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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016 (Best American Science and Nature Writing #2016)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  329 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Best-selling author Amy Stewart edits this year’s volume of the finest science and nature writing.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Mariner Books
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Tonstant Weader
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, nonfiction
In these days of fake news and pseudoscience triumphant, it seems almost quaint to read actual science from real and accountable news sources, but it is still a worthy effort. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016 is a collection of the best articles and essays from American newspapers, magazines and journals.

There is always variety in these anthologies, but I thought the addition of “The Modern Moose” by Amy Leach was particularly brilliant. It’s a humorous piece with an imaginative
Josh Caporale
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up this collection of essays with an interest in exploring current affairs pertaining to the scientific, the natural, the environmental, and so much more that was taking place in our world. After selecting one such essay, The Modern Moose by Amy Leach, to place on our discussion list for the sixth season of Literary Gladiators (which I will share upon its release), I decided to read the entire collection and got a lot out of the topics at hand. Despite the fact that many of them address ...more
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
The usual mixed bag of two dozen science and nature essays.

***** five stars

— Telescope Wars, by Kate Worth, which first published in Scientific American. Three big telescope projects with common goals around the world suffer because they cannot work together as a collective force, which would result in a better piece than any one of them could build alone. The competition began a hundred years ago when bitterness, personality conflicts and competing technologies collided, preventing corrobroati
Wonderfully curated collection of science writing by Amy Stewart, who chose pieces not just for the science but for the narrative as well. Wonderful reporting about ice in Greenland, the dubious evidence or lack thereof for bed-rest in pregnancy, why sports bras don't fit, the health hazards women working as manicurists face in the workplace, the issues surrounding the push to bring electricity to all of India, the disservice done to women and girls with autism by the research/medical community, ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Continuing on my collection of " The Best American " series, this, the Science collection, is a very strong collection. While not every story is a keeper or of particular interest to this reader, there are several standout articles that deliver the gold one hopes for in this type of reading, that is information so interesting that one wants to talk about it with others or even to explore the subject matter first.

The opening story is from Orion Magazine which explains about a Texas project where
Cerisa Reynolds
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many of the articles chosen by the guest editor were incredibly depressing (ivory trade, melting glaciers, toxic waste, oil spills, politicians choosing wealth over our planet, etc.). However, since this selection reflects the reality of our world today, these same articles are essential reading for anyone hoping to be truly informed citizens of planet Earth. Additionally, these truly depressing “our planet is in trouble” articles are mixed in with thought provoking pieces on various topics incl ...more
Stephen Dorneman
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Year after year this Best American series continues to rock whether the essays are about climate change's effect on native Greenlanders, mathematical theorems, or squabbling astronomers. Can't recommend this 2016 edition highly enough.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I get this every year for Christmas from Santa. It's my must-read
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, science
An excellent collection of essays, only one or two that I felt weren't worth including. There is a practical or social justice angle to many of them.
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: popular-science
Great collection, may become a collector of the series.

As a voracious reader of science articles, I was surprised by how many of these articles I had not yet read. Just False Gospel of AA / Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers / Siege of Miami / The Really Big One

Which meant 16 fresh new science articles plus re-reading some great pieces.

My Top 5 Pieces:

The Really Big One
Tracking Ivory
False Gospel of AA
Why Are Sports Bras So Terrible?
The Man Who Tried to Redeem The World With Logic

I also have a new
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction
These annual compilations are always valuable to me, both as a reader and a science writing teacher at Carnegie Mellon. In this year's publication, edited by the nonfiction writer/novelist Amy Stewart, there are several standout articles, but I'll just mention four favorites.

* The Siege of Miami, a New Yorker article by the brilliant Elizabeth Kolbert, gives a close-up view of the way rising sea levels are not only flooding Miami Beach, but are making it harder for rainwater to drain off South F
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best science and nature anthologies ever but it was a difficult read, not for the vocabulary but for the content. Many of the articles tell a story of dire situations, which are eye-opening but also depressing when read one after another.

Gretel Ehrlich's article, Rotten Ice, describes the rapid melting of glaciers in the Greenland with dire consequences for world coastlines. Elizabeth Kolbert's article, The Siege of Miami, illustrates how rising coastlines and climate change
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
For several years I have enjoyed annually picking up a copy of these essays and seeing what people have to say about a variety of topics in the science and nature field. The essays are always short enough to fit into time slots that are not conducive to extended reading. As always, the essays in this edition ranged from being very interesting to those not so much. I most enjoy those that tell me something that I didn't already know about a topic that I know something about or cause me to look at ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-read-2017
I read The Best American Science and Nature Writing every year. Amy Stewart selected an excellent collection of incredibly inspiring and relevant topics in Science. This is no easy feat considering the very dark atmosphere in science lately around politics. I really appreciated the positive and uplifting vibe from this compilation. I enjoyed it so much that I bought a copy for each of my lab members, hoping to share some inspiration.

Some of the works that resinated with me:

Tracking Ivory: Terr
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I always look forward to reading this annual anthology, and the 2016 collection was great as usual.

My anecdote: Our family vacation this year was to Oregon, and I picked up this book in Portland's famous Powell's book store. Leaving Portland, my family headed down to southern Oregon, and then back up the coast. All along the coast, I saw tidal wave zone warnings--they caught my eye but I thought little of them. I loved the trip!

But then, I got home and read his book. Including the article abou
Brian Stuy
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I simply love these anthologies each year of the best science and nature writing from all the best publications. 2016's collection proved to be as interesting as previous years. I was fascinated to read Rose Eveleth's article from "Racked" on "Why Are Sports Bras So Terrible." Gabrielle Glaser's expose on the 12-Step myth of AA in "The False Gospel of Alcoholics Anonymous," from The Atlantic was as fascinating as Kathryn Schulz's article "The Really Big One" was terrifying (from The New Yorker). ...more
Moira Burke
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Great essays, particularly the ones about the microbiome (probiotic wallpaint!), Janet Vaughn's pioneering work preserving donated blood for WWII, women on the autism spectrum, and the hazards of working in nail salons. However, I found the collection a bit of a bait-and-switch. These essays are much more about people, with very little scientific detail in them. I found myself yearning for some hypothesis testing rather than just quirky profiling. Sadly, the most scientific pieces were the most ...more
Peter Aronson
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of interesting articles, but still light on the hard sciences. and a bit light on actual science for that matter (all the articles are written at a pretty general level). This is really "Some Selected American Science and Nature Writing 2016", since there's too much good science published in America in a year for a single moderate length collection to even begin to publish the best, and best according to whom anyway?
Just as I hoped, a very good anthology of 2016's best science and nature writing. What I liked the most about it was the stuff I didn't expect to like. I thought I'd hate the piece on the health risks faced by nail salon employees but much to my surprise I loved it. Same also for the one on the difficulties in diagnosing autistic females.
Plus, there's a short but well-written article by the late Oliver Sacks.
Only article I didn't like was the one on the American moose.
Greg Metcalf
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading each year's release of this for a few years and it's grown into a great reading tradition. My favorite from this year's was "The Lost Girls" by Apoorva Mandavilli, but each piece contained enjoyable writing and was super informative and filled with fun facts. Already anxious for next year's!
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was the background info for a discussion group at my local Oster Lifelong Learning Institute. While many of the articles were well written, I have to question why the editor chose them. Some were sneakily misleading and it's questionable if they and few others deserve to be among The Best.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
As usual with compilations, a mixed bag, but Amy Stewart did a great job editing. My favorite piece was "Rotten Ice" and the most thought-provoking in an uncomfortable way was "The False Gospel of Alcoholics Anonymous." In these days when scientific facts are ignored and nature is considered expendable -- support excellent writing in these areas!
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've read one or two of these before, and so far I'm not disappointed. My favorite articles schooled me on: the illegal ivory trade, the fate of those who burned Ebola victim's bodies in Liberia, the melting of the Greenland ice, what doesn't work about AA, rising sea levels in Miami, Oliver Sach's Periodic Table birthdays, and the gigantic earthquake that will hit the Pacific Northwest.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent offering by this series...all of these are thought provoking and insightful. Some will make you angry. Some will make you sad and some will give you a new perspective on what you thought you knew or believed in. Well worth the read.
Fresno Bob
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I find the series always worth reading, standouts for me were the essays on AA, "The Siege of Miami", Solar in India, nailworkers, and the Cascade Fault
Dave Peticolas
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of science and nature journalism.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Always a good read.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Really Big One" essay still has me researching earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest.
Chunyang Ding
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful.
Phil Lawless
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Another good collection of science and nature essays. The one that stood out was titled "The Really Big One" about an overdue earthquake on the Cascadia fault off the West coast. That is chilling in the possible destruction and death.
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Amy Stewart is the New York Times bestselling author of nine books, including Girl Waits with Gun, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, The Drunken Botanist, and Wicked Plants.

She lives in Portland with her husband Scott Brown, a rare book dealer. They own an independent bookstore called Eureka Books, which is so independent that it lives in California while they live in Oregon.

You can also find her all over
More about Amy Stewart

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