Packing For ScienceRewired (What Books To Take?) #SRW12

Quick! New Token Skeptic Podcast episode now out! Episode One Hundred And Forty – On Great Skepticism – With Pat Linse And Donald Prothero!

I’ve just discovered a book or two that I left in the suitcase from the time I went to Berlin. So, I decided to round up a few of the other usual suspects that I take with me to conferences or while travelling here and there.

I should point out that no, I don’t have an ebook reader, but I have been really enjoying re-reading Faitheist on my laptop… but I’m not about to take the laptop with me to the bathtub after attending a Café Scientifique on Wednesday night!

Let’s take it from the bottom right and head anti-clockwise.

Firstly, the black-lower-bordered Penguin edition of The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays. Oscar Wilde. THIS was the book I had with me for the first Global Atheist Convention, back in 2010 – because when you’re on a stage for the first time in front of 3000+ people, it helps to have a little sardonic humour for after hours. Plus, it was only $10.

To the right of that? Susan Orlean’s The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup. I’ve mentioned this one before, it’s a bargain-bin find from January that I still enjoy. More of a bus-travel book though.

The three orange-covered Penguins? Mother Tongue by Bryson; The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words by Winchester and Vile Bodies by Waugh. All editions that I’ve picked up at Perth International at some point or another, back when Penguin was selling them at $9.99 a pop.

Little blue book is in fact a book of blogging! GET IT HERE – it’s the Young Australian Skeptics Skeptical Blog Anthology and all proceeds help out their podcast and website. I’m taking a copy with me to the conference, I might gift it to someone…

Black book with the blue butterfly is a very well-travelled book – Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Pessl. This one I’ve taken to pretty much every conference I’ve gone to, simply because it’s a great one for flights and for late nights. I was re-reading this one during the last Global Atheist Convention, for example.

Stasiland: Oh Wasn’t it so Terrible – True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall, by Anna Funder. Yes, I took this one with me to Berlin and it was incredibly surreal to be walking around the Brandenburg Gate after reading about her walking the same streets during her interviews with people from the time of the Cold War and after. Her latest book, All That I Am, was released earlier this year.

Clive James – The Blaze of Obscurity. That’s another one that I picked up in a book bargain-bin, and documents the era that I recall best of his work: when he appeared on ABC TV and did interviews and comedy. This one I took with me to the science communicators conference I went to in Sydney, back in February.

Caitlin Moran’s book, How To Be A Woman, which I picked up during my bus travels to and from work while teaching an intensive Winter course – helped pass the time after splooshing through puddles and having to dry off in the tutors’ area.

The second-hand copy of Carl Sagan’s Contact is really old; it’s from the time I was studying at Monash and I picked it up at a stall that was in the Novotel Centre open area, before getting pancakes and going to the Village Cinemas. Cinema on your doorstep and cheap books to read while eating a cherry pancake? Best. Hotel. Placement. Ever.

Finally? This’ll be the book I’ll have in my hand luggage and it’ll probably leave very little room for anything else because it’s so big: Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie. I’ve only read about a chapter so far, but it’ll keep me happily distracted on the short flight.

Oh, in the middle of the photograph is my camera and a few Placebo Bands that I thought I might take with me to the convention – ask me a good question during my presentation on science podcasting and I’ll give you one of the bands!


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