Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca GiggsWhat it's about: whales and their watery world, both of which humans are destroying.
Is it for you? Although filled with evocative facts about cetaceans (their milk is pink, their demise is called "whalefall"), Rebecca Giggs' lyrical yet sobering narrative is book-ended by heartbreaking accounts of beached whales.
Further reading: Nick Pyenson's Spying on Whales, Philip Hoare's The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea, or Micheline Jenner's The Secret Life of Whales.
The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers by Emily LevesqueWhat it's about: an astronomer recounts her career in science while contemplating the past, present, and future of her field.
Don't miss: visits to Hawaii's Mauna Kea Observatories, Chile's Paranal Observatory, and the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
Did you know? Professional astronomers spend relatively little time looking through giant telescopes (and a lot of time on laptops).
Horse Crazy : The Story of a Woman and a World in Love With an Animal
by Sarah Maslin Nir
Horse Crazy is a fascinating, funny, and moving love letter to these graceful animals and the people who, like her, are obsessed with them. It is also a coming-of-age story of Nir growing up an outsider within the world's most elite inner circles, and finding her true north in horses. Nir takes us into the lesser-known corners of the riding world and profiles some of its most captivating figures. Woven into compelling character studies, Nir shares her own moving personal narrative. She speaks candidly of how horses have helped her overcome heartbreak and loss. Infused with heart and wit, Horse Crazy is an unforgettable blend of beautifully written memoir and first-rate reporting"
Tales from the Ant World by Edward O. WilsonWhat it is: a memoir by acclaimed biologist Edward O. Wilson, in which he shares his passion for myrmecology (the study of ants) while reflecting on a lifetime of studying the natural world.
Lessons learned? "There is nothing I can even imagine in the lives of ants that we can or should emulate for our own moral betterment."
Reviewers say: a "rapturously unapologetic hymn of praise to the roughly one quadrillion ants on the planet" (The Boston Globe).
Focus on: The Lighter Side of Science
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death by Caitlin Doughty; illustrated by Dianne RuzThe premise: a mortician answers children's questions about death in an engaging and matter-of-fact style.
About the author: Funeral director Caitlin Doughty is the creator of the web series "Ask a Mortician" and the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity.
So...will your cat eat your eyeballs? Not immediately. (Not when there are tastier tidbits like eyelids.)
Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances that Flow Through Our Lives by Mark MiodownikWhat it's about: Having tackled solids in Stuff Matters, materials scientist Mark Miodownik introduces readers to the unique properties of liquids from the confines of an airplane cabin during a transatlantic flight.
Why you might like it: Filled with fascinating facts (airplanes are essentially glued together), this accessible book pairs scientific principles (viscosity, vaporization) and their real-life applications (how ballpoint pens work, brewing the perfect cup of tea).
The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine by Thomas MorrisWhat it is: Historian (Matters of the Heart) and blogger Thomas Morris' well-researched and eye-opening compendium of medical oddities.
Is it for you? As you might expect from a book containing chapters dedicated to "Horrifying Operations," "Unfortunate Predicaments," and "Dubious Treatments," these case studies are not for the squeamish.
For fans of: Sam Kean's The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons or Arnold van de Laar's Under the Knife.
Imagined Life: A Speculative Scientific Journey Among the Exoplanets in Search of.... by James Trefil and Michael SummersWhat it's about: a physicist and a planetary scientist draw on current scientific knowledge to speculate about exoplanets and their potential to support "life like us, like not like us, or life really not like us."
Includes: discussions of tidally locked planets, subsurface ocean worlds, super-Earths, and rogue planets (which do not orbit stars).
You might also like: Alan Boss' Universal Life, about the Kepler Space Telescope.
Contact your librarian for more great books!