Science Is Not Notable

Scott Eric Kaufman draws my attention to the fact that the New York Times has posted its Notable Books for 2007 list. The list is divided into “Fiction & Poetry” and “Non-Fiction,” and Scott correctly notes that the “Fiction & Poetry” books all have terrible blurbs, but I’d like to point out a much larger problem with the list, relating to the “Non-Fiction” category:

There is not a single science book on the list of “Notable Books” for the year.

There are books on history, books on politics, personal memoirs, collections of critical essays, but nothing about science. There are biographies galore, but no biographies of scientists.

If nothing else, I wouldn’ve thought Natalie Angier’s The Canon would’ve made the list– it got mixed reviews hereabouts, but she works for the Times. But, no. They don’t even list Walter Isaacson’s biography of Einstein, which has drawn raves.

So, what the hell? Is this some draft version of the list, including everything but science books, or would the Times have us believe that there were no “notable” science books written in the past year? I find that a little hard to believe, given that Amazon managed to find a few, and the Times has reviewed a fair number of them.

If you read any notable science books this year, leave the titles in the comments, so if the Times manages to stumble across this, they can see what they’re missing.

To paraphrase Brad DeLong, why, oh why can’t we have a better Paper of Record?