Books to read in 2007

Hi all. I didn’t make it to TAM5. I passed through Las Vegas on Thursday night en route from California to Colorado, but I was so pooped that I passed out at 8:30 and slept for 11 hours, after which it was back on the road ASAP, so I’m loving the posts about the conference, and saying so has given me a chance to be devious and attach this message to the TAM5 category. No rotten tomatoes, please!

Here are the first 3 books I want to read in 2007. Since January is already over, we’ll start our yearly reading spree in Feb. I have mentioned these three books before, and after checking them out in more detail, I think they’ll be fun to read and discuss. I hope you can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or library and start reading in time to join in the discussions. You can post comments on this blog and/or join in on the forums to participate.

February: This first book is fiction and fun. It’s a novella (a short novel, for those who are not in publishing) by Connie Willis, one of my favorite sci-fi authors and a neighbor of sorts, as we both live in Colorado. It’s Inside Job. Here’s a description from Amazon:

Professional debunker Rob, proprietor of the Jaundiced Eye magazine, considers himself incredibly lucky to have Kildy as his sole employee. Smart, dedicated, gorgeous, and, thanks to her last movie before she hung up on Hollywood, rich, she’s a pleasure to oblige when she says Rob has to witness this channeler Ariaura’s act–on her, not the Eye’s, nickel–despite channelers being so last year. It’s quite a show, all right, for in the midst of Ariaura’s particular ancient wise guy’s basso spiel, a gravelly baritone interrupts (both voices emanate from the channeler’s female mouth) to berate the audience as “yaps” and the act as “claptrap.” Why is Ariaura undermining herself? Or is she? After all, she angrily accuses Rob and Kildy of scheming to destroy her. Could the baritone belong to a genuine channeled spirit? Willis, one of sf’s most spirited writers, rounds on the New Age; pays tribute to a great, skeptical journalist; and affectionately parodies pulp fiction at its best (Fredric Brown, that would be) in this irresistible entertainment. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

March: Book 2 is The Top 10 Myths About Evolution by Cameron Smith, Charles Sullivan. It’s a paperback, so inexpensive, and also a relatively short read on this sometimes overwhelming subject. Here’s a blurb from the book’s website:

In this concise, accessible handbook, educators Cameron M. Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly dispel the ten most common myths about evolution, which continue to mislead average Americans. Using a refreshing, jargon-free style, they set the record straight on claims that evolution is “just a theory,” that Darwinian explanations of life undercut morality, that Intelligent Design is a legitimate alternative to conventional science, that humans come from chimpanzees, and six other popular but erroneous notions. Smith and Sullivan’s reader-friendly, solidly researched text will serve as an important tool, both for teachers and laypersons seeking accurate information about evolution.

April: This is the longest book in the list, so I’m putting it last. I’ve succumbed to the allure of the cover image, plus this is a topic that I’ve found to be fun since I was a kid. The book is Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff Meldrum. It’s a hefty hardcover, and pretty expensive, but can be had a decent discount on Amazon and probably on some other online booksites. Here’s a review from Amazon, by Jane Goodall of all people:

“Jeff Meldrum’s book ‘Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science’ brings a much needed level of scientific analysis to the Sasquatch – or Bigfoot – debate. Does Sasquatch exist? There are countless people – especially indigenous people – in different parts of America who claim to have seen such a creature. And in many parts of the world I meet those who, in a matter-of-fact way, tell me of their encounters with large, bipedal, tail-less hominids. I think I have read every article and every book about these creatures, and while most scientists are not satisfied with existing evidence, I have an open mind.”
–Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE UN Messenger of Peace & Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute

I’ll try to line up interviews with these authors, and if that doesn’t work out, I’ll write up my own reviews of the books after we’ve read them. I hope you like these topics. Feel free to continue to suggest books. I’ve got one recommendation from Rebecca in the lineup for later this year, and I’m always open to suggestions.


Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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