Biology and Inquisitive Reading

Reading is the very gateway to Learning. Even with the advent of popular, upcoming technologies in ‘assisted learning’, reading is irreplaceable and will remain so until such a time eclipses wherein actual words are replaced (so, a very long time). It can prove to be especially rewarding for biology students after a particularly exhausting day of sketching out the insides of an earthworm or being anchored to the eyepiece of a microscope. In that spirit, we have selected a list of some very engaging books to read for biology students looking for some respite without straying too far from their holy grail.


The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time, by Jonathan Weiner: This story of three scientists, as they study Darwin’s Finches to make astounding revelations is a compelling read, especially if you have a keen interest in Evolutionary Biology.


Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?: Author Frans de Waal muses about the belief that mankind assumes the highest step on the cognitive ladder. This book makes a well researched,comparative study between the many perceptions and manifestations of intelligence. Through his writing, de Waal compels you to think about animal intelligence in a way that will broaden your mind.


The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee: A must-read, even for those who are not ardent lovers of biology. The Emperor of All Maladies maps the progression of cancer-non-medically- through the history of mankind- from its first known advent to the present. Award winning author and celebrated biologist Siddhartha Mukherjee manages to articulate a scientist’s perception with the proficiency and eloquence of a historian.


The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan: This book presents a unique story- that of the symbiotic relations between Plants and People. The author skillfully establishes the anthropomorphism of plants by narrating the story of four familiar plant species. He presents an important question as he does this: if plants have also benefited from humans, have we really been domesticating them?


Essential Cell Biology, by Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson and Julian Lewis: Apart from being a Biology 101 Essential, this book also puts forth an important acknowledgement: Most biological puzzles can be solved if we look into the very fundamentals- the cell.  

Why Evolution is True, by Jerry A. Coyne: In a quest to validate the principles Darwin and his associates put forth, this masterpiece incorporates the modern concepts used in the fields of Genetics, Anatomy and Molecular Biology. Jerry A. Coyne’s work is a fitting ode to Darwin and his legacy.


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