On December 15, 2013, I added Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species to my “Currently Reading” list on goodreads.
It’s still on there.
I assure you, this is not an oversight, and it’s not for lack of interest or because I can’t admit defeat. I’m completely down with Did Not Finish when it comes to any book that annoys me (The Goldfinch…I’m lookin’ at you). Darwin decidedly does not annoy me.
In the past two years, I’ve read countless articles, scientific papers, blog posts, and Wikipedia entries about evolution. I’ve watched six Yale Lecture Series videos on Evolution (trust me, six is a LOTTA Yale to digest when you only have an English degree), and scoured the entire University of Berkeley evolution website. I read Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins, and well…you get the point. I don’t have that much Darwin street cred but I do have a wee bit. It’s just not…Darwin himself.
I want to read Darwin’s seminal book – and I have, in fact, read the first three chapters. Why am I doing this? Because I once proclaimed to a circle of friends, rather obnoxiously and almost tearfully, that I am a Darwinist. At the time, I had no idea what the hell that meant. But I…thought I….meant it. Even though I’d not read a word of Darwin and I had no solid understanding of evolution at all. I still seem to be skimming the surface of evolutionary literature without really deepening my understanding. Which ain’t right.
Well, now I officially start My Darwin Project. Because those first 3 chapters of The Origin of Species are incredible. They, and the subsequent twelve chapters, deserve more from me than a cursory reading and a move to my “Read” list on goodreads. Darwin is the hub of this wheel for me; the driving force; my evo-co-pilot. But I’m ready to dig in to Darwin’s predecessors as well as contemporary science writers, too.
Because hey, why do Darwin straight up, no chaser? The Origin of Species is over 150 years old! I need reading guides, supplementary literature, videos, poems, podcasts, Pinterest boards, a genetics primer, blogs, art, popcorn (best with olive oil, salt and nutritional yeast), photographs and diagrams, the Crosby Stills Nash & Young box set, long walks, and possibly reading glasses before this is over. And I plan to share all of this with you (Except the popcorn. Go pop your own.) I may even tweet about this spectacle. I’m not saying I will ever know what I’m talking about, but I will surely give this a go.
You can find a partial Bibliography of Evolutionary Awesome on my goodreads profile (along with my horror, pirates, and magicahhh book lists – wait come back here, don’t get distracted!) AND also check out Darwin’s Entangled Bibliography, my supplementary resource list, or as I like to call it, Somebody Tell Me What Darwin Just Said. To be updated regularly, and to include a bunch of other Darwinian and evolutionary treats.