The first is A continent on the move: New Zealand geoscience into the 21st century. This is an encylopaedic book about New Zealand geomorphology and the work of New Zealand geologists, covering all sorts of topics from forensic geology to plate tectonics. A thinking person’s coffee-table book.
The second book is The mountains of Saint Francis : discovering the geologic events that shaped our earth
by Walter Alvarez, about Italian geology. Alvarez is a great writer, managing to cover several subjects almost simultaneously. Geologic time scales, the history of geological inquiry in Italy, explanations of terms such as ignimbrite, and what he ate in the restaurant in Gubbio. This is Alvarez’ second book, his first the wonderfully-titled T-rex and the crater of doom about the discovery of a giant impact crater buried deep inside Mexico, the impact of which probably killed the dinosaurs. I haven’t read this yet, but have ordered it.
If all scientists wrote as well as these guys, the world would be all the better for it. Passion, knowledge and clarity, who could ask for more?