Subject: Engineering

Ancient Inventions by Petr James and Nick Thorpe
The technological and scientific achievements of humankind prior to the late 15th century.  Such as: odometer from China about 300 A.D., snorkel gear as described by Aristotle and a steam engine invented by Heron of Alexandria in the 1st Century A.D.

The Axe Maker’s Gift A Double Edged History of Human Culture by James Burke & Robert Ornstein

Egyptians: Creators of The Majestic Pyramids by James C. Hockley

Egyptian Pyramids by Better World Books
Ancient History for Children.

The Mind of a Bee by Lara Chittka
Our reader hadn’t finished this yet but found out a lot of information he hadn’t known before.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Why did we give up NASA when we did?  Now it is catchup?

The Story of Big Creek by David H. Redinger
Mr. Redinger graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in civil engineering in 1911. In 1912 he accepted a job in California for a hydroelectric project in the High Sierra’s. He remained on that job for the rest of his life. Much of the book is photographs showing the scope and difficulties of the project. Our reader spent years visiting the area and hiking many places shown in the book.This personal connection made this book alive to them.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
This is a book about genetic engineering narrated by “Snowman” who was called Jimmie as a child. His parents worked for OrganInc Farms. His father was the head of the Pigoon Project (pigs) and his mother was a microbiologist. They grew customized organs, kidneys etc. to be transplanted if someone’s organs were defective. Everyone lived in a compound, under high security, so no secrets could escape. They also hybridized animals to improve them, like the rakunk, which was racoon and skunk, with no odoriferous qualities. Jimmie had one as a pet. One day his mother disappeared, leaving Jimmie a note and taking his rakunk to be set free. This devastated Jimmie. The book follows Jimmie to adulthood and his friendship with Crake, who is brilliant.  Oryx is a female sold at 5-years-old, the story tells how they meet and interact. At the end of the book is a statement: What if we continue down the road we are already on?  How slippery is the slope? What are our saving graces? Who’s got the will to stop us?

—Fran Strauser