Book Keeping: A Reader's Community

Books on My Mind This Year

Amanda Moon


Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks: Classic Sacks. A compassionate celebration of the inner workings of the brain. 

Rabid by Bill Wasik & Monica Murphy: Rabies?! Enough said. And what a cover.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen: Pandemics? Right up there with rabies. And from the legendary Quammen.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte: This was the first work of Tufte’s that I encountered, and it is simply revelatory, as are all of his books – Beautiful Evidence is another gem.

Underground by David Macaulay: During the hurricane, my young daughter had a lot of questions regarding the way the city works and how it was constructed. I realized that I did too. What happens below our feet? How deep are the subway tunnels? Macaulay maps it all out for her, but this classic is a real joy for anyone interested in cities, architecture, and infrastructure — and illustrated books.

Angel Killer: A True Story of Cannibalism, Crime Fighting, and Insanity in New York City by Deborah Blum: What more could you ask for in a long-form e-single? I raced through Blum’s Poisoner’s Handbook years ago, a science thriller that is in a class of its own. Now she brings us a detective story packed with abduction, murder, torture – and science.

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough: A much-needed breath of fresh air, highlighting the most recent research in education, economics, neuroscience, and more, Tough shows why perseverance, grit, and hard work are the true building blocks on the path to success.

The Old Barn Book: A Field Guide to North American Barns & Other Farm Structures by Allen Noble and Richard Cleek, and the Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings by Thomas Durant Visser: I grew up horseback riding, and have a mild obsession with all-things-equestrian. Which means I have to bring these books on all family drives up in the country so I can better identify the differences between a Dutch barn and a German barn, a gambrel roof and a gable roof. Turns out it’s a great way to learn more about the history of New England and New York State. Luckily, my driving companions don’t seem to mind the sudden pit-stops to discuss the taxonomy of barns…

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon: Next on my list. Recommended by several friends and colleagues. The major new work from the man who brought us The Noonday Demon. Can’t wait.

Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington: The fabulous and passionate creative director of Vogue tells all? Count me in. One for me, and several for my fashion-minded friends.

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter: I don’t love to cook, but I do love to read about the science of food, and the process of invention in the kitchen.

The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix by James Watson, edited by Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski: I just received a copy and can’t wait to dive in. This new edition celebrates Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA and gives us new insight into the relationships between all of the scientists involved in this tremendous, pioneering research. This is the human side of scientific discovery – the dramatic tale of what goes on behind the scenes.

AMANDA MOON is Senior Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where she acquires and edits general interest science books for the Scientific American imprint. She also manages the “Novel Graphics” line of graphic books under Hill & Wang.

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