Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Updated Booklist

I've just updated my list of Recent Good Reads, and thought I'd comment on some of the books.

Sean Carroll's Remarkable Creatures has a chapter about each of a selection of people who influenced or were influenced by Darwin. Humboldt, Henslow, Roy Chapman-Andrews and others. He's an excellent writer and this was an interesting new slant on the Darwin story.

Tracy Chevalier was the girl talking with Richard Fortey at the Royal Society last autumn, chaired by the delectable Alice Roberts, and her Remarkable Creatures is quite different from Sean Carroll's, being a novel based on the life of Mary Anning, the woman who found many of the most significant fossils that changed the course of geology and palaentology in the 19th century.

The latest Dawkins is a structured discussion about the evidence supporting evolution with strong rebuttals of the rather feeble creationist arguments against. As with some of his earlier stuff, I find him irritatingly repetitive, and his lists of examples are always at least half again as long as they need to be, but his writing is clear and unambiguous, and of course, I agree with him, so that's OK!

Right now I'm reading Alan Moorhead's excellent 1969 paperback Darwin and the Beagle and shortly I intend to get hold Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctal Regions. This was originally published in the early 19th century and heavily influenced Darwin. I stumbled across this 1995 translation in the library on our Galápagos cruise ship, and determined to read it when we got back.

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