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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