Everyone of a certain pretension likes to think they have a book inside them. I know I do.

But I’ve looked and I can’t find it. Maybe it’s in there somewhere but at too early a stage of germination to be visible. All I know is that I have searched and come up wanting.

The situation is made all the more galling by the fact that everyone I meet these days seems either to have written a book or to be in the midst of producing one. Or if not, they’re working on a bloody book proposal. It’s starting to get on my nerves.

Even several of my co-bloggers here at Occam’s Typewriter are authors of books. You’d think they’d be a bit more sensitive but the talent and productivity of Jennifer Rohn, Steve Caplan and Henry Gee sicken me. Gee I find particularly nauseating: he writes fiction and non-fiction. God Almighty.

That reminds me: Alom Shaha is another of those annoyingly gifted people who has produced a tome.

But today I can cover my inadequacy with a tiny laurel: a book is being published that has my name on the cover. That there are fifty-two other names on the cover is completely irrelevant. Well, almost.

Cover: The Best Science Writing Online 2012

The name of the book is ‘The best science writing online 2012’ and includes 51 of the best science blog posts of last year, selected by a team shepherded by Jennifer Ouellette, the whole process being overseen as ever by Bora Zivkovic. My contribution, ‘Joule’s Jewel‘, is on a paper by the 19th Century physicist recounting his careful measurements to demonstrate the equivalence of work and heat, but you will find plenty of other gems in there too, not the least of which is Richard Wintle’s two-part Shakespearean take on genome sequencing.

Please have a look. Buy a copy for your loved one. It only costs pennies β€” six hundred and seventy-one of them β€” and will give you a glimpse of some of the sweetest writing on science that has been scooped from the internet.

The book is available from today at Amazon in the US. Alas, on this side of the pond, you will have to wait until Oct 13.


P.S. Thanks to Bora for providing the image of the cover (Courtesy of Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux; design by Jason Heuer).


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19 Responses to Booked

  1. Eva says:

    Did you get your copy already or did you just use an image from the internet? MY name is the FIRST one on the cover, because I’m clearly the most important!

  2. Yay for books. Especially this one.

    I haven’t received mine yet… I’m actually wondering if the copies I pre-ordered (and paid for!) will arrive first.

    • Eva says:

      The UK pre-orders don’t come until OCTOBER says Amazon. I’m not actually going to be home much between now and then anyway, but it’s the principle of the matter. I want it to arrive right after I leave on my trips and not right before I come back!

  3. Stephen says:

    I’ve not received my complementary copy yet either β€”Β I have Bora to thank for the image of the cover. Which reminds me that I should credit him somewhere!

    Obviously you are the most important contributor. Eva. Goes without saying.

    • The good folks at FSG asked for me to credit “Courtesy Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux” for the post that you haven’t seen yet at Occam’s Corner. Bora also suggested “Design by Jason Heuer” as a courtesy.

      P.S. thanks for the Monday afternoon laugh. πŸ™‚

  4. Stephen Moss says:

    Stephen, I too struggle with expelling my inner book. However, I can turn my hand to limericks, assorted doggerel and my favourite, the clerihew. Here’s a quick one just for you:

    Stephen Curry
    An author would be
    But if he never succeeds
    His blogs make good reads

  5. cromercrox says:

    I know of a literary agent (not mine) whose favourite line is that if it is true that every person has at least one book inside them, it should probably stay there. Which strikes me as a somewhat jaded, if not curmudgeonly attitude.

  6. Steve Caplan says:

    ANYONE can write a book; the problem is whether one can sell it, or whether its fate is to flicker gently and fade from the cyber-archives…

    • Eva says:

      Depends. For the book that’s inside of *me*, I need to talk to people, and some people won’t talk (or I don’t want to ask) unless I have a book deal, which I won’t have without an agent, which I won’t have without a clear outline/proposal, which I find hard to do without talking to people. Vicious cycle. Will figure it out some day.

  7. Frank says:

    Congratulations. Bearing in mind all the material that is out there, inclusion in this “best of” selection is quite an honour.

    Anyway, books are yesterday’s story… (discuss).

  8. P.S. I wonder if a “published in…” bragging image will appear? It would make a nice addition to your three OpenLab ones (and would look nice on certain other people’s blogs as well *coughsplutter*).

  9. Most books are too long and full of nonsense. They are over-rated. (I had to write ten of them to reach that conclusion, however πŸ™‚

  10. Xtofersdad says:

    Thank you for recommending this book; just got mine today via Amazon and have already read through most of it, starting with your Joule’s Jewel and passing through Mpemba’s science and onto several other well written stories.

    Once I’ve read this I’ll try and get my hands on the earlier years and then await with fascination the compilation for next year; I hope you have something as entertaining to submit; what about a story of open access?

    • Stephen says:

      Thanks for that – hope you enjoy the whole book. There’s lots of good stuff in there.

      As for what next year’s copy will contain, it’s too early to tell…

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