The Guardian has come out with a list of its 100 greatest non-fiction books. I’m a fan of the science section:
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)
Darwin’s account of the evolution of species by natural selection transformed biology and our place in the universe
The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynmann (1965)
An elegant exploration of physical theories from one of the 20th century’s greatest theoreticians
The Double Helix by James Watson (1968)
James Watson’s personal account of how he and Francis Crick cracked the structure of DNA
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (1976)
Dawkins launches a revolution in biology with the suggestion that evolution is best seen from the perspective of the gene, rather than the organism
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988)
A book owned by 10 million people, if understood by fewer, Hawking’s account of the origins of the universe became a publishing sensation
I’m especially interested in reading Watson’s book. The story behind science is often nearly as interesting as the science itself. It should be a good read.
But these few books aren’t why I’m posting this. It’s the reason the Guardian gave for not including religious texts:
Primo Levi’s Periodic Table makes it on the list despite its fantastical elements, but after some debate we decided that religious texts were a little too, well, fictional.