Via Cosmic Variance I see that it's blogger book-list time again. Cocktail Party Physics gets us started with a list of the best popular science books. Great science books are always neglected in lists of the world's best books, so browse these lists for a smorgasborg of the best science writing out there. Here's my contribution, which is based on two main criteria - the quality of the prose, and the substance of the science. A good science book should effectively convey the ideas involved in the story, or something about how science itself works as seen through the life of a successful scientist. The list does not include many old books - for some reason, popular science books can quickly seem very dated. Feel free to add your own contributions in the comments. These lists are always better if you're selective - I want to hear about the best books you've read, not all the books you've read. 1. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes 2. The Eighth Day of Creation, Horace Freeland Judson 3. Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, James Gleick 4. Chaos, James Gleick 5. The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins 6. Gödel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter 7. The Character of Physical Law, Richard Feynman 8. Six Easy Pieces, Richard Feynman (or all of the Lectures on Physics) 9. American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin 10. Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel Dennett 11. On The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin 12. One Long Argument, Ernst Mayr 13. Boltzman's Atom, David Lindley 14. Abusing Science, Philip Kitcher 15. The Fabric of the Heavens, Stephen Toulmin and June Goodfield 16. The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins 17. The Double Helix, James Watson 18. The Discoverers, Daniel Boorstin 19. The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan 20. The Creationists, Ronald Numbers 21. Visions of Technology, Richard Rhodes 22. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking 23. Krakatoa, Simon Winchester 24. Einstein's Clocks and Poincaré's Maps, Peter Galison 25. The Origins of Order, Stuart Kauffman