When it comes to nonfiction science books, I definitely have a "type." (I blame Mary Roach for this.) And when I heard that I Contain Multitudes could teach me something about the world around me with engaging clarity and humor, I needed to read it.
Do not believe the title of this book. Jahren has a dog, but he isn’t a Labrador. (Coco is actually a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.) But read it anyway! You’ll learn so much.
There’s the harsh reality of how scientists procure funding, which Jahren explains eloquently. You’ll learn what a scientist does in the field, and how, with a dash of why. And how red tape can render that work all for naught. You’ll learn what true friendship looks like, and you might understand mental illness a little bit better.
In The Curious Nature Guide, author Clare Walker Leslie uses beautiful photographs and exquisite illustrations to entice us to rediscover the wonders that surround us in the natural world. Filled with easy-to-follow prompts and exercises, Walker inspires readers to reduce stress by spending time in nature. Her book includes simple suggestions for reconnecting with the outside world.
The Martian follows an American Mars astronaut who is mistakenly left for dead on the red planet after an abnormally bad sandstorm causes NASA to scrub a month long mission after six days. The extremely long flight, preparation time and resources required by NASA for such a voyage means this astronaut’s life depends on some creative means of seriously extending his supplies until the next mission is sent—and that means lots of math!
Ben Goldacre is a British doctor who has a major bone to pick with science done badly, and with the media that often misuses, misunderstands, or distorts scientific concepts (intentionally or not). His catchphrase is the pithy, "I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that." In his book Bad Science, he takes on multiple cases of ideas and practices that have, he argues, been propped up either by bad science or bad communication about science, such as homeopathy and the anti-vaccine movement.
This was one of the shortest and most fun books I’ve read in a long while. The pictures of the frogs and toads are gorgeous. The pictures are why I picked up the book in the first place.
Teeth, claws, horns. These are animal defenses we’re familiar with. What about slime? Toxic explosions? Blood shooting from an eye? Learn about these and other totally cool and utterly gross ways that animals protect themselves in Rebecca Johnson’s When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses.
This is a short, intriguing book for older children and anyone interested in fun (and rather disgusting) facts about animals.
What would happen if you had a mole of moles? Or if everybody on planet Earth decided to jump up and down at the same time? How high up would you have to drop a steak for it to be cooked by the time it hit the ground? Former NASA scientist Randall Munroe has been amusing the internet with his stick figure drawings since 2005, mostly on the popular website xkcd.com, but the popular comics website is also home to a column where he answers hypothetical (and very often insane) questions about physics, space, chemistry and just about everything else.
If you’re not a fan of what happens to your food from one end of your body to the other, stop reading this review right now! For those that are curious, Mary Roach’s Gulp is the book for you. Roach humorously covers both silly and taboo topics: pet food taste-testers, internal deodorizers that keep bathroom odors away, resourceful prisoners who know just where to hide unbelievable amounts of contraband, and, yes, even the constipation that may have killed Elvis. For me, the chapter describing an American surgeon in 1825 that used a wounded trapper as his own lab rat stuck with m
Based in Roman Egypt, Agora is about a female professor and philosopher, Hypatia, who teaches young men about science. Encouraged by her father, she surrounds herself with information in the great library of Alexandria and is constantly testing new scientific theories.