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The Best American Science & Nature Writing 2000

If you regularly read magazines like Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Outside magazine, a lot of these “best of” compilations will likely contain material you have read before. This book in particular contained three essays that I had read, two of which I had read once they became parts of longer books. This of course begs the question as to whether a small group of publications really always publishes the best writing, or whether these publications are assumed to have the best writing, and so are always tapped to be in these sorts of collections.

In any case, these articles run the gamut from small reflections on natural events, to the nuances of camel insemination, to conspiracy theories about the AIDS virus to the social evolutionary role of sexual activity in humans. My favorite article of the bunch was a really fascinating article on smallpox, closely followed by a thoughtful and philosophical Wendell Berry essay. Very readable, very interesting, a bit on the predictable side, as many of these collections tend to be.