Yesterday afternoon/evening I read Knut Schmidt-Nielsen’s How Animals Work all the way through, and it proved to be a very fascinating read. Admittedly, I am not as well-versed in physiology as I should be, but I was able to follow the major points of the book, especially in terms of countercurrent heat exchangers. I’ll definitely go back and read it again when I’m a bit more familiar with physiology, but it was still good to read some explanation as to why certain systems work as they do instead of merely “This is how things are.”
Afterwards I picked up a 1964 edition of Edwin Colbert’s Evolution of the Vertebrates, and it is a much more enjoyable read than The Age of Reptiles. I am already familiar with most of the content in the book (much of it obviously being outdated), but it still serves as a fair review. Like I’ve said before, I’m interested in the history of evolution in scientific thought as much as I’m interested in how it works in nature, and Colbert’s book gives me a decent snapshot of what vertebrate paleontology/evolution was like in the middle of the last century. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it tonight (I’m supposed to see the newest Harry Potter film at 10 PM), but it has made for some good light reading so far.