Currently reading

Paul Hanley
A Month in the Country
Michael Holroyd, J.L. Carr
A Tale of the Dispossessed: A Novel
Laura Restrepo, Dolores M. Koch
Mesabi Pioneers
Jeffrey Smith, Russell Hill
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
Jon Rothschild, Amin Maalouf
Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Nayomi Munaweera

The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters

The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters - Sean B. Carroll Sean Carroll is a fantastic decoder of the natural world. This book enumerates the different control mechanisms in nature, working more or less similarly on the molecular scale as on the ecological scale. The science of the interactions are very different, but the logic is the same -- double negative controls, for instance, in which an enabler really is just an inhibitor of an inhibitor, exist on both scales. Both the minute and the mega scales are complicated systems that are hard to manipulate if you have the tunnel vision of one variable at a time, as most research necessarily has (grants are easier to get if the problems are well-defined, even if the system isn't). He has some great stories, some of which I hadn't heard before at all. I could argue that a few of them are over-simplified, but Carroll is honest with his readers about when he does that and why. And he has his own story of visiting the Serengeti for the first time, which is lovely. He saves the best for last, so if you get bored with one particular story, skip ahead, don't put it down. The last story is about Gorongoza National Park in Mozambique -- that's worth sticking around for.

I got a free copy of this from Net Galley.