Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 1

The Best Book You Read Last Year

Well, last year was a while ago now, so I had to think long and hard about what I read.  In the end, I settled on The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins.  The book was given to my by my in-laws for my birthday: I gave them a list of books I wanted and they chose this one.

I'm a bit of a fan of Richard Dawkins.  Not a raving fan, but I enjoy his books.  He can come across as aggressive, but I can understand his pain: when you are trying to convince people that they are wrong, no matter how many facts you have people are going to push back.  No one likes to admit they are wrong.  When what is being discussed is something as personal as religion, it can be even more frustrating.

The first book of Dawkins' that I read was The God Delusion.  It really opened my eyes, and hatched me from an agnostic to a full-fledged atheist.  I've read several more of his books since then.  The Greatest Show on Earth was the most recent of his that I've read.

The Greatest Show on Earth discusses why evolution is classed as a "theory", then goes on to describe the evidence for evolution in detail.  The book was released in 2009, 200 years after Charles Darwin was born and 150 years after he published On the Origin of Species.  There was a flurry of evolution-oriented publishing at this time, but it was Dawkins' book that was most interesting to me.  Sometimes Dawkins can be a little obtuse, but he does try to make his books accessible for people with little background in the subject.

While I'm fairly protective of my books, Dawkins is one of the few authors that I happily lend to others, simply because I find his books so influential and I want to share them.  I already have this book lined up to lend to someone soon, but if you ask nicely, I might lend it to you when he is done with it!

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