Best Books for Biology Majors

The interesting subject of biology and all of its many subtopics is rich with information that many books have been written and more than just the classroom textbook.  From studying the smallest microscopic organism to the mating habits of whale in marine biology, the topics are as diverse as they are readily available for any biology major who is looking for some recreational reading.

On Becoming a Biologist by John Janovy

Janovy’s book is a prime example of a book a biology major should be reading.  Janovy gears the book toward biology majors and the career and professional opportunities that lie ahead of anyone majoring in this area of science.  Sharing his own knowledge and experience Janovy gives the student reader expert insight into the career of becoming a biologist.

Time, Love, Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior by Jonathan Weiner

This book is part biological detective story and part biography while offering a history of the development of biological science and the people that have influenced this study. 

Biologists and the Promise of American Life: From Meriwether Lewis to Alfred Kinsey

Philip Pauly gives a high quality chronology of the history of biology in America. Beginning in 1806 with Lewis and Clark and ending the 20th century, the book allows the reader to witness the important influence American scientists, explorers, and teachers have had on the subject of biology

Sensuous Seas: Tales of a Marine Biologist by Eugene Kaplan

Published in 2006, this is a fascinating look at some of the strangest creatures in the ocean.  Kaplan focuses on the mating and feeding habits of these animals as well as including 150 line drawings.

Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect by Marc Beckoff and Jane Goodall

This is a must read for scientists and addresses many of this issues of animal experimentation from vivisection to medical experimentation.  It is a fair minded look at the animal rights issue that encourages thought on the subject of how animals should be treated.

A to Z of Biologists by Lisa Yount

While it may be a little basic for a college major, it does give solid introductions to 180 scientists from 500 BC to the present.  It even includes non-biologists who have also made an impact. So this is a good reference book about scientists as well as being a fun read.

Race to the Sea: The Autobiography of a Marine Biologist by Dr. Dayton L. Alverson

For a book that encompasses personal experience from before World War II to the present, this book does not disappoint.  It shows the evolution of a biologist, his education, career and the changes in his philosophies.

In the Company of Mushrooms: A Biologists Tales by Elio Schaechter

While the book does center more about mushrooms than simple biology, it is a book that shows the dedication of a scientist to his work and his subject matter. The simple mushroom is so important to the Earth and this is the story of one microbiologist’s intense study of these small fungi.

Why Fish Fart and Other Useless (Or Gross) Information About the World

Biologists need a little humor too and this is just a fun book about biological and natural trivia for some lighthearted entertainment value to break up those intense study sessions

Whether it is the study of famous scientists, the study of simple fungi or the mating practices of marine animals, so much of the biological world makes for great reading.  Choose one of these books to learn more about the science that is part of all of our lives.