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LA Times Book Prize Nominees: How We Think, How We Speak & How We Know What We Know
LA Times Book Prize Science & Technology Nominees
As the LA Times Book Prize award ceremony looms ever-closer, we're taking a look at the books nominated in each category. As we mentioned last week, unlike other big literary awards, the LA Times Book Prize winners are never a sure thing, which is what makes following them all the more fun.
The nominees in the Science & Technology category this year are:
- Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence by James L. and Carol Grant Gould
- I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter
- The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally
- On Deep History and the Brain by Daniel Lord Smail
- Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics by Gino Segrè
Here's the thing: we're so annoyed that The Canon: A Whirlgig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier didn't get nominated that we aren't invested in the actual nominees for this category.
If we had to narrow it down, we'd say that while Animal Architects offers an interesting look at how animals know how to build their homes - how spiders spin webs and beavers build dams - it isn't our first pick. We'll admit that the title of I Am a Strange Loop got us excited, but we didn't wholly buy into the notion that the soul can arise out of...well...nothing. Smail's On Deep History and the Brain explores both how "I" came to be and how history came to be, wrapping it up in the neat little package of neuroscience. For brainy history buffs, this may be a favorite, but it isn't ours.
Since we're uber-nerdy when it comes to words and how they evolved and what that means about how we talk now, we'd love to see The First Word win. Yet, Segrè's book about the drama of 1932 and the incredible advances in physics as played out during the convention in Copenhagen where phycisists applied their findings to the possiblities of war (which is actually a good read, despite the fact that it is about physics) is our bet to win it.
Who will win the category? We'll find out on Friday as the LA Times Book Prizes will be awarded on April 25th.