A prominent theme this season is the use of science as a bulwark against the proliferation of misinformation. Authors also continue to investigate the mysteries of the brain and to find commonality between humans and various animal species, some of them unexpected.
Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military
Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang. Norton, Sept. 11
Popular astrophysicist Tyson tackles more politically loaded material than in his previous works with this look at the relationship between science and war.
Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects
Teasel E. Muir-Harmony. National Geographic Society, Nov. 6
As the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing approaches, this book commemorates the Apollo moon mission using artifacts from the Smithsonian archives.
The Art of Logic in an Illogical World
Eugenia Cheng. Basic, Sept. 11
Mathematician Cheng, whose How to Bake Pi was one of PW’s Best Books of 2015, uses the tools of her trade to counter an era of irrational media discourse.
The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy
Paige Williams. Hachette, Sept. 11
This debut from a New Yorker staff writer combines true crime and paleontology into a gripping narrative about how a nearly complete dinosaur skeleton came up for auction in 2012.
The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves
Eric R. Kandel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Aug. 28
Kandel, a Nobel Prize winner and the coauthor of a widely used neuroscience textbook, shows how cognitive disorders can shed light on normal brain functioning.
The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption
Dahr Jamail. New Press, Jan. 15
Dubbed “the quintessential unembedded reporter” by Intercept cofounder Jeremy Scahill, Jamail brings his experience as a war journalist to this tour of the front lines of climate change.
How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals
Sy Montgomery. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept. 25
The National Book Award finalist reflects on her relationship with different animals, including both a tiger and a tarantula, in a memoir.
Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World
Maryanne Wolf. Harper, Aug. 7
Wolf, best known for Proust and the Squid, investigates a subject of vital interest for readers and writers—the impact of digital technologies on how humans process written language.
Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality
Anil Ananthaswamy. Dutton, Aug. 7
Following up 2015’s acclaimed The Man Who Wasn’t There, Ananthaswamy treats a 19th-century light experiment as a sprawling intellectual adventure story.
Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology
Lisa Margonelli. Scientific American, Aug. 21
Margonelli’s journey into the subterranean domain of termites is unexpectedly riveting and touches on unexpected topics, including drone warfare and the nature of good and evil.
The Art of Logic in an Illogical World by Eugenia Cheng (Sept. 11, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5416-7248-2). The mathematician intends her latest book for readers frustrated with the proliferation of illogic in today’s world. However, she also discusses the value of various forms of “alogic”—for example, emotion.
In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World by Lauren E. Oakes (Nov. 27, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5416-9712-6). Ecologist Oakes recounts traveling to Alaska several years ago to search for a kind of tree, the yellow-cedar, rapidly being lost to climate change.
Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live by Rob Dunn (Nov. 6, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-4576-9) introduces readers to the nearly 200,000 species lurking in their homes, from the microbes in their showers to the crickets in their basements.
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson (Sept. 4, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-63286-928-9). A prominent climate change activist shares stories of resistance against energy poverty and displacement, showing how ordinary people— from a nail-salon owner in Mississippi to a farmer in Uganda—can help save the planet.
Bloomsbury Natural History
When the Last Lion Roars: The Rise and Fall of the King of the Beasts by Sara Evans (Sept. 4, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-1613-6). As extinction threatens Africa’s lions, the author considers the species’ history and cultural significance, while sharing personal encounters with the continent’s last lions and their human protectors.
Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep from Cradle to Grave by Alice Gregory (Aug. 14, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-4618-8) offers a sleep researcher’s guide to varied aspects of sleep, including its different stages, how sleeping patterns shift over the course of a person’s life, and the influence of genes.
Gut Reactions: The Science of Weight Gain and Loss by Simon Quellen Field (Jan. 8, trade paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-64160-000-2) draws on the author’s expertise as a chemist to explain the science underpinning the human body’s reactions to food, exercise, and the environment.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds & Books by Alex Preston, illus. by Neil Gower (Nov. 6, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-4721-5224-4). Novelist Preston describes a lifelong interest in birds, pursued both in nature and on the page, and shares excerpts of classic nature writing.
Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality by Anil Ananthaswamy (Aug. 7, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-101-98609-7). Science writer Ananthaswamy shows how the double-slit experiment—in which light passes through two slits and creates an interference pattern—has, since its introduction in the 19th century, challenged the scientific understanding of reality.
Einstein’s Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable by Seth Fletcher (Oct. 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-231202-0) follows a group of scientists on their five-year attempt to perform a possibly impossible task—to photograph a black hole—and thereby put Einstein’s theory of relativity to the test. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
How to Love the Universe: A Scientist’s Odes to the Hidden Beauty Behind the Visible World by Stefan Klein (Oct. 2, hardcover, $18.95, ISBN 978-1-61519-486-5) uses everyday objects—a rose, a graying beard, a marble—to ruminate on the beauty of scientific theory.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves by Eric R. Kandel (Aug. 28, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-374-28786-3). A Nobel Prize recipient and brain science pioneer looks into what brain disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and autism reveal about human nature.
Out There: A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel (for the Cosmically Curious) by Michael Wall (Nov. 13, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5387-2937-3). Space.com senior writer Wall considers the many new questions which would arise if a perennial question—Is there life elsewhere in the universe?—was answered.
The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams (Sept. 11, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-38253-3). A New Yorker staff writer shares the bizarre tale of one man’s attempt to put a dinosaur skeleton from the Gobi Desert up for auction.
Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf (Aug. 7, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-238878-0). The author of Proust and the Squidaddresses a series of letters to her readers describing what she hopes—and fears—is happening to the reading brain as it adapts to digital mediums.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery, illus. by Rebecca Green (Sept. 25, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0-544-93832-8). National Book Award finalist Montgomery, a naturalist, reflects on the personalities of 13 animals encountered in her travels. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Trouble with Gravity: Solving the Mystery Beneath Our Feet by Richard Panek (Jan. 15, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-544-52674-7) delves into an enduring question for physicists, explaining how gravity shapes not only the human body and the world but also human minds and cultures.
Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey by Alice Robb (Nov. 20, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-544-93121-3). While sharing personal experiences with lucid dreaming, science journalist Robb looks at dream research and goes over the links between dreaming and creativity.
Pressure: Dispatches from the Deepsea Challenge Expedition by James Cameron and Mark Cotta Vaz (Sept. 18, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-68383-498-4) recounts the Titanic director’s 2012 expedition to the deepest part of the planet, the Challenger Deep in the western Pacific Ocean.
Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut’s Photographs from a Year in Space by Scott Kelly (Oct. 30, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-1-5247-3184-7). The bestselling author of Endurance shares images from his time on the International Space Station, providing a rare example of the art of photography in weightlessness. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood by Rose George (Oct. 23, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-62779-637-8). George (The Big Necessity) explores the history, science, and future of blood, touching on both ancient bloodletting practices and present-day “hemovigilance” teams that track blood-borne diseases. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
National Geographic Society
Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects by Teasel E. Muir-Harmony (Nov. 6, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1-4262-1993-1) celebrates the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon, using artifacts from the Smithsonian archives to tell the story of this epochal program.
Our Human Story by Louise Humphrey and Chris Stringer (Nov. 1, trade paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-0-565-09391-4). Drawing on new information about evolutionary antecedents to the human race, Humphrey and Stringer provide a guide to humanity’s extinct relatives.
The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Dahr Jamail (Jan. 15, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-234-2). War reporter Jamail travels to places affected particularly strongly by the climate crisis, from Alaska to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, in the process renewing his appreciation for the Earth’s wild places.
Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang (Sept. 11, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-06444-5). Astrophysicist Tyson, a popular science communicator, teams with Lang to look at how the methods and tools of astrophysics have been enlisted into military service.
Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes by Chris Impey (Nov. 13, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-324-00093-8). An astronomer builds on the discovery that every galaxy harbors a black hole at its center to consider cutting-edge cosmological questions; 68 illus.
End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World’s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals by Ross D.E. MacPhee, illus. by Peter Schouten (Nov. 13, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-393-24929-3). Paleomammologist MacPhee explores the fascinating lives and puzzling demise of some of the Earth’s largest animals, including gorilla-sized lemurs, 800-pound birds, and crocodiles that weighed a ton or more; 78 color illus.
One of Ten Billion Earths: How We Learn about Our Planet’s Past and Future from Distant Exoplanets by Karel Schrijver (Oct. 2, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-19-879989-4). Generously illustrated with images of the solar system and the universe, this book explores how discoveries within the solar system and of exoplanets far beyond it illuminate the habitability of the Earth.
Universal Life: An Inside Look Behind the Race to Discover Life Beyond Earth by Alan Boss (Jan. 2, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-19-086405-7). The chair of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group shares the story of NASA’s first dedicated exoplanet detection mission, the Kepler space telescope, which launched in 2009 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The Goodness Paradox by Richard Wrangham (Jan. 22, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-101-87090-7). In this original theory of how Homo sapiens arose, Wrangham argues that the emergence of socially sanctioned capital punishment played a crucial role.
Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—And Ourselves by Matt Simon (Oct. 2, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-14-313141-0). A science journalist explores mind control in nature, introducing readers to zombifying fungi, kamikaze crickets, and a wasp that stings cockroaches in the brain and then leads them to their deaths.
Penguin Random House South Africa
Wild Karoo: A Journey Through History, Change and Revival in an Ancient Land by Mitch Reardon (Dec. 19, trade paper, $20, ISBN 978-1-77584-325-2) documents Reardon’s 2,500-mile journey through the Karoo, South Africa’s parched heartland, now an increasingly popular tourist destination after centuries of relative isolation.
The Discrete Charm of the Machine: Why the World Became Digital by Kenneth Steiglitz (Oct. 16, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-691-17943-8). Looking into how the world’s communications shifted from analog to digital, Steiglitz runs through different reasons for this radical transformation.
Innate: How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are by Kevin J. Mitchell (Oct. 16, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-17388-7). Neuroscientist Mitchell shows that personal traits are more innate than people may think, tracing human diversity and individual differences to their deepest level: in the wiring of the brain.
Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World by Marcia Bjornerud (Sept. 11, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-691-18120-2). Acknowledging the human difficulty in grasping the time scale of Earth’s existence, Bjornerud shows how geologists chart the planet’s past, and how an appreciation of this history will help in combating environmental problems.
Anti-science and the Assault on Democracy: Defending Reason in a Free Society, edited by Michael J. Thompson and Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker (Dec. 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-63388-474-8). In this collection of original essays, experts in political science, the hard sciences, philosophy, history, and other disciplines show the relationship between respect for science and a healthy democracy.
Your Place in the Milky Way: An Exciting Tour of the Big, Messy Universe by Paul M. Sutter (Nov. 20, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-63388-472-4). Astrophysicist Sutter, host of the Ask a Spaceman! podcast, gives an informed but accessible tour of his field and of the universe.
Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology by Lisa Margonelli (Aug. 21, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-28207-3). Bestselling author Margonelli (Oil on the Brain) investigates the environmental and economic impact of termites and their connections to humans.
Simon & Schuster
Superhuman: Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity by Rowan Hooper (Sept. 4, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-6871-0). Evolutionary biologist Hooper takes a look into the extremes of human ability, interviewing exceptional individuals and assessing the relevant research.
How to Live in Space: Everything You Need to Know for the Not-So-Distant Future by Colin Stuart (Sept. 25, trade paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-58834-638-4). With suborbital space tourism predicted to become a billion-dollar industry in the coming decade, this lighthearted illustrated guide discusses the basics of living beyond the Earth.
When Humans Nearly Vanished: The Catastrophic Explosion of the Toba Volcano by Donald R. Prothero (Oct. 16, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-58834-635-3) recounts the explosion 73,000 years ago—the Earth’s largest in 28 million years—of the Mt. Toba supervolcano, and its lasting impact on the planet and on human evolution.
Dreaming in Turtle: A Journey Through the Passion, Profit, and Peril of Our Most Coveted Prehistoric Creatures by Peter Laufer (Nov. 20, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-12809-6) charts the human relationship to turtles, an animal prized since prehistory, but now threatened by the 21st-century global economy.
Under the Knife: A History of Surgery in 28 Remarkable Operations by Arnold Van de Laar, trans. by Andy Brown (Oct. 2, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-20010-5). Surgeon Van de Laar relates a history of his field through 28 famous operations, including surgeries on Louis XIV and JFK.
Laika’s Window: The Legacy of a Soviet Space Dog by Kurt Caswell (Sept. 18, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59534-862-3) examines the short but momentous life of the first animal to orbit the Earth, Laika, who died in 1957 aboard the Soviet satellite Sputnik II.
Putting on the Dog by Melissa Kwasny (Oct. 30, hardcover, $27.50, ISBN 978-1-59534-864-7) investigates the historic use of animals as clothing, with accounts of traditions and techniques from around the globe.
Univ. of Chicago
Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different by Philip Ball (Oct. 22, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-226-55838-7). Science writer Ball offers an up-to-date account of how scientists are dealing with the implications of quantum theory.
Univ. of Pennsylvania
The Spatial Reformation: Euclid Between Man, Cosmos, and God by Michael J. Sauter (Nov. 27, hardcover, $89.95, ISBN 978-0-8122-5066-4) traces the history of how Europeans conceived of three-dimensional space, including the relationship between the Earth and the heavens, between 1350 and 1850.
Dispatches from Planet 3: Thirty-Two (Brief) Tales on the Solar System, the Milky Way, and Beyond by Marcia Bartusiak (Sept. 18, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-300-23574-6). In this essay collection, science writer Bartusiak explores the galaxy, the multiverse, and the history of astronomy.
Where Are We Heading? The Evolution of Humans and Things by Ian Hodder (Aug. 21, hardcover, $27.50, ISBN 978-0-300-20409-4). Archaeologist Hodder proposes a theory of evolution centered around the concept of “entanglement”: the ever-increasing mutual dependency between humans and things.