Pharyngula's evolution reading list
Pharyngula's evolution reading list - a professional biologist recommends, original
For the kids:

New! Eyewitness Science: Evolution. Linda Gamlin Published by Dorling Kindersley, well chosen vignettes, excellent illustrations, up-to-date (discusses DNA evidence). Excellent book for adult beginners. (Amazon)

The Evolution Book. Sara Stein. A fine book, but not for the lightweight science kid: this one tries to cover just about everything encyclopedically, so give it to the truly dedicated bookworm. (Amazon)

Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution. Steve Jenkins. Another encyclopedic illustrated summary of evolutionary history for the younger set. (Amazon)

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. David Norman. Not really intended for kids, but packed with full-color illustrations and detailed descriptions of many dinosaur groups. My kids would spend hours leafing through this one; it's the dinosaur book I wish I'd had as a 12 year old. (Amazon)

Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story. Lisa Westburg Peters. Excellent, simple summary of evolutionary history, for the K-3rd grade set. (Amazon)

The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin. Peter Sis. Nice picture book biography of Darwin for the kids. (Amazon)

From the Beginning: The Story of Human Evolution. David Peters. An older book that may be hard to get, but worth it for the wall-to-wall drawings of the organisms scattered along the human lineage, from single-celled prokaryote to modern humans. (Amazon)

For the grown-up layman:

New! Evolution: A Very Short Introduction. Bryan and Deborah Charlesworth. Subject condensed into 130pp. Good survey, but will lack details that many beginners will need. (Amazon)

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom. Sean Carroll. A phenomenal book; if there's one book you should pick up for an introduction to evo-devo, this is the one. (Amazon)

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Matt Ridley. Orac says, "It's a downright poetic look at each of the 23 chromosomes and what sorts of biological and disease processes genes from each of them are involved in, along with a nice dollop of evolution of the genome." (Amazon)

Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution. Kenneth Miller. Danny Boy says, "A Christian debunks creationism and shows how evolution can be compatible with Christianity." (Amazon)

Charles Darwin: Voyaging; Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. Janet Browne. This is the best biography of Darwin out there. (Amazon) (Amazon) (Pfizer prize)

Science As a Way of Knowing: The Foundations of Modern Biology. John A. Moore. This is part history book, part philosophy of science book; if you know someone who doesn't understand the scientific method, this one will straighten him out. (Amazon)

The Darwin Wars. Andrew Brown. Much as we aspire to the pure search for knowledge, scientists can be testy and political and vicious, too—this is a study of the sociology of evolutionary biology. (Amazon)

Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. Carl Zimmer. If you want a general survey of the history and ideas of evolutionary biology that isn't written like a textbook, this is the one you want. (Amazon)

At the Water's Edge: Fish With Fingers, Whales With Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea. Carl Zimmer. The focus in this one is on macroevolution of tetrapods and cetaceans. Excellently written, with a very thorough overview of the evidence. (Amazon)

Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution. Richard Fortey. Everything you need to know about the basics of trilobytes, with a chatty and often amusing introduction to the world of paleontologists. (Amazon)

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. Jonathan Weiner. A Pulitzer-winning account of the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant in documenting the evolutionary changes occurring in Darwin's finches in the Galapagos right now. (Amazon)

What Evolution Is. Ernst Mayr. A survey of the theory by an opinionated master. (Amazon)

Evolutionary Biology. Douglas J. Futuyma. If you don't mind reading a textbook, this is one of the best and most popular texts on the subject. (Amazon)

An Introduction to Biological Evolution. Kenneth Kardong. Another textbook, but less weighty and less expensive then Futuyma's; a book I'd use in a freshman non-majors course. (Amazon)

For the more advanced/specialized reader:

From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books (Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals). Charles Darwin, Edward O. Wilson (Editor). I've read these books, but I don't own this edition…so this is one I'll be hinting to my wife might make a nice present. It collects the four in one volume, with introductions by Wilson, so if every you've wanted these seminal works for your bookshelf, here they are in an inexpensive edition. (Amazon)

On Growth and Form. D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson. I'm afraid no developmental biologist can list important books without mentioning this one. (Amazon)

From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design. Sean B. Carroll, Jennifer K. Grenier, Scott D. Weatherbee. Like it says…molecular genetics, evolution, developmental biology. A good textbook describing the new cutting edge of evolutionary biology. (Amazon)

Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?. David M. Raup. A little statistics, a lot of paleontology, a good introduction to how we try to puzzle out what the world was like from a sparse data set. (Amazon)

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Stephen J. Gould. Massive. Indulgently written. But full of interesting ideas. (Amazon)

Developmental Plasticity and Evolution. Mary Jane West-Eberhard. Also massive. If you're already comfortable with the conventional perspective on evolutionary theory, though, this one twists it around and comes at it from the point of view of a developmental biologist. (Amazon)

Biased Embryos and Evolution. Wallace Arthur. A slim and readable book about evo-devo. (Amazon)

The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment. Richard Lewontin. A slender book that lucidly summarizes the non-reductionist position on modern biology; it's a call for greater breadth in science. (Amazon)

The Shape of Life: Genes, Development, and the Evolution of Animal Form. Rudy Raff. Hardcore evo-devo. A little out of date, but very influential. (Amazon)

For the anti-creationist:

Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. Barbara Carroll Forrest, Paul R. Gross. The best summary of the sneaky political strategy of the creationists of the Discovery Institute. (Amazon)

Unintelligent Design. Mark Perakh. Nice, blunt dissection of the pseudo-science of creationism. (Amazon)

Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism. Matt Young, Taner Edis, eds. A team-takedown of Intelligent Design's bad science. (Amazon)

Republican War on Science. Chris Mooney. Some reviews; all you need to know about the current political attack on science. (Amazon)

The Counter-Creationism Handbook. Mark Isaak. Here's a brief review, but it's enough to say that this is an indispensable tool for dismissing creationist arguments. (Amazon)

The Triumph of Evolution. Niles Eldredge. Chris Clarke says, "useful and inspiring, both as a survey of evolutionary thought and a clarion call against creationism." (Amazon)

Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science. Massimo Pigliucci. Michael Feldgarden says, "It definitely falls into the category of "anti-creationist" and "specialized reader." I don't know if it's a little too complex for the lay reader (I don't think so). It's an excellent and well-written rebuttal of creationism and definition of science and the scientific method as it relates to evolutionary biology." (Amazon)

The Creationists. Ronald Numbers. Sean Foley says, "For an overview of the growth and role of the creationist movement in America." (Amazon)

Defending Evolution : A guide to the creation/evolution controversy. Brian J. Alters, Sandra Alters. An excellent guidebook on how to handle creationism in the classroom, specifically for biology teachers. (Amazon)