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The Best American Science Writing 2011 Paperback – September 27, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0062091246 ISBN-10: 0062091247 Edition: Original

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Product Details

  • Series: Best American Science Writing
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Original edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062091247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062091246
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The perfect gateway to the wider world of modern science in all its variety and wonder. The writing is engaging and perfectly suited to readers of any interest level.... The Best American Science Writing 2011 provides a brilliantly brief glimpse into that fascinating world.” (San Francisco Book Review)

“By drawing from a wide variety of sources, mainstream (The New York Times, Playboy, Vanity Fair) and niche (Discover, Columbia Journalism Review, and science blogs), the [2011] anthology both provokes and inspires.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The list of impressive guest editors over the years—including Oliver Sacks, James Gleick, Atul Gawande and Jerome Groopman—is joined this year by a father and daughter... Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) teams with her father Floyd, a past contributor to the series…Literate, nontechnical popular science.” (Kirkus Reviews)

From the Back Cover

Edited by Rebecca Skloot, award-winning science writer and New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and her father, Floyd Skloot, an award-winning poet and writer, and past contributor to the series, The Best American Science Writing 2011 collects into one volume the most crucial, thought-provoking, and engaging science writing of the year. Culled from a wide variety of publications, these selections of outstanding journalism cover the full spectrum of scientific inquiry, providing a comprehensive overview of the most compelling, relevant, and exciting developments in the world of science. Provocative and engaging, The Best American Science Writing 2011 reveals just how far science has brought us—and where it is headed next.

More About the Author

Floyd Skloot is a creative nonfiction writer, poet, and fiction writer whose work has received three Pushcart Prizes, a Pen USA Literary Award, two Pacific NW Book Awards, an Independent Publishers Book Award, and two Oregon Book Awards. In 2010, Poets & Writers named him one of 50 of the most inspiring authors in the world. His writing has appeared in such distinguished magazines as The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Poetry, American Scholar, Boulevard, Georgia Review, Hopkins Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, Hudson Review, Gettysburg Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and Creative Nonfiction. His eighteen books include the memoirs In the Shadow of Memory (University of Nebraska Press, 2003), A World of Light (University of Nebraska Press, 2005), The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer's Life (University of Nebraska Press, 2008), and Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014); the poetry collections The End of Dreams (Louisiana State University Press, 2006), Selected Poems: 1970-2005 (Tupelo Press, 2008), The Snow's Music (Louisiana State University Press, 2008) and Close Reading (Eyewear Publishing, London UK, 2014; and the novels Summer Blue (Story Line Press, 1994) and Patient 002 (Rager Media, 2007).

He co-edited The Best American Science Writing 2011 (HarperCollins/Ecco Press) with his daughter, Rebecca Skloot.

He contributes book reviews to the New York Times Book Review, Boston Globe, Harvard Review, Sewanee Review, Notre Dame Review and other publications.

Floyd has taught at the Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Summer Writers Conference at Goucher College, the Paris Writers Workshop, and elsewhere.

He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Beverly Hallberg, a weaver and landscape painter, whose light-filled works cross between impressionistic and abstracted styles. Her paintings grace the covers of Floyd's books, Approximately Paradise, The End of Dreams, Selected Poems: 1970-2005, and The Snow's Music. See her work at www.beverlyhallberg.com.

Floyd's daughter, Rebecca Skloot, is the bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown Books, 2010), winner of the Heartland Prize and Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and named Best Book of 2010 by Amazon.com. Visit her website at www.rebeccaskloot.com.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By The Spinozanator VINE VOICE on October 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I look forward to reading and reviewing this fine series every year. Science journalists have a harder time finding places to publish these days, hard science is less available, and the articles are getting fluffier. That's not really OK with me but it is what it is - and it reflects the scientific literacy of most US readers and is thus inevitable. Among the gems in this year's selections are the following:

*One of my favorites - "What Broke My Father's Heart" by Butler: Good article about end of life issues - that can be less like a battle and more like a massacre. There's nothing like the profit motive to keep people from being allowed to die in peace.

*One of my favorites - "Hot Air" by Homans: The "dumbing down" of science has infected our local TV weathermen. They enjoy a large respect factor from the public, sometimes being looked at as science ambassadors in their communities. Unfortunately, they may not know much science outside their immediate field - short-term prediction of weather - and have been known to misrepresent climate change issues.

"The Singularity" by Zimmer: Why Artificial Intelligence will not replace the human brain - but there are certainly technologies that might enhance it. Zimmer is a great science writer and does justice to this large subject.

"BP's Deep Secrets" by Whitty: In depth study of the long term environmental impacts of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and much about the physiology of the deep.

"The Estrogen Dilemma" by Gorney: Hormone replacement therapy may carry a few risks but the symptoms of menopause can be tough to deal with. Good example of why epidemiological studies are so hard to interpret. The variables and intricacies are endless.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Crowell on January 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Skloot is the author of a fascinating book about Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer became an immortal cell line. That book showed her strengths (telling personal stories and depicting the human dimension of science) and her area of comfort (health and the life sciences). Unfortunately, Skloot stays in her comfort zone as editor of this installment in what is usually an excellent series. Although the title refers to an unqualified "Science," the contents have an overwhelming slant toward health and the life science. There is virtually nothing here about the physical sciences.
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Format: Paperback
technological science-themed subjects.

The 2011 version of the Best American Science Writing started out great for me with the introduction by Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and her father, Floyd, who co-edited. It was interesting to learn that they both came to science writing from entirely different perspectives and pathways. Their take on "what makes good science writing" is that it, "presents information clearly and accessibly while also telling stories that show readers how science impacts them, why it's essential to life and culture, why they should care, and why they should learn about it." I agree. Whether an individual enjoys the book's excellently written selections will likely depend on his or her interest in the subjects, but are worth reading just the same. With such a wide range of topics and tones, I found myself, at times, crying (Katy Butler's What Broke My Father's Heart "WBMFH") and other times feeling bored to tears (Mark Bowden's The Enemy Within). My favorites include: WBMFH, which tackles the issue of persons receiving unnecessary medical procedures that, though able to prolong a life, may do so at huge mental and physical costs; The Singularity, the prospect of possibly being able to upload the human brain; The Estrogen Dilemma, how the effects of taking estrogen depend on what time in her life she begins taking it and Deadly Misdiagnoses, problems that come from the misdiagnosis of TB.
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By Karen L. Paley on July 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Science mixed with the personal--it's great. My favorite so far is Katy Butler's essay, "What Broke My Father's Heart." I plan to use it the next opportunity I have to teach creative nonfiction.
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Format: Paperback
I liked the width of topics though I did feel there was a larger number of 'big data' inspired essays. This series has allowed me, someone who is interested in keeping abreast of latest issues in the world of science, to pick up just one book to read all the essays on topics ranging from LSD to model generation for fighting insurgencies, in one place.

The quality of the essays range from mildly boring to very entertaining and regardless of the writing style employed by the individual authors, i can confidently say i learnt something new in each chapter.

Well worth the money and time.
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