What are the best new astronomy books?  I just got asked this question, and thought I'd hit up all you Bloggies for your opinions.  I'll also make sure to check with publishers at the ongoing 215th AAS Meeting to get their recommendations, and post updates as they arrive.

My recommendations so far would be:

1) Laika, by Nick Abadzis (2007)

This is a graphic novel semi-fictionalization about the Russian space program, the tension of the space race, and the ethics behind launching the first living being-- the dog Laika-- into space.

2) Longitude, by Dava Sobel (2007)

"The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time", this has adventure, science, money, betrayal, unsolvable problems, mad engineers-- it's epic stuff, and it's all true!  Okay, it first came out in 1998, but it's been reissued as a paperback so I'll pretend it's 'recent'.

3) For honorable mention, A Tale of Two Sciences: Memoirs of a Dissident Scientist, by Peter Sturrock (2009), just released this past November.

I am curious about-- but haven't read-- this one.   It just came out in November 2009, so let me wait until my library gets a copy and I can comment further.  From his personal site, exoscience.org, he writes what could be the Science2.0 mantra: I have spent most of my life as a conventional scientist. However, I
have in addition spent almost half my life studying topics that are
decidedly unconventional.[...] By working in both conventional and unconventional
areas, I have–I believe–developed a deeper appreciation of the
strengths and weaknesses of both kinds of science.

4) And while it's not out until September, I'm very interested in Mike Brown's "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming".  He's the guy who led the team that discovered exoplanet Eris and ignited the whole Pluto/Planet controversy.  I'm assuming it's based on his engaging lecture of the same title, available as an online video.

What about you-- what good astronomy books, that are currently in print, would you recommend?

Alex, the Daytime Astronomer

Tues and Fri here, via RSS feed, and twitter @skyday
Read about my own private space venture in The Satellite Diaries

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