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It's Alive! The Science of B-Movie Monsters

This is a solid piece of science writing masquerading as movie reviews. It is a lot of fun to read, and you'll learn some biomechanics along the way. However, you may never look at movie monsters in quite the same way again.

It's Alive! book cover

Michael LaBarbera


This is a fun and informative collection of essays and cartoons about life in academia, specifically pre- and post-tenure at a research university in a science field. The tone is conversational, and often light-hearted, but the information imparted is real and useful for anyone pursuing or considering a career in academia, particularly in the sciences.


Sydney Phlox


This short look at pregnancy advice through the ages is an adapted excerpt from a longer work, but it is an exceptionally well done one. It stands on its own as a great, brief look at the topic. If you've ever been on the receiving end of pregnancy advice, or if you're just curious about what society tells pregnant women to do and why, this book is for you.

Expecting book cover

Marika Seigel


This book consists of short histories of accomplished and influential women scientists. All the ones you know are in the book, but what makes it special is that a lot of women scientists you've never heard of are in the book, too. Reading about the amazing, important things women you've never heard of have done is both eye-opening and inspiring (and a little infuriating). I found the essays to be perfect short reads for evenings when I wanted to read something to wind down at the end of the day, but didn't have much time.


Rachel Swaby

The Resistance

This short ebook consists of two in-depth articles discussing concerns people are raising about the role of computers and algorithms in our current and future life, with a short essay at the end wrapping things up. The first article looks at the role of algorithms and social media in today's world and the second looks at concerns about the role of artificial intelligence in our future.

The Resistance

Joel Achenbach

We All Feel

This book reads a bit like an excerpt from a longer work, but don't let that stop you from reading it, particularly if you (like me) have never thought much about how animals respond to death. It is a look at a handful of examples where it appears animals are grieving, coupled with a discussion of what science can tell us about animal grief and what the fact that we usually overlook it says about us. All in all, it is a fascinating and thought-provoking book, and definitely worth your time.

We All Feel book cover

Barbara J. King

Science That Changed the World

This book looks at four scientific breakthroughs of the 1960s- telecommunications satellites, plate tectonics, experimental evidence of The Big Bang, and the eradication of smallpox- and traces their transformative impact through to modern times. It is an interesting premise, well-executed, and even people who know the basic outlines of these discoveries are likely to pick up some new information.

Science that Changed the World book cover

Tim Radford

Hagfish Slime and Lobster Rolls

This is a book about slime- sort of. The introduction to this book led me to expect a little more unification in the essays than they delivered, but it was still a really interesting and fun to read look at some fascinating slimy sea creatures.

Hagfish Slime and Lobster Rolles book cover

Ellen Prager

Rabbits with Horns and Other Astounding Viruses

This book isn't really an introduction to the world of viruses, more like a teaser. Zimmer provides a glimpse into the weirdness that is viruses, giving satisfying, complete stories about the viruses he discusses, but making it clear that there is many more wonderful stories out there for people who want to explore more. This is a book that will reward your time, and leave you with an increased sense of the wonderful diversity of the natural world.

Book cover of Rabbits with Horns and Other Astounding Viruses

Carl Zimmer


This is several stories in one: the story of the endangered Cape Mountain Leopard, the story of the scientist (Quenton Martins) who is trying to save them, and the story of the author's attempt to see one of these rare and beautiful creatures.

Unspotted book cover

Justin Fox

The Vanishing

This well-written book is part personal essay about dealing with a relative's Alzheimer's disease, part summary of recent research about how Alzheimer's patients experience the world, and part reporting on a new type of care home in the Netherlands. These parts combine to produce a thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of how we can best help Alzheimer's patients.

The Vanishing book cover

Anu Silfverberg

David Hackston (translator)

Gut Instincts

If you've ever wondered about celiac disease, the serious disease behind the current gluten free craze, this book is for you. But it is more than just an introduction to celiac disease and what life with this difficult condition is like. It is also a well-written and at times funny look at life at the boundaries of modern medical knowledge, and how to remain a happy person even when you cannot become a perfectly healthy patient.

Gut Instinct book cover

Heather Abel

Ice Age Forensics: Reconstructing the Death of a Wooly Bison

This book may be a little heavy on technical detail for some, but it also provides a fascinating detective story of sorts, explaining what scientists were able to determine from a frozen bison mummy discovered in Alaska and how they determined it.

Ice Age Forensics

R. Dale Guthrie

Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma

This is a concise and well-written biography of Alan Turing, perfect for someone who is interested in knowing a bit about Turing and his work, but doesn't want to do the deep dive into the topic that a longer biography would entail

Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma

David Boyle

Battle at the End of Eden

This book is a heart-warming tale of death and destruction- really. It explores the methods required to eradicate invasive species (that's the death and destruction part) and also the motivations for doing so (that's the heart-warming part). It is a well-written and interesting look at what it takes to reverse the damage we do when we bring invasive species to new locations to serve our short term needs.


Amanda R. Martinez

52 Blue

This book starts as the story of the discovery of an unusual whale song using technology originally intended for tracking Russian submarines. It morphs into a beautiful and thought-provoking meditation on loneliness, our human tendency to project our emotional needs onto the natural world, and how scientific discoveries can touch people's lives even when they are extrapolating far beyond what the science actually shows.


Leslie Jamison

The Stir of Waters: Radiation, Risk, and the Radon Spa of Jachymov

I love non-fiction that pulls together information from disparate disciplines to give the reader a more complete picture, and this ebook does that well. It mixes scientific information on the effects of radiation and the assessment of the risk of exposure to low doses with historical information about a radon spa in eastern Europe, and the result is a short ebook that left me feeling like I'd really learned something.

The Stir of Waters

Paul Voosen

The Electric Mind: One Woman's Battle Against Paralysis at the Frontiers of Science

This book intertwines the story of Cathy Hutchinson, a stroke patient who can only communicate by moving her eyes, and the story of research underway to try to allow her and other patients like her to control robotic limbs directly with their minds. The story is thoughtfully told, and left me impressed with both the research and the strength of the human spirit.

The Electric Mind

Jessica Benko

Bear Mountain

This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion of the debate around the reintroduction of the bear in the Pyrenees. Even readers who have never previously heard of the reintroduction program or the debate surrounding it will likely find it makes them re-examine their ideas about wildlife, human tradition, and man's place in the world. It is an even-handed discussion of the issue, which raises questions that are relevant in other contexts.

Bear Mountain

Mick Webb

The Pioneer Detectives: Did a distant spacecraft prove Einstein and Newton wrong?

An engrossing look at the discovery of the Pioneer Anomaly and the effort to understand what caused it: was it something mundane or was it a sign of new physics.

Pioneer Detectives

Konstantin Kakaes

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