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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013 Paperback – October 8, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Previous ISBN 978-0-547-79953-7

From the Back Cover

The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 includes Atul Gawande, Jonathan Franzen, Deborah Blum, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Sacks, Jon Mooallem, Jon Cohen, Luke Dittrich, and others

[insert author photo] Mary Roach, editor, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void; Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. She has written for National Geographic, Wired, New Scientist, the New York Times Book Review, the Journal of Clinical Anatomy, and Outside, among others. She is a member of the Mars Institute's advisory board and a winner of the American Engineering Societies' Engineering Journalism Award, in a category for which, let's be honest, she was the sole entrant. More at www.maryroach.net.
Look for the other best-selling titles in the Best American series:
The Best American Comics
The Best American Essays
The Best American Mystery Stories
The Best American Nonrequired Reading
The Best American Short Stories
The Best American Sports Writing
The Best American Travel Writing


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 2013 ed. edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544003438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544003439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read other in the "The Best American________Writing" series but never the science and nature version. I've really enjoyed this compilation. I'm somebody who had a horrible experience with science in school, and discovered a love of it (and interest in) after college... so much so, that I went back and did a post-bac program.

While I read some of the magazines/journals featured in real life or online like "Scientific American", "The Atlantic", and "The New Yorker"--others such as "Orion" or "Playboy" aren't on my radar. A lot of the pieces came from "The New Yorker", but honestly--I didn't mind reading them again. I love this book (and the other in the series) because in 10 minutes or so, I can read an article that stimulates my mind and leaves me with at least one, usually many more, new pieces of information.

As there is no preview available right now, here's what you'll get:

J.B. MACKINNON. False Idyll
From Orion

BENJAMIN HALE. The Last Distinction?
From Harper's

TIM ZIMMERMANN. Talk to Me
From Outside

DAVID DEUTSCH and ARTUR EKERT. Beyond the Quantum Horizon
From Scientific American

MICHAEL MOYER. Is Space Digital?
From Scientific American

SYLVIA A. EARLE. The Sweet Spot in Time
From Virginia Quarterly Review

JOHN PAVLUS. Machines of the Infinite
From Scientific American

MICHELLE NIJHUIS. Which Species Will Live?
From Scientific American

RICK BASS. The Larch
From Orion

BRETT FORREST. Shattered Genius
From Playboy

JEROME GROOPMAN. The T-Cell Army
From The New Yorker

DAVID OWEN. The Artificial Leaf
From The New Yorker

MICHAEL SPECTER.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I look forward to receiving this anthology every year and am never disappointed. It is a treat to find a curated selection of essays that are invariably informing and beautifully written. I would say that in prior years I have found an essay that quite literally changed my life in a significant way (The Estrogen Dilemma by Cynthia Gorney reprinted from the New York Times). In another recent collection I encountered what I feel to be the most beautifully constructed and written essay I have ever found (Sign Here if You Exist by Jill Sisson Quinn, reprinted from Ecotone). I had come across neither of these in their original published format and would likely never have seen them if not for this annual anthology.

The 2013 collection did not contain any essays that I found life changing or truly awesome, but it was an excellent compendium nonetheless. I found the general character of the essays to be more thoughtful and appraising of the whole enterprise of science. Do we really know as much as we think we do? There have always been essays in past collections that questioned the scientific process, the over reliance on what may be overly massaged or misleading data, or even the arrogance in thinking we understand so much more than we really do. I felt that this tendency to be a little bit more humble in the face of nature and the vast territory of the unknown and perhaps unknowable to be a more emergent attitude in this latest collection -- and a welcome one, from my point of view. May-be this is to be expected since the entries were selected by a physician who has who has studied and written about a disease that is slow to be understood despite the massive amounts of funding and the efforts of so many researchers.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is so much being written today that it is impossible to be sure you haven't missed something really worthwhile, and that is why I look forward each year to the latest in The Best American Science and Nature Writing series. Each annual edition has two editors. Series editor Tim Folger collects candidate articles from general-interest periodicals such as the Atlantic and The New Yorker and more tailored publications like Scientific American, Popular Science, Orion, and the Virginia Quarterly Review and assures that the selections include a wide variety of science and nature topics. Each year he is joined by a different prominent scientist or science journalist, who makes the final selection of articles. As a result, each book has a fresh personality reflecting the guest editor's interests and intellectual bent.
This year's guest editor, Siddhartha Mukherjee, is a cancer physician and the author of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. In his thoughtful introduction, Mukherjee say that most of the essays he selected "share a common thread: they describe how science HAPPENS." Beyond that, the subject matter runs the gamut of science and nature, as evidenced in this partial list of the contents:
David Deutsch and Artur Ekert, Beyond the Quantum Horizon
Michael Moyer, Is Space Digital?
Sylvia A. Earle, The Sweet Spot in Time (about undersea exploration, NOT physics!)
Michelle Nijhuis, Which Species Will Live?
Jerome Groopman, The T-Cell Army
David Quammen, Out of the Wild
Oliver Sacks, Altered States
Steven Weinberg, The Crisis of Big Science
Gareth Cook, Autism, Inc.
Natalie Angier, The Life of Pi, and Other Infinities
Nathaniel Rich, Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?
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