Thursday, October 24, 2013

Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Science and Technology

After yesterday's World Series break, we're back to our look at the Outstanding Books for the College Bound list. It only comes out every five years and the new edition comes out in January and the committee (which includes me) is seeking nominations of new books to put on the list!

Tuesday we looked at Literature and Languages, Monday we looked at History and Cultures, and Sunday we looked at Arts and Humanities.

Today we're looking at Science and Technology.


Feed by M. T. Anderson. This book has one of the best first lines in fiction--"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." In this future world, everyone has a brain chip that allows you to surf the web and message your friends. Banner ads tell you what to think, do, but most importantly, buy. But when someone hacks into the Feed and turns it off, a population that's never thought for itself has no idea what to do.

The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks by Susan Casey. Just west of San Francisco, there are an outcropping of islands where human settlements fail and where Great White sharks thrive. There are a few scientists there, studying the sharks. For all their role in pop culture, we know very little about them. Sadly, her obsession with the islands, the scientists, and the sharks, leads to disaster.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. When hacker Marcus is caught near the site of a terrorist attack, he and his friends are swept into the shady world of DHS interrogations. When they're finally released, San Francisco is a police state, so Marcus and his friends are going to take DHS down.


The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George. We joke about it, hide it, and flush it away, but human waste is a huge issue. It spread disease and filth around the world, even today.

The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Philip Hoose. The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker's disappearance is the also the story of America's growth as a country. What's better, is after this critically acclaimed book came out, the bird was spotted again.

Out of Orbit: The Incredible True Story of Three Astronauts Who Were Hundreds of Miles Above Earth When They Lost Their Ride Home by Chris Jones. When the Columbia exploded, NASA suspended the shuttle program. Doing so stranded 2 astronauts and a cosmonaut at the International Space Station, where were due to come home after 14 weeks in space.


The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. Looking at apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes, Pollan looks at how humans use them to fulfill our basic desires of food, beauty, intoxication, and control.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. We often think that when we die, we are buried, and that's where our bodies go. Even if we think of donating to science, we picture med students learning anatomy-- not the TSA figuring out the mysteries of how TWA Flight 800 crashed or scientists figuring out if the Shroud of Turin is legit. But these, and more, are the ways that cadavers are used.

The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor by Ken Silverstein. While working on a boy scout badge, David goes a bit obsessive and ends up building an entire mini-nuclear reactor in his backyard, which puts then entire neighborhood at risk due to the high radiation levels.

This is an area where A LOT changes in 5 years, so we definitely need your nominations! Suggest titles to add to the list by filling out this form.

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