What I like, not what I should like

That long list of books is making the rounds again (Jennifer, Chad, Jessica, John, and Bora have already jumped in), yet I can’t bring myself to join in the fun.

The list reminds me of something one of my high school English teacher once told my class. He was very concerned that we be “cultured” (no, not that way) and steeped in the classics, having us cut our teeth on Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky before hopefully starting up subscriptions to The New Yorker someday. I didn’t particularly care; his culture was not my culture, then or now. Indeed, glancing over the selections putting the book list up here would only be a waste of space. What I’ve decided to do instead is to list 100 books that I consider important, that I have deeply enjoyed or changed the way I think about the world. Here they are, in no particular order;

1; Misquoting Jesus – Bart Ehrman
2; Wonderful Life – Stephen Jay Gould
3; The Varieties of Scientific Experience – Carl Sagan
4; The Life of a Fossil Hunter – C.H. Sternberg
5; The Meaning of Fossils – Martin Rudwick
6; Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle – Stephen Jay Gould
7; Recent Vertebrate Carcasses and Their Paleobiological Implications – Johannes Weigelt
8; The Boilerplate Rhino – David Quammen
9; Evolution – Jean Baptiste de Panafieu
10; The Earth on Show – Ralph O’Connor
11; A Primate’s Memoir – Robert Sapolsky
12; In the Shadow of Man – Jane Goodall
13; Archetypes and Ancestors – Adrian Desmond
14; Birdsong – Don Stap
15; Trying Leviathan – D. Graham Burnett
16; Going Postal – Terry Pratchett
17; Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads – Stephen Asma
18; Summer for the Gods – Edward Larson
19; A Sand County Almanac – Aldo Leopold
20; Extinction – David Raup
21; The Platypus and the Mermaid – Harriet Ritvo
22; The First Human – Ann Gibbons
23; The Relic – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
24; Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
25; The Bonehunter’s Revenge – David Rains Wallace
26; Elephant Memories – Cynthia Moss
27; No Way Home – David Wilcove
28; The Last Continent – Terry Pratchett
29; Cry of the Kalahari – Mark and Delia Owens
30; The Jesuit and the Skull – Amir Aczel
31; Last Chance to See – Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine
32; The End of the Wild – Stephen Meyer
33; The Dinosaur Heresies – Robert Bakker
34; The Secret Life of Lobsters – Trevor Corson
35; The Demon-Haunted World – Carl Sagan
36; Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder – Lawrence Weschler
37; Almost Human – Shirley Strum
38; The Origin of Birds – Gerhard Heilmann
39; The Lying Stones of Dr. Johann Adam Bartholemew Beringer – Daniel Woolf and John Melvine
40; The Meaning of Evolution – G.G. Simpson
41; An Agenda for Antiquity – Ronald Rainger
42; Dinosaur! – David Norman
43; On the Origin of Phyla – James Valentine
44; Leviathan – Eric Dolan
45; Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives – Mauricio Anton and Alan Turner
46; Man’s Place in Nature – T.H. Huxley
47; Antecedents of Man – W.E. le Gros Clark
48; The Complete Dinosaur – edited by James Farlow and M.K. Brett-Surman
49; Seashell on the Mountaintop – Alan Cutler
50; Bones for Barnum Brown – R.T. Bird
51; Baboon Metaphysics – Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth
52; Small Gods – Terry Pratchett
53; God’s Own Scientists – Christopher Toumey
54; Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes – Stephen Jay Gould
55; Chimpanzee Politics – Frans de Waal
56; The Secret Life of Sharks – Peter Klimley
57; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
58; Monsters of the Sea – Richard Ellis
59; Quest for the African Dinosaurs – Louis Jacobs
60; The Horned Dinosaurs – Peter Dodson
61; Hunting Dinosaurs – Louie Psihoyos
62; The First Fossil Hunters – Adrienne Mayor
63; The Dragon Seekers – Christopher McGowan
64; American Monster – Paul Semonin
65; Georges Cuvier, Fossil Bones, and Geological Catastrophes – Martin Rudwick
66; A History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom – A.D. White
67; The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs – Adrian Desmond
68; Theories of Human Evolution – Peter Bowler
69; Curiosities of Natural History – Francis Buckland
70; Dinosaur Systematics – Edited by Kenneth Carpenter and Philip Currie
71; The Hunters or the Hunted? – C.K. Brain
72; The World of Kong – WETA Workshop
73; Dinosaur in a Haystack – Stephen Jay Gould
74; The Velvet Claw – David MacDonald
75; Eyelids of Morning – A. Graham
76; Relentless Enemies – Dereck and Beverly Joubert
77; Monster of God – David Quammen
78; Megaherbivores – R. Norman Owen-Smith
79; Osteology of the Reptiles – A.S. Romer
80; The Serengeti Lion – George Schaller
81; Carnivorous Nights – Margaret Mittelbach, Michael Crewdso, and Alexis Rockman
81; Time Traveler – Michael Novacek
83; The Dechronization of Sam Magruder – G.G. Simpson
84; Victorian Popularizers of Science – Bernard Lightman
85; A Whale for the Killing – Farley Mowat
86; Glorified Dinosaurs – Luis Chiappe
87; Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway – Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll
88; Dangerous Beauty – Mark Ross
89; Lucy – Donald Johanson and Maitland Edey
90; The Simian Tongue – Gregory Radick
91; Rex Appeal – Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan
92; Cephalopod Behaviour – Roger Hanlon and John Messenger
93; Mort – Terry Pratchett
94; Science and Religion – John Hedley Brooke
95; The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey – Christopher Beard
96; Interesting Times – Terry Pratchett
97;Scientists Confront Creationism – Edited by Laurie Godfrey
98; Huxley – Adrian Desmond
99; Eight Little Piggies – Stephen Jay Gould
100; The Descent of Man – Charles Darwin

That’s it. Not the most diversified list, perhaps, but I have too many questions to do much other than follow my curiosity.

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