We plan to make the Big Read: Open Access Science a yearly event. In preparation, we are taking suggestions for next year’s book. Here are a few suggestions. Let us know what you think, and please post additional suggestions!

Suggestion 1: Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime, by Ellen Prager

Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime by Ellen Prager, published only a few months ago, explores the fascinating lives of sea creatures and their struggle to survive. Drawing parallels between marine life and human society, it seeks to show that our existences are inextricably linked to the oceans. In the words of ABC News Correspondent Bob Woodruff, this book “brings us the strangely well-endowed conch, slime-touting hagfish, transgender parrotfish, and an abundance of slime and sex within the seas. By combining science with humor, [the author] allows more people to learn about the ocean and understand that the lives of animals are not only crucial for our food and fun, but also for our economy and health. You really should read this book, which not only teaches us about the ocean, but also makes it entertaining and gives us ideas about how to save the sea and the wonderful life in it.”

Suggestion 2: Phantoms in the Brain, by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee

Phantoms in the Brain, by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee, published in the late 1990’s, is the story of a neuroscientist’s investigation of the workings of the human brain through a series of studies of individuals with strange neurological disorders. The Scientific American describes: “Along the way the reader learns of Charles Bonnet syndrome, the vivid visual hallucinations experienced by some blind people (James Thurber probably among them); hemineglect, a condition that often follows a stroke in the right brain and causes the patient to be profoundly indifferent to objects and events on her left side; and pseudocyesis, or false pregnancy. Ramachandran thinks the line of research he describes may reach an epochal goal–the answer to “a question that has been steeped in mysticism and metaphysics for millennia: What is the nature of the self?””


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