There is a certain character among you, so I put together a reading list so that you can all be even more weird and creepy. I have put together a list of books that not only are related to the content at StrangeBiology, but have in fact informed a lot of the knowledge behind it. If you enjoy anomalous, extreme, weird, and biological, then these are the books for you.
(And here are some stores you’d like too.) Click on the titles for links to Amazon.
No book has better cemented my qualifications as resident “weird things expert” than this one.
I’d say this is the best and most interesting trade paperback about teratology out there. It’s easy to read, yet eloquent and packed with science, stories, history, illustration, and event fitting descriptions of mythology. Each chapter explains what a different type of mutation is, how it forms, and how it has been interpreted throughout history. If you found genetics a little boring in bio, let Armand Leroi show you how fascinating they can be.
The only problem with this book is that a number of people thought I was reading about X-Men.
Also a great read by a man who actually lived the carny life. (With it and for it!) These are stories of people who have serious pathologies, from their own experiences and with their own words, such as the Elephant Man, and amazing stories about how their physiological difference affected their lives. This takes a less scientific approach, more human approach than Mutants. This book is particularly wonderful because you get a glimpse into history that isn’t available anywhere else. The only problem is that means that some of the stories I found I couldn’t confirm.
(Honorable Mention: The Shocked and Amazed! periodical is also a great way to learn about sideshow, freakshow and big top history, lingo, and practices.)
This is my absolute favorite book. Yes, I found it because I had typed the word “antelope” into Amazon. But it turned out to be one the best book about biology I had ever read, and the only good book about running I’d ever read.
This was later republished as Why We Run. If you are interested in biology and also a runner, this is a must-read. If you are one or the other, it is still highly recommended. In this book, Bernd Heinrich discusses the issues that runners face, such as keeping cool, pacing, endurance, speed, and hydration. He analyzes animals and how they deal with these issues. This is a story of origins of humanity, running, nature, and our connection to all other life.
I recommend the whole series of The Best American Science Writing and The Best American Science and Nature Writing.
The Best American Series is a series of series’ of collections of the best American writing published each year, organized by topic and aggregated by someone who reads a whole lot about that topic. These books are very useful because it saves you the time of looking for good writing and finding that your articles were simply click-bait or lacking. Every article contained therein is guaranteed to be one of the best articles published in that entire year, according to the editor(s).
They did one better in 2010 and published The Best of the Best American Science Writing, which includes the very best articles from the previous ten years of books published in the series. You will probably never read a better collection of general-population-targeted science articles.
(They also have other titles, but the only other title I’ve read include some from the Crime Reporting series, which has sadly been discontinued.)
Ben Goldacre is a doctor whose book will literally change the way you think. This should be required reading for all journalists, doctors, and scientists, and it’s highly recommended for everyone.
Goldacre is a doctor who makes it his business to expose bad medicine. In this book he exposes quackery like homeopathy and Brain Gym. He explains how statistics can mislead people, how trials are misrepresented in literature, how media sources cling to faulty science practices, and why people believe in fake results. This book would make most readers smarter people.
Ripley’s is a big part of why I’m interested in the strange. Their books (of which there are many) are usually very colorful and image-heavy. For that reason they are great for kids. There are also a lot of books that an adult may prefer, such as A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Ripley, but I read all different ones.For the last ten years they have released annual books full of the most interesting news. Of course they are not limited to biology, but their books often include chapters such as “Animals” and “Bodies.”
Right now you can get one for free by sending an object in the mail without packaging!
Of course, the book with the content most appropriate for followers of this blog would be the upcoming book based on it.
Just like strangebiology, the book features the freaky aspects of the life sciences. If the project is successfully funded, the chapters will include detailed descriptions, not just photos, of whatever anomalies I can fit, perhaps such as unicorn-goats, deformed antlers, and the bubble boy. If you want to see the book, consider contributing. If the funding goal isn’t met, then no book, but you also don’t get charged. So you win either way!
Please check out the Kickstarter - the ebook version is only $14!