Daniel James Sharp in Areo:
In his previous essay collection, Science in the Soul, Richard Dawkins ponders why a scientist has never received the Nobel Prize in Literature—the only possible exception, Henri Bergson, was “more of a mystic than a true scientist”—since science, he argues, is a subject more than capable of sparking the imagination and inspiring talented penmanship: “who would deny that Carl Sagan’s writing is of Nobel literary quality, up there with the great novelists, historians, and poets? How about Loren Eiseley? Lewis Thomas? Peter Medawar? Stephen Jay Gould? Jacob Bronowski? D’Arcy Thompson?” Note Dawkins’s generosity in placing his old enemy Stephen Jay Gould on this list—and also, an understandable but glaring omission—Dawkins himself, who, in my opinion, should be at the very top.
The literary science theme is continued in his new collection, Books Do Furnish a Life, which is a sort of companion volume to Science in the Soul (both edited by Gillian Somerscales). The collection—evincing once more the author’s generosity of spirit—is mostly devoted to other peoples’ books, from scientific works to atheist memoirs, to which Dawkins has provided forewords, afterwords and other material. Also included are book reviews and transcripts of conversations with eminent writers and thinkers.