Category Archives: Reading List

The Ancestor’s Tale, A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution

Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale, A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution (New York: Mariner, 2004). A rather long book. It starts with humans and goes back in time to ancestors we shared with other things that are living today. A chapter for each common ancestor as you go back in time to common ancestor of fish, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc. At each chapter he uses it to illustrate some points about evolution.

The Aeneid

Robert Fagles (translator) The Aeneid by Virgil (New York: Penguin, 2006). Classic work,  one of the most famous books ever written. Decided to read it after seeing it mentioned several times in the book by Mary Beard about Rome.

Your Inner Fish

Neil Shubin, Your Inner Fish A Journey into the 3.5-billion-year History of the Human Body (New York: Vintage, 2008). The writer describes his discovery of the fossil record of the missing link between fish and land animals. He also describes the anatomical similarity of fishes and other animals in development of an embryo.

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

Matt Ridley, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature (New York: Harper). The book starts at a genetic level giving theories for the evolution of sex and genetic recombination. Then it looks at sexual activity of animals and how it can be explained by its effect on transmission of genes. Lastly, he develops some theories explaining sexual preferences and habits of humans.

Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World

Amir Alexander, Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World (New York: MacMillan). This book is a history of the use of infinitesimal in math. It starts in Italy with conflict of Galileo and the Jesuit Catholics over the use of infinitesimals in math. The second part of the book covers the same debate in England between Thomas Hobbes and the English promoters of the use of infinitesimals.