Many of this spring’s science titles look to nature and the animal kingdom for lessons about humanity, while others reckon with climate change, as well as the pandemic and the cosmos.
The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird
Jack E. Davis. Liveright, Mar. 1 ($29.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-525-0)
America’s emblematic bird takes center stage in this cultural history from Pulitzer Prize winner Davis, who highlights the creature’s resilience amid climate change.
Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
Florence Williams. Norton, Feb. 1 ($30, ISBN 978-1-324-00348-9)
Journalist Williams blends research and memoir to explore the science behind love, breakups, and loneliness.
The High Sierra: A Love Story
Kim Stanley Robinson. Little, Brown, May 10 ($40, ISBN 978-0-316-59301-4)
Sci-fi maestro Robinson shares his admiration for the Sierra Nevada mountains in this ecological, historical, and cultural tour.
The Invisible Siege: The Rise of Coronaviruses and the Search for a Cure
Dan Werb. Crown, Mar. 1 ($28, ISBN 978-0-593-23923-0)
Epidemiologist Werb chronicles the rise of coronaviruses alongside researchers’ efforts to prevent pandemics, and outlines the missteps that contributed to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nightmare Fuel: The Science of Horror Films
Nina Nesseth. Tor Nightfire, July 26 ($25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-76521-5)
In this mix of hard science and cultural analysis, journalist Nesseth examines horror movies in an attempt to understand fear and the biological basis behind why people love feeling it.
Ellyn Gaydos. Knopf, June 14 ($27, ISBN 978-0-593-31895-9)
In her debut, farmhand Gaydos shares the lessons her work has taught her about life, death, and the costs of both as nature undergoes changes.
The Rise and Fall of the Mammals: A New History
Steve Brusatte. Custom House, June 7 ($29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-295151-9)
In his follow-up to The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, paleontologist Brusatte traces the history of mammalian life-forms, beginning 200 million years ago as they survived dinosaurs’ mass extinction, and details how they’ve adapted.
Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses
Jackie Higgins. Atria, Feb. 22 ($28, ISBN 978-1-9821-5655-8)
The sensory specialties of 13 species go under the microscope in this survey. The author covers the way shrimp, spiders, cheetahs, and bloodhounds sense the world, and applies her findings to the mysteries of human perception.
The Sky Is for Everyone: Stories of Women Astronomers in Their Own Words
Edited by Virginia Trimble and David A. Weintraub. Princeton Univ., June 21 ($29.95,
Astronomers Trimble and Weintraub gather stories of women’s battles to contribute to the field, showing the hurdles they’ve overcome and the inequality that remains: Beatriz Barbuy, Ann Merchant Boesgaard, and Rosemary F.G. Wyse are among those featured.
Soundings: Journeys in the Company of Whales
Doreen Cunningham. Scribner, July 12 ($27.99, ISBN 978-1-9821-7179-7)
In her debut, journalist Cunningham draws lessons from whales, the Iñupiaq people, and her own travels following the world’s largest mammals with her toddler.
Mushroom Foraging and Feasting: Advice, Recipes, and Stories from a Lifetime on the Hunt by Victoria Romanoff (May 24, $25, ISBN 978-0-7892-1429-4) shares the author’s adventures searching for mushrooms and surveys 12 of the most common fungi, offering recipes and foraging tips along the way.
Can Fish Count? What Animals Reveal About Our Uniquely Mathematical Minds by Brian Butterworth (Apr. 26, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-2081-0). Cognitive psychologist Butterworth uses animals’ powers of arithmetic to probe the human connection to numbers.
The Social Lives of Animals by Ashley Ward (Mar. 1, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-0083-6) counters the notion that animals are driven exclusively by competition, and suggests concepts thought to be exclusively human, such as cooperation and helpfulness, exist in wildlife, too.
Is Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions about Climate Justice by Aviva Chomsky (Apr. 5, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8070-1576-6). Salem State history professor Chomsky extends the conversation about climate change from the domains of science and policy into broader concerns of justice.
What Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care by Elizabeth Cripps (Apr. 12, $18 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4729-9181-2) lays out a scientific and historical foundation for the current climate and argues that climate activism is an ethical necessity.
Sticky: The Secret Science of Surfaces by Laurie Winkless (Feb. 1, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-5083-3) uses the textures of surfaces as a way in to physics, explaining such forces as friction and showing how the human understanding of them has led to modern developments.
How to Sell a Poison: The Rise, Fall, and Toxic Return of DDT by Elena Conis (Apr. 12, $30, ISBN 978-1-64503-674-6) offers a history of the pesticide DDT focused on the political interests of agricultural businesses in banning the chemical, and argues for the necessity of clearer science communication with the general population.
The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate, edited by Amy Brady and Tajja Isen (June 14, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64622-030-4). Literary figures from around the world—Alexandra Kleeman, Omar El Akkad, and Melissa Febos among them—offer their musings on the climate crisis.
Travels with Trilobites: Adventures in the Paleozoic by Andy Secher (May 3, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-231-20096-7) showcases Secher’s passion for paleontology in this account of trilobites—one of the most evolutionarily successful species to have lived on Earth—which spans 250 million years of history.
Horizons: Black Holes, Wormholes, and the Key to the Universe by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (Apr. 12, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293669-1). Two physicists explain how black holes work and seek to deepen readers’ understanding of general relativity.
Space Pirates: One Woman’s Quest to Transform NASA and Launch a New Age of Discovery by Lori Garver (May 24, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-63576-770-4). The former NASA administrator recounts her collaboration with “space pirates” Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, extolling the role of private industry in revitalizing space exploration.
This Way to the Universe: A Theoretical Physicist’s Journey to the Edge of Reality by Michael Dine (Feb. 1, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-18464-6) introduces current questions in cosmology, alongside personal anecdotes from Dine’s career.
Nowhere Left to Go: How Climate Change Is Driving Species to the Ends of the Earth by Benjamin von Brackel (June 7, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-61519-861-0). Environmental journalist von Brackel explores the species that are suffering from shrinking habitats, and highlights the mass extinction underway.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them: A Cosmic Quest from Zero to Infinity by Tony Padilla (June 21, $30, ISBN 978-0-374-60056-3). The creator of the YouTube channel Numberphile breaks down nine key numbers in physics, including Graham’s number and TREE(3), and explains how they help scientists understand the cosmos.
Wired for Love: A Neuroscientist’s Journey Through Romance, Loss, and the Essence of Human Connection by Stephanie Cacioppo (Apr. 5, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-79060-6) takes a look at the science of love, what makes it last, and how people experience loss.
Forest Walking: Discovering the Trees and Woodlands of North America by Peter Wohlleben and Jane Billinghurst (Apr. 26, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77164-331-3). Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, teams up with his editor, Billinghurst, to offer a lesson in how to walk through the woods with all five senses engaged.
The Greatest Polar Expedition of All Time: The Arctic Mission to the Epicenter of Climate Change by Markus Rex, trans. by Sarah Pybus (May 17, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-77164-948-3). German researcher Rex tells of his time captaining 2019’s Mosaic expedition, which collected information on the impact climate change is having on the Arctic.
Endless Forms by Seirian Sumner (July 12, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-302992-7) makes a case that wasps are more than just a dangerous version of bees, and are creatures worth respecting and protecting.
The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your World by David Robson (Feb. 15, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-82763-0). Journalist Robson follows up The Intelligence Trap with this look at the science of mentality, covering how one’s outlook impacts outcomes.
Little, Brown Spark
Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods by Lyndsie Bourgon (June 21, $29, ISBN 978-0-316-49744-2). National Geographic explorer Bourgon surveys the logging communities, activists, and Indigenous peoples affected by illegal tree poaching.
I Probably Should’ve Brought a Tent: Misadventures of an Outward Bound Instructor by Erik Shonstrom (June 15, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4930-6056-6). Two decades of outdoor adventures come together in this collection of expedition missteps from wilderness guide Shonstrom.
Before the Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe and What Lies Beyond by Laura Mersini-Houghton (July 19, $27, ISBN 978-1-328-55711-7). The creation of the universe is the subject of this study from theoretical physicist and cosmologist Mersini-Houghton. She investigates what happened before the big bang and the possibility of a multiverse.
Picturing the Mind: Consciousness Through the Lens of Evolution by Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka, illus. by Anna Zeligowski (Feb. 1, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-262-04675-6). Neurobiologist Ginsburg and geneticist Jablonka tackle questions about consciousness and its evolution, make a case that it exists in animals, and wonder about artificial intelligence.
Impact: How Rocks from Space Led to Life, Culture, and Donkey Kong by Greg Brennecka (Feb. 1, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-307892-5). Cosmochemist Brennecka uses meteorites to reveal information about Earth’s past, present, and future.
Into the Forest: The Secret Language of Trees by Susan Hitchcock (Apr. 5, $35, ISBN 978-1-4262-1890-3). Arboreal life take center stage in this collection from National Geographic editor Hitchcock.
Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist by Frans de Waal (Apr. 5, $30, ISBN 978-1-324-00710-4). The primatologist gives his take on gender differences through the lens of evolution.
Ever Green: Saving Big Forests to Save the Planet by John W. Reid and Thomas E. Lovejoy (Mar. 15, $30, ISBN 978-1-324-00603-9). Economist Reid and biologist Lovejoy make a case that protecting Earth’s five largest forests is the best way to preserve biodiversity, and they present methods for doing so.
Virology: Essays for the Living, the Dead, and the Small Things in Between by Joseph Osmundson (June 7, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-393-88136-3) takes a look at such infections as HIV and Covid-19 to investigate how viruses impact culture, politics, and society.
The Joy of Science by Jim Al-Khalili (Apr. 5, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-691-21157-2) covers the scientific method, doubt, bias, and the importance of evidence, all in service of offering readers a guide for good decision-making.
The Whole Truth: A Cosmologist’s Reflections on the Search for Objective Reality by P.J.E. Peebles (June 14, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-691-23135-8). Nobel Prize–winning physicist Peebles muses on his search to find objective reality and asks questions about the nature of physics.
The Phantom Plague: How Tuberculosis Shaped History by Vidya Krishnan (Feb. 1, $27, ISBN 978-1-5417-6846-8). Journalist Krishnan surveys the history of tuberculosis and the impacts the disease has had on society and science.
Otherlands: Journeys in Earth’s Extinct Ecosystems by Thomas Halliday (Feb. 1, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-13288-3) spotlights 16 different fossil types to piece together a history of the planet’s savannahs, oceans, and forests.
Random House Canada
How to Be a Climate Optimist: Blueprints for a Better World by Chris Turner (May 17, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-7352-8197-4). Journalist Turner takes a hopeful approach to the climate crisis, distilling lessons from communities that are taking steps to achieve sustainability.
The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke (Mar. 1, $28, ISBN 978-1-59463-379-9) traces the rise of misunderstood and oft-maligned autoimmune diseases, including long Covid-19, Lyme disease, and chronic fatigue.
There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness by Carlo Rovelli (May 10, $26, ISBN 978-0-593-19215-3). A physicist and author of The Order of Time offers a collection of essays on alchemy, atheism, the cosmos, Einstein, and Nabokov’s work with butterflies and moths, among other topics.
Empire of the Scalpel: The History of Surgery by Ira Rutkow (Mar. 8, $28, ISBN 978-1-5011-6374-6). Surgeon Rutkow recaps groundbreaking developments in the field of surgery starting in the 16th century.
Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America by Megan Kate Nelson (Mar. 1, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-4133-2). After The Three-Cornered War, Nelson looks at America’s first national park and the scientists, explorers, legislators, and Indigenous people who shaped its history.
The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World by Riley Black (Apr. 26, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-27104-4) covers the catastrophe that resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs. Black considers the impact itself, the species that vanished as a result, and the evolutionary developments that came after.
The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth by Ben Rawlence (Feb. 15, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-27023-8). Journalist Rawlence travels to Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, Siberia, and Sweden and observes the trees that live there (and are creeping north due to climate change).
Things You Can Do: How to Fight Climate Change and Reduce Waste by Eduardo Garcia, illus. by Sara Boccaccini Meadows (Apr. 5, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9848-5966-2) expands on Garcia’s New York Times column “One Thing You Can Do,” offering more than 300 changes climate-minded folks can make.
Thames & Hudson
The Universe: A Biography by Paul Murdin (Apr. 19, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-500-02464-5). Astronomer Murdin offers a history of time and space, explaining black holes, dark matter, and galaxies.
First and Wildest: The Gila Wilderness at 100, edited by Elizabeth Hightower Allen (Mar. 1, $21.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-948814-55-3). Interior secretary Deb Haaland, Beto O’Rourke, and poet laureate Joy Harjo are among the contributors featured in this ode to Aldo Leopold’s 1922 trip that resulted in New Mexico’s Gila River becoming America’s first designated wilderness site.
How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going by Vaclav Smil (May 10, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-29706-3). Smil, a professor emeritus in the faculty of environment at the University of Manitoba, digs into the seven aspects of science that make up everyday life, including energy production, food production, and fossil-fuel dependence.
The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People and Planet by Leah Thomas (Mar. 8, $23, ISBN 978-0-316-27929-1). In this crash course in climate change, environmentalist Thomas argues that climate activism and civil rights are inseparable.
Scent: A Natural History of Fragrance by Elise Vernon Pearlstine, illus. by Lara Call Gastinger (May 24, $28, ISBN 978-0-300-24696-4). Biologist and perfumer Pearlstine traces the evolution of fragrant plants alongside the history of humans’ affinities for aromatics.