athene (deinonychus_1) wrote,

book bingo review - book 1

I've finished my first book of 2019, so here's the first book review of the year.

The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, by Alice Roberts. Fills the 'female author' square.

One my last books of 2018 was Tamed by Alice Roberts, and my first of 2019 was another book by Roberts (largely because I borrowed them both from the friend and wanted to read them so I could give them back). This one is a popular science book that looks at evolution from the starting point of a human embryo.

Roberts takes the reader through the development of an embryo from conception to birth, and uses it as a jumping off point to explore evolution. For instance, early chapters look at DNA, the first vertebrates, and how very early stage embryos look broadly similar across several different species. Later chapters link us to our fishy ancestors at the stage where an embryo has primitive gill slits (which eventually become jaws and ears in humans and other non-fish species), and there is a great deal of discussion of primates and early hominins, as this is one of Roberts' primary areas of research.

It's an interesting book, and I mostly enjoyed it. It is a little heavy going in some places, but is mostly a fairly straightforward read (if you get on fine with New Scientist magazine and have a vague interest in the subject matter to start with you'll probably be fine with it). I have to admit there were a few places where I got a little bit lost - I think she has a tendency to get so far through describing something, and then suddenly jumps ahead, or assumes knowledge that isn't necessarily obvious. I occasionally found myself flicking back to see if I'd missed something, which was a little annoying. Other than that, though, I'd definitely recommend it if you're at all interested in evolution, particularly human evolution.

I've already started books 2 and 3 - I'm dipping in and out of the new Joe Wicks Veggie Lean in 15 for the cookbook, and I'm over halfway through Black Dog by Stephen Booth, which is either going to be the 'local author', or the 'colour in the title', I haven't decided yet.

lj book bingo card 2019
2019 reading list 1 book read in 2019

Tags: book bingo
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