected for each author is my particular favorite. You can purchase the book from our Amazon store by clicking on the title. Click on the link to the author’s blog or website to discover more of their work.
If you want people to engage with science, I can’t imagine books more likely to inspire that engagement than the ones on this list. Their subjects and styles are unique; they inspire, inform, amaze, and amuse.
Animal Wise: How We Know What Animals Think and Feel, by Virginia Morell. (Crown, 2013) Author’s Blog.
Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, by Emily Anthes (Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2013) Author’s Website.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. (Crown: 2011) Author’s Website.
Inside a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz. (Scribner: 2010) Author’s Website.
Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, by Dava Sobel. (Walker: 2011) Author’s Blog.
A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman. (Vintage: 1991) Author’s Website.
The Odyssey of KP2:An Orphan Seal and a Marine Biologist’s Fight to Save a Species, by Terrie M. Williams. (Penguin: 2012) Author’s Website.
The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in the Jazz Age, by Deborah Blum. (Penguin, 2010) Author’s Website.
Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach. (Norton: 2004.) Author’s Website.
Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us about Health and the Science of Healing, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. (Knopf: 2012) Authors’ Website.
All of these books would make fantastic selections for book clubs for adults or older teens. In fact, I’m thinking SB&F should start an online book club to do just that. What do you think? Which book should we start with? Vote on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SBFReads or send your vote to firstname.lastname@example.org and put SBFReads in the subject line.
31 Mar 2014 1:19 PM
Filed under: Mary Roach, women in STEM, Dava Sobel, Rebecca Skloot, Virginia Morrell, Diane Ackerman, Debra Blum, Women's History Month, Terrie M. Williams, Emily Anthes, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Kathryn Bowers, Alexandra Horowitz, popular science books, female writers