Desert Island Books: Elspeth’s turn

It’s my turn to be stranded on a Desert Island where all my worldly possessions have sunk into the deep sea amid a large storm. I can choose just one book, geology themed of course, to take on the rescue boat. Which one should I choose?

A Short History Of Nearly Everything, Bill BrysonA short history of nearly everything Bill Bryson

This book needs no introduction. Hilarious and fascinating.  If you haven’t read it then buy it now! Some may say this is not technically a geological book, but Bill Bryson does pack in a heck of a lot of geology for the curious travel writer. I remember reading this book before I knew a geology degree even existed and reading the volcanoes chapter over and over again. Back then, I thought Yellowstone was the coolest thing since sliced bread. No surprise I’m a volcanologist now!


The Earth: An Intimate History, Richard Fortey

The Earth Richard Fortey

Scintillating and luxurious science writing at its best. Richard Fortey makes both mine and Charly’s short list; every page in this beast of a book is gold.

Fortey presents a rich account of the Earth’s 4.5 billion year history. Full of personal anecdotes and unobtrusive facts, he makes an ambitious topic awe-inspiring.


Snowball Earth, Gabrielle Walker

Snowball Earth Gabriella Walker

An engaging tale of the not-so personable scientist Paul Hoffman as he battles to push his Snowball Earth hypothesis to the world. Crisp, easy writing with no prior geological knowledge required. This book is a cracking read for anyone who wants a journey to remote corners of the Earth and has an interest in the origin of life. Gabriella Walker expertly brings out the human and scientific side of the story, proving that scientists are real people too.


Earthsong, Bernhard Edmaier  Earthsong Bernhard Edmaier

When stuck on my Desert Island I’d like to remember what the rest of the Earth looks like. This coffee-table book is an extravaganza of beautiful images of the Earth’s surface taken from above. Not a hint of a building or person. The sheer size of this tome means that I usually pour over the images sitting on the floor! This book reminds me of what a beautiful planet we live on.


The geological field guide series

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I ought to have at least one textbook in the mix and I’m cheating a bit here by choosing a series. The Mapping of Geological Structures and Sedimentary Rocks in the Field were both indispensable during my a 2nd year undergraduate mapping project. The geophysical cape is an elusive but vital piece of any field campaign. What exactly is it, you may ponder. I wondered the same thing, so grab it from the library and find out for yourself!


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