As winter sets in and the days get colder and darker, we here at SciFri have been thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to get away? With our next SciFri Book Club pick, we plan to do just that. We'll read a science story that transports us all to an exotic locale, be it the Galápagos Islands, the Rocky Mountains, or the lost city of El Dorado. Our destination is up to you to decide.
Cast your vote for the next SciFri Book Club selection below. The poll closes on December 23rd, and we'll announce the winner after the holidays.
Where should the SciFri Book Club go?
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Option 1: To the Mountains!
By John McPhee
In Rising From the Plains, it’s not just the rocks that are layered. McPhee’s third book on American geology contains many strata: It’s the tale of how the Rockies formed, a portrait of the cowboy-geologist who studies them, and—get ready—the story of that geologist’s mom, a strong-willed pioneer whom McPhee calls “probably the most arresting personality I have encountered in the course of my professional work.” That’s saying something.
Sneak peek: “At the wheel was David Love, of the United States Geological Survey, supervisor of the Survey’s environmental branch in Laramie, and—to an extent unusual at the highest levels of science—an autochthonous geologist. The term refers to rock that has not moved.”
Option 2: To the Jungle!
By David Grann
In 1925, Colonel Percy Fawcett, the last of a generation of great Victorian explorers, ventured into the Amazon. His goal? To re-discover a long-lost, advanced civilization: the “City of Z” (“El Dorado” to the rest of us). He never ventured back out. In The Lost City of Z, journalist David Grann doesn’t just tell Fawcett’s story. By his own account, he catches a bit of the explorer’s crazy, setting off into the jungle himself in search of Z. Will he find it?
Sneak peek: “With Jack and Raleigh at his side, Fawcett shouted to the reporters on the pier, ‘We shall return, and we shall bring back what we seek!’”
Option 3: To a Desert Island!
By Jonathan Weiner
Can we see evolution happening? Darwin didn’t think so. In On the Origin of Species, he writes, “We see nothing of these slow changes in progress, until the hand of time has marked the lapse of ages…” The Beak of the Finch tells the story of two scientists who say different. For 20 years, Peter and Rosemary Grant have camped out on a hot rock in the Galápagos, observing Darwin’s finches evolve in real time. Break out the binoculars and watch with them!
Sneak peek: “After dark, they can sit on thrones made of relics of several shipwrecks apiece and lashed together with bits of string, and read the Origin by candlelight.”