This year, the world celebrates two major anniversaries:
The 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Robert Darwin (12 Feb 1809 – 19 April 1882).
The 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (24 Nov 1859).
Darwin’s work, along with those of many others both before and after him, laid the foundation for our increasingly detailed understanding of the history and diversity of life. Although much has changed in evolutionary biology over the past 150 years, Darwin’s insights continue to play an important role.
You could start by reading The Origin of Species, but if you want to read something more adapted to our times, then you should read any of the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' books. He is well-known as a presenter of the case for rationalism and scientific thinking as well as a prominent critic of religion, creationism and a wide variety of pseudoscience.
Since the publication of The Selfish Gene (Oxford University Press. 1976), Richard Dawkins has published many books and has become one of Britain's best-known academics.
If you are one of those who like watching films instead of reading, then you can follow his three-part television documentary The Genius of Charles Darwin. 2008. The series mixes segments on the life and discoveries of Charles Darwin, the theory of natural selection and evolution, and Dawkins' attempts at convincing a group of school children that evolution explains the world around us better than any religion.
But for those who like reading, you shouldn't miss Dawkins' last book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (Free Press (United States), Transworld (United Kingdom and Commonwealth). 2009)
Still haven't read anything about Darwin? You better hurry!