Fittingly, this fall’s titles spotlight immunity and the Covid-19 vaccine. Climate change is still a hot topic, and bugs, trauma, and consciousness get their fair share of attention, too.
Bees and Their Keepers: A Journey Through Seasons and Centuries
Lotte Möller. Abrams Image, Aug. 17 ($24.99, ISBN 978-1-4197-5114-1)
Journalist Möller traces a year in the life of a beekeeper and offers a cultural history that charts the myths and science surrounding bees.
Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider’s Guide to the Future of Physics
Stephon Alexander. Basic, Aug. 31 ($28, ISBN 978-1-5416-9963-2)
Cosmologist Alexander explores the mysteries of physics and makes a case for a more diverse scientific community.
The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine
Brendan Borrell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct. 26 ($28, ISBN 978-0-358-56984-8)
The billionaires, politicians, and scientists who worked on the development of Covid-19 vaccines come to life in this account from journalist Borrell.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Universe
Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson. Riverhead, Nov. 2 ($28, ISBN 978-0-593-18931-3)
Scientist-cum-cartoonist Cham and physicist Whiteson, cohosts of podcast Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe, answer big questions about time travel, black holes, and more.
Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive
Philipp Dettmer. Random House, Sept. 28 ($35, ISBN 978-0-593-24131-8)
Dettmer, creator of the YouTube science channel Kurzgesagt, debuts with an exploration of the immune system.
The Last Winter: The Scientists, Adventurers, Journeymen, and Mavericks Trying to Save the World
Porter Fox. Little, Brown, Nov. 2 ($30, ISBN 978-0-316-46092-7)
In Fox’s follow-up to Northland, he traverses the Northern Hemisphere’s snow line to survey how warming winters are changing the world.
Our Biggest Experiment: An Epic History of the Climate Crisis
Alice Bell. Counterpoint, Sept. 21 ($27, ISBN 978-1-64009-433-8)
Climate writer Bell describes the work of Eunice Newton Foote, who first warned the public about global warming, and a slew of other scientists who shaped the current understanding of climate change.
Pump: A Natural History of the Heart
Bill Schutt. Algonquin, Sept. 21 ($26.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-893-6)
Schutt takes readers on a tour—across the globe and through history—to understand one of humans’ most vital organs.
The Sleeping Beauties: And Other Stories of Mystery Illness
Suzanne O’Sullivan. Pantheon, Sept. 21 ($27.50, ISBN 978-1-5247-4837-1)
Cuba, New York, and Sweden are just some of the places that neurologist O’Sullivan travels to in her exploration of curious instances when psychological illnesses pervaded different cultures.
The Star Builders: Nuclear Fusion and the Race to Power the Planet
Arthur Turrell. Scribner, Aug. 3 ($28, ISBN 978-1-9821-3066-4)
Plasma physicist Turrell follows scientists around the world as they race to make use of stars’ power in the form of nuclear fusion.
Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion by Wendy Suzuki (Sept. 7, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-7073-8). Neuroscientist Suzuki reframes anxiety as a gift essential to human survival and offers readers a new way to approach their worries.
Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: The Fraught and Fascinating Biology of Climate Change by Thor Hanson (Sept. 28, $28, ISBN 978-1-5416-7242-0). Biologist Hanson surveys climate change’s impact on evolution as flora and fauna respond to the rapidly changing environment.
Drunk Flies and Stoned Dolphins: A Trip Through the World of Animal Intoxication by Oné R. Pagán (Oct. 19, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-950665-37-2) makes a case that humans aren’t the only creatures to use drugs and surveys animals that make use of mind-altering substances.
The Book of Vanishing Species: Illustrated Lives of 80 Creatures and Plants by Beatrice Forshall (Jan. 11, $27, ISBN 978-1-5266-2377-5) traces the mysteries and oddities of flora and fauna that are under threat.
Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution by Elsa Panciroli (Sept. 7, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-8382-4) tells the globe-spanning story of mammalian evolution, and is paleontologist Panciroli’s debut.
Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth by Patrick Nunn (Oct. 5, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-8347-3) takes a deep-dive into the enigmas beneath the ocean.
Abundance: Nature in Recovery by Karen Lloyd (Nov. 2, $25, ISBN 978-1-4729-8908-6). Poet and journalist Lloyd reflects on conservation efforts and biodiversity in this account of humans’ interaction with nature.
Rebugging the Planet: The Remarkable Things That Insects (and Other Invertebrates) Do—and Why We Need to Love Them More by Vicki Hird (Sept. 23, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64502-018-9) makes a case that insects need to be protected for the sake of the planet and shows readers how to do just that.
Great Minds Don’t Think Alike: Debates on Consciousness, Reality, Intelligence, Faith, Time, AI, Immortality, and the Human, edited by Marcelo Gleiser (Jan. 4, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-231-20411-8), collects nine dialogues, including with philosopher David Chalmers and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio on consciousness, historian Jimena Canales and physicist Paul Davies covering time, and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee talking about immortality.
How to Make an Apple Pie from Scratch: In Search of the Recipe for Our Universe, from the Origins of Atoms to the Big Bang by Harry Cliff (Aug. 10, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-54565-5). Experimental physicist Cliff travels to the farthest corners of the globe to find answers to the big questions of physics.
Being You: A New Science of Consciousness by Anil Seth (Oct. 12, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4287-4). Taking a biological approach to the study of consciousness, neuroscientist Seth argues that humans do not perceive the world objectively, but rather predict and correct mistakes every second.
Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke (Aug. 24, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4672-8). Psychiatrist Lembke considers the neurotransmitter dopamine and its role in addiction, and how to best strike the balance between pain and pleasure.
The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning by Paul Bloom (Nov. 2, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-291056-1) follows up Against Empathy with an exploration of how suffering is key to pleasure and to making meaningful lives.
The Environmentalist’s Dilemma: Promise and Peril in an Age of Climate Crisis by Arno Kopecky (Oct. 19, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77041-609-3) grapples with the paradox that while the Earth is dying, humans are thriving.
Field Study: Meditations on a Year at the Herbarium by Helen Humphreys (Sept. 21, $22.95 ISBN 978-1-77041-534-8). In this survey, poet and novelist Humphreys studies the relationship between humans and nature, shedding light on the plant collections of Emily Dickinson and Henry Dvid Thoreau, among others.
Everyday Trauma: Remapping the Brain’s Response to Stress, Anxiety, and Painful Memories for a Better Life by Tracey Shors (Dec. 14, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-24700-1). Neuroscientist Shors explores trauma’s effects on the human brain, with a particular interest in the ways women are more vulnerable to traumatic events than men.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Horizons: The Global Origins of Modern Science by James Poskett (Nov. 9, $30, ISBN 978-0-358-25179-8) flips the script on the history of science, spotlighting the African and Asian texts that paved the way for well-known European discoveries.
Underwater Wild: My Octopus Teacher’s Extraordinary World by Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck (Nov. 16, $50, ISBN 978-0-358-66475-8) expands on the Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher to shed light on life under the ocean and the divers who explore it.
Climate Change Is Racist: Race, Privilege and the Struggle for Climate Justice by Jeremy Williams (Aug. 10, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78578-775-1). Activist Williams makes a case that climate change is primarily caused by majority white countries and disproportionately affects people of color.
Little, Brown Spark
A Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know by Richard Firth-Godbehere (Nov. 2, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-46131-3). Psychology, neuroscience, art, and history come together in this survey of the ways human emotions have shaped history.
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2021, edited by Ed Yong and Jaime Green (Oct. 12, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-358-40006-6). Yong, staff writer at the Atlantic, and science writer Green bring together the best of the best of the past year’s science writing.
How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason by Lee McIntyre (Aug. 17, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-262-04610-7). Anti-vaxxers, flat earthers, and climate change deniers are just some of the groups that McIntyre covers as he teaches readers how to address those who refute science.
National Geographic Ocean: A Global Odyssey by Sylvia A. Earle (Nov. 16, $65, ISBN 978-1-4262-2192-7). Oceanographer Earle takes a deep dive into the sea, describing its effect on the planet’s climate and life forms, as well as the challenges threatening the oceans’ future.
Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe (Sept. 21, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-4383-1) argues that the best way to effect change in the climate change debate is to start dialogues.
The Oracle of Night: The History and Science of Dreams by Sidarta Ribeiro, trans. by Daniel Hahn (Aug. 17, $32.50, ISBN 978-1-5247-4690-2). Ribeiro, a neuroscientist, offers a history of dreams and answers questions about dreaming and the role dreams play in the human mind.
The Secret Life of Fungi by Aliya Whitely (Sept. 7, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-64313-785-8) explores the odd places fungi can grow, its sometimes bizarre effects on the human body, and the things still unknown about mushrooms.
Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation by Paul Hawken (Sept. 14, $25 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-14-313697-2) argues that rather than fighting future threats, addressing current problems is the best way to solve the climate crisis.
Revelations in Air: A Guidebook to Smell by Jude Stewart (Oct. 26, $20, ISBN 978-0-14-313599-9) considers how and why humans smell to shed light on the sense’s history and functions.
A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein (Sept. 14, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-08688-9) posits that modernity doesn’t match up with how the human brain and body have evolved to thrive.
A Place Like No Other: Discovering the Secrets of Serengeti by Tony Sinclair (Oct. 5, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-22233-2). The zoologist offers a firsthand account of his time exploring the Serengeti and discusses the ecosystem’s diversity and changes threatening it.
The Secret Body: How the New Science of the Human Body Is Changing the Way We Live by Daniel M. Davis (Aug. 17, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-691-21058-2). Davis, a professor of immunology, showcases the cutting-edge discoveries that have revealed new information about the human body, genes, and cells.
Hurts So Good: The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose by Leigh Cowart (Sept. 14, $28, ISBN 978-1-5417-9804-5) investigates why pain-seekers search out that thrill; ballerinas, tattoo enthusiasts, masochists, and workaholics are among Cowart’s subjects.
Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet—and Our Mission to Protect It by Nicole Stott (Oct. 12, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-7504-9). Astronaut Stott uses the lessons she learned in space to make a case that Earth must be protected from climate change.
The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World by Nichola Raihani (Aug. 31, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-26282-0) proposes that cooperation and relationships are coded into human evolution and can provide insight into how humans became such a successful species.
Univ. of Chicago
We Are All Whalers: The Plight of Whales and Our Responsibility by Michael Moore (Oct. 5, $25, ISBN 978-0-226-80304-3). Whale hunters aren’t the only threats to the world’s largest mammal, argues marine scientist Moore in this treatise on protecting the animals and helping them thrive.
What’s Eating the Universe? And Other Cosmic Questions by Paul Davies (Aug. 24, $22.50, ISBN 978-0-226-81629-6).Astrophysicist Davies takes a tour of the cosmos’s grand questions and considers, among other things, supermassive black holes.
Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero Is Not Enough by Holly Jean Buck (Oct. 19, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-83976-234-5) pushes back against “net zero” carbon emissions solutions to climate change, and makes a case that such strategies obfuscate more pressing issues, such as how profitable fossil fuels are.
The Plant Hunter: A Scientist’s Quest for Nature’s Next Medicine by Cassandra Leah Quave (Oct. 12, $26, ISBN 978-1-9848-7911-0). Mixing science writing and memoir, ethnobotanist Quave travels the globe to find plants that can cure diseases.
Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters by Steven Pinker (Sept. 28, $32, ISBN 978-0-525-56199-6). The cognitive psychologist makes a case that people are inherently rational but fail to make sufficient use of logic, critical thinking, and probability.
The Singularity Is Nearer by Ray Kurzweil (Nov. 2, $28, ISBN 978-0-399-56276-1). In his follow-up to 2005’s The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil looks at the ways technology will change humanity, covering artificial intelligence, the cloud, renewable energy, and 3-D printing.
This article has been updated with new bibliographic information for some titles.