#ReadPOC2021 — February: By a Scientist

So, finding something that interests me for February is going to be a tough one. Scientists that fit the bill are seriously under-represented. Or I am very oblivious, take your pick. I am leaning towards space and the universe at large, natural history, Earth‘s history, the oceans, … I suppose it could be a memoir or biography of a scientist falling under the BIPOC heading.

What is this challenge, you ask? My original post is here. For an explanation and the general rules please go to the actual webpage of the challenge, hosted by Lonely Cryptid Media.

Back to February. I have been meaning to read something by Neil deGrasse Tyson for a while. Or maybe get an audiobook. I would like to listen to him narrating it himself though, which does not give me a lot of options. It would mean reading either Astrophysics for People in a Hurry or Letters from an Astrophysicist. That one sounds like fun. They are both fairly short though.

In my search of other authors I came across this list: Finding My Climate-Conscious Tribe: Black Nature Lovers and Writers. PlanetWalker (2005) by environmentalist John Francis looks interesting. From the book blurb:

“When the struggle to save oil-soaked birds and restore blackened beaches left him feeling frustrated and helpless, John Francis decided to take a more fundamental and personal stand—he stopped using all forms of motorized transportation. Soon after embarking on this quest that would span two decades and two continents, the young man took a vow of silence that endured for 17 years. It began as a silent environmental protest, but as a young African-American man, walking across the country in the early 1970s, his idea of “the environment” expanded beyond concern about pollution and loss of habitat to include how we humans treat each other and how we can better communicate and work together to benefit the earth.“

Another interesting list: Celebrating Black Environmentalists during Black History Month. I ended up browsing cooking books though, which is not really what I was looking for… Still, The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty sounds good. I am really tempted, after browsing through the preview. From the book blurb:

“Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who “owns” it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.“

And several other lists and blog posts lead me to Lauret Savoy and her book Trace. From the book blurb:

“Through personal journeys and historical inquiry, this PEN Literary Award finalist explores how America’s still unfolding history and ideas of “race” have marked its people and the land.“

“A provocative and powerful mosaic that ranges across a continent and across time, from twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds, from “Indian Territory” and the U.S.–Mexico Border to the U.S. capital, Trace grapples with a searing national history to reveal the often unvoiced presence of the past.“

Still, those three books are more memoirs and histories than something I would lump under the heading scientific non-finction. So, I am stumped. I am open to suggestions!


The prompt and page for January is here: Books by Women of Color to Read for #ReadPOC2021.

15 thoughts on “#ReadPOC2021 — February: By a Scientist

  1. This does seem tricky. Is the challenge limited to fiction, or would you open to non-fiction also? You could read (or re-read) Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. And there’s also Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, if you want to sneakily change “by a scientist” to “about a scientist”

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    1. I was planning on non-fiction. I wouldn‘t consider Harari under the BIPOC heading though. He is an Israeli, living and writing and teaching in Israel. How do you define BIPOC?

      I saw the movie Hidden Figures, so I am not particularly keen on reading the book. Knowing what happens takes the fun out of the reading experience for me.

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      1. Hmm, how to define BIPOC is a good complex question. Though, in Harari’s case, I think his parents had Lebanese roots, so definitely saw a few bloggers citing him as BIPOC representative… Confused!

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  2. Sheesh, I just realized I mixed up books. Harari isn’t a scientist (unless you consider “social” scientists?)… Try instead: When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi, who is a neuro-surgeon.

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  3. I was interested in The Cooking Gene, although it’s not that well-written and it is a memoir. He pieces together some foods I remember, though, from recipes that I didn’t know anyone really had recipes for!

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      1. Very cool, thank you for the recommendation! Found it online, on Audible and there is even an app for my Amazon Fire TV. Found two audiobooks by deGrasse Tyson and some other interesting stuff. Still checking…. *happy dance*

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very exciting, I found a black linguistics professor from Columbia University, with a program and an 18 hour Audible on the history of language. That‘s actually something that interests me!

        Liked by 1 person

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