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midnight melon mounter
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a big fan of Donald Culross Peattie's books on the trees of North America, and I'm looking for something similar. A treatise on some part of the natural world, written with scientific detail and great affection. I love Wilson and Holdobbler's many books on Ants, and McPhee's essays on geology.

Thanks Lounge.
 

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Some recommendations

I'd recommend anything by Lewis Thomas. You might also enjoy the Bill Bryson book, "A Short History of Nearly Everything". That one is not confined to natural history but includes very interesting chapters on chemistry, physics, etc.
 

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midnight melon mounter
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm looking at Thomas Eisner's book, 'For Love of Insects'. Has anyone read this?

And I see that Eisner won the Thomas prize, named for the author suggested above. Cool.
 

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Alex-in-Evanston said:
I'm a big fan of Donald Culross Peattie's books on the trees of North America, and I'm looking for something similar. A treatise on some part of the natural world, written with scientific detail and great affection. I love Wilson and Holdobbler's many books on Ants, and McPhee's essays on geology.

Thanks Lounge.
There's a great magazine (or at least there used to be) called "Natural History". Stephen Jay Gould wrote a monthly article for it and these were collected in various books (at least I think that is where the essays originated) like "The Pandas Thumb" and "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes". I found these to be really good reads, mixing natural history with various other topics. Pure genius of a person. I'd almost forgotten how much I used to enjoy reading his stuff. Might even look into resubscribing to the magazine.
 

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Alex-in-Evanston said:
I'm looking at Thomas Eisner's book, 'For Love of Insects'. Has anyone read this?

And I see that Eisner won the Thomas prize, named for the author suggested above. Cool.
:thumbsup: from a former entomologist.

SJ Gould's shorts are great, from the few I've read, though I've not read the collection. His books are good, but can be a bit much in the details.

I need to look at my shelf, as I've got some good ones up there, but sleep deprived as I am, I can't remember any titles.:rolleyes:

oh yeah, "Tinkering with Eden" was a pretty good read.
 

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KennyG said:
Check out Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe.
Oh God. Did you really have to go there?

The arguement that a process is so complex or refined that I can't imagine how it evolved, is no kind of arguement at all.
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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A couple of suggestions that are a bit more about scientists making discoveries, but are well written and worth reading. All are non-technical and aimed at the general public.

The Map that Changed the World, by Simon Winchester
Earth: An Intimate History, by Richard Forthey
Snowball Earth, by Gabrielle Walker
Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery, by John Imbrie and Katherine Palmer Imbrie

Somewhat more technical, but very readable by an intelligent amateur, is Andrew Knoll's "Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth" is wonderful. It never really gets beyond one-celled life (recall that the Cambrian explosion occurred about 550 million years ago)

If you're interested in weather, I could recommend two good popular books (both with excellent pictures and illustrations) by a couple of top-notch meteorologists: Kerry Emanuel's "Divine Wind" about hurricanes, and Howard Bluestein's "Tornado Alley" The writing in these is nowhere at McPhee's level, but they give you a wonderful look into the minds of two top scientists and how they think about these violent storms.

Other good weather books include "The Invention of Clouds" by Richard Hamblyn and "Air Apparent: How Meteorologists Learned to Map, Predict, and Dramatize the Weather" by Mark Monmonier.
 

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haole from the mainland
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Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner. Pulitzer Prize Winner. Good translation of science for the general public.

About the Grants' research on Darwin's finches in the Galapagos.
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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logbiter said:
SJ Gould's shorts are great, from the few I've read, though I've not read the collection. His books are good, but can be a bit much in the details.
Wonderful Life is a great book.
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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logbiter said:
:thumbsup: from a former entomologist.
When I was a kid, I read a great book on bees by Karl von Frisch, "The Dancing Bees" and loved it. Don't know where apiology is these day but it was a heckuva book.

Konrad Lorenz's King Solomon's Ring was another work of natural history (on animal behavior) that really impressed me in my youth. I need to go back and reread that one of these days.
 

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midnight melon mounter
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
terry b said:
You're an almost bird guy, check out the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior.

Interesting and topical if you like our feathered friends.
Almost a bird guy? You're handing out the insults like Halloween candy today.
 

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eminence grease
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Alex-in-Evanston said:
Almost a bird guy? You're handing out the insults like Halloween candy today.
Insult? I was including you in the fraternity. I only said "almost" because I didn't think you were quite as strange as the rest of us.

Sorry.
 

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midnight melon mounter
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
terry b said:
Insult? I was including you in the fraternity. I only said "almost" because I didn't think you were quite as strange as the rest of us.

Sorry.
I was just kidding.
 

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Song of the Dodo, Flight of the Iguana and The Boilerplate Rhino, all by David Quammen, plus three others I just finished and can't remember the titles of...Damn, and they were good, too. I'll edit if I think of them in minute.
 

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j-dawg
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Bryson

Bill Bryson has an entertaining read called 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' ... it touches mostly natural history from an uninformed layman's point of view. I really enjoyed it.
 
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