The rise and fall of the dinosaurs: A new history of a lost world by Steve BrusatteWhat it is: the most up-to-date research on the amazing rise, fantastic reign, and spectacular extinction of dinosaurs, presented in a captivating and lively manner.
Why you should read it: Paleontologists discover, on average, one new dinosaur species a week(!), so there is much new information to share.
About the author: American paleontologist Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh is highly respected in his field.
When Einstein walked with Gödel: Excursions to the edge of thought by Jim HoltWhat it is: an examination of unlikely partnerships between eccentric geniuses -- including Albert Einstein and logician Kurt Gödel, and computer scientists Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing -- that breaks down some of science’s most groundbreaking ideas.
Why you might like it: If you enjoy science writer Jim Holt’s (Why Does The World Exist?) signature writing style -- entertaining, accessible, and humorous -- you won’t be disappointed by this fun and informative book.
|The skeleton revealed: An illustrated tour of the vertebrates by Steve Huskey
The vertebrate skeleton is one of nature's most amazing feats. Composed of cartilage and bone, it forms the supportive structure for all the remaining aspects of our anatomy. Stripped of skin, we can see the body's fascinating underlying architecture. In this one-of-a-kind book, biologist and skeletal reconstructionist Steve Huskey lays bare the vertebrate skeleton, providing a guided tour of the nuanced differences among the many featured vertebrate species. Using skeletal preparations he has spent decades assembling, Huskey helps us understand why animals live the way they do.
Milk! A 10,000-year food fracas by Mark KurlanskyWhat it is: As he did in works such as Paper and Salt, historian Mark Kurlansky provides an illuminating microhistory of another familiar item: milk.
Why you should read it: This sweeping history of milk is also the story of human civilization itself, reaching across continents and throughout time. (And of course, recipes are included.)
The plant messiah: Adventures in search of the world's rarest species by Carlos MagdalenaWhat it’s about: one man’s heroic quest to save some of the world’s rarest plant species from extinction, an endeavor that takes him into a variety of breathtaking habitats around the globe.
About the author: Spanish-born Carlos Magdalena, a horticulturalist at Kew Gardens, has been nicknamed “the plant messiah” for his work saving endangered plants.
You might also like: The collective biography The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf and the historical fiction novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.
|A handful of happiness: How a prickly creature softened a prickly heart by Massimo Vacchetta
The heart-warming story of how a tiny hedgehog helped one man find hope. 'Could you look after it for a couple of days? . . .' So begins the extraordinary friendship between veterinarian Massimo, who is at a low spot in his life, and a tiny, orphaned hedgehog. Only a few days old, covered with soft, white quills and mewling quietly, this little creature will turn around his life forever. Through the sheer force of Ninna's personality - curious, playful, affectionate - and the sudden, unexpected paternal protectiveness he feels nursing her back to health, Massimo reconnects with the world - and finally begins to feel like home. But as Ninna wakes from her first hibernation, she grows up, like any teenager, longing for freedom.
Deep: Freediving, renegade science, and what the ocean tells us about ourselves by James NestorWhat it’s about: Competitive free diving is a sport in which participants plunge, unburdened by scuba gear, to depths of up to 300 feet in the span of a single breath. In Deep, author James Nestor begins training for free diving -- and in the process uncovers much about the enduring relationship between humans and the ocean.
Book buzz: Deep was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, an Amazon Best Science Book of 2014, and a Scientific American Recommended Read.
The ocean of life: The fate of man and the sea by Callum RobertsWhat it's about: Biologist Callum Roberts documents the past, present, and future of the world's oceans, which continue to undergo dramatic environmental changes.
Why you should read it: Filled with fascinating tidbits (albatross chicks eat an average of 70 pieces of plastic per meal) as well as meticulous scientific detail, The Ocean of Life makes a powerful case for ocean conservation.
About the author: Roberts has been called “the Rachel Carson of the fish world” (The New York Times).
Pacific: The ocean of the future by Simon WinchesterWhat it’s about: bestselling author Simon Winchester turns his keen eye on the Pacific Ocean, the largest body of water on Earth, mainly focusing on events after 1950.
What’s inside: Assessing not only the ocean and what lies beneath it, Winchester also discusses the countries that border it (including China and the United States) as well as the islands within it.
Reviewers say: Kirkus Reviews calls Pacific a "superb analysis of a world wonder."
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