Innovative means of fighting climate change, humans’ relationships with the natural world, and clever explorations of space headline this season’s science titles.

Top 10

Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America

Leila Philip. Twelve, Dec. 6 ($29, ISBN 978-1-5387-5519-8)

Memoirist Philip makes a case that beavers have played a big role in America’s economy, industry, and expansion, and that the animals just may have some tips on fighting climate change.

Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants

James Vincent. Norton, Nov. 1 ($32.50, ISBN 978-1-324-03585-5)

Verge reporter Vincent takes stock of the ways people have quantified the world, with stops in ancient Egypt for a look at how the Nile was measured and France during the revolution, when the metric system was born.

Birds and Us: A 12,000-Year History from Cave Art to Conservation

Tim Birkhead. Princeton Univ., Aug. 9 ($35, ISBN 978-0-691-23992-7)

Birkhead, an ornithologist, outlines humans’ relationship with birds over time, from Neolithic stone markings through Leonardo da Vinci’s fascination with woodpecker tongues to modern conservation efforts.

Fen, Bog and Swamp

Annie Proulx. Scribner, Sept. 27 ($26.99, ISBN 978-1-982173-35-7)

Pulitzer winner Proulx digs into the world’s wetlands in this survey, emphasizing how important the ecosystems are to the planet’s health.

The Future Is Now: Solving the Climate Crisis with Today’s Technologies

Bob McDonald. Viking, Sept. 27 ($24.95, ISBN 978-0-7352-4194-7)

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter McDonald debuts with a look at the technology that’s making waves in the fight against climate change.

The Matter of Everything: How Curiosity, Physics, and Improbable Experiments Changed the World

Suzie Sheehy. Knopf, Jan. 10 ($30, ISBN 978-0-525-65875-7)

Physicist Sheehy walks readers through experiments that have changed the world, taking in X-rays, cosmic photographs, and devices that detect volcanic activity, among other discoveries.

The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy

Moiya McTier. Grand Central, Aug. 16 ($27, ISBN 978-1-5387-5415-3)

McTier, an astrophysicist and folklorist, gives the Milky Way its own point of view in her look at the galaxy, its history, and its future, as told from its imagined perspective.

Nineteen Ways of Looking at Consciousness

Patrick House. St. Martin’s, Oct. 11 ($26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-15117-9)

Neuroscientist House delivers a study of the modern understanding of consciousness that references philosophy, video games, and literature.

Taxi from Another Planet: Conversations with Drivers About Life in the Universe

Charles S. Cockell. Harvard Univ., Aug. 30 ($26.95, ISBN 978-0-674-27183-8)

Conversations with cabbies are a jumping off point for big questions about space in this amusing outing from astrobiologist Cockell, which our review called “a joy to read.”

Walking with Gorillas: Tales of an African Wildlilfe Vet

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. Arcade, Nov. 1 ($29.99, ISBN 978-1-950994-26-7)

Wildlife vet Kalema-Zikusoka traces her love of animals from her youth in Uganda to her work protecting gorillas from Covid-19, making a case that human and animal health are intertwined.



The Primacy of Doubt: From Quantum Physics to Climate Change, How the Science of Uncertainty Can Help Us Understand Our Chaotic World by Tim Palmer (Oct. 18, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-1971-5) makes a case that to know more about climate change, the brain, and physics, it’s crucial to understand uncertainty.

The Self Delusion: The New Neuroscience of How We Invent—and Reinvent—Our Identities by Gregory Berns (Oct. 18, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-0229-8). Neuroscientist Berns follows up What It’s Like to Be a Dog with this look at how self-identity is constructed.


Unsettling: Surviving Extinction Together by Elizabeth Weinberg (Oct. 18, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-5064-8205-7) examines climate change in racial, colonial, sexist contexts, and tours America’s changing landscapes.

Coach House

What You Won’t Do for Love: A Conversation by David Suzuki et al. (Sept. 6, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-55245-454-1) is a collection of conversations about climate change between scientist Suzuki; his wife and climate organizer Tara Cullis; artist Miriam Fernandes; and her husband, Sturla.

Columbia Univ.

Greenhouse Planet: How Rising CO2 Changes Plants and Life as We Know It by Lewis H. Ziska (Nov. 1, $25, ISBN 978-0-231-20670-9). Biologist Ziska explains how carbon dioxide affects different types of plants, busting myths and tackling misinformation as he does so.

Duke Univ.

Vanishing Sands: Losing Beaches to Mining by
Orrin H. Pilkey et al. (Dec. 2, $25.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4780-1879-7) explores the impact that sand mining has had on ecosystems in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and North America, and issues a call to stop such practices.


The Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion by Sean Carroll (Sept. 20, $23, ISBN 978-0-593-18658-9) dives deep into modern physics for lay readers.

The Neuroscience of You: How Every Brain Is Different and How to Understand Yours by Chantel Prat (Aug. 2, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4660-5). Prat, a professor in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Washington, takes a look at what makes people’s brains different from each other’s and encourages appreciating such differences.


Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains by Bethany Brookshire (Dec. 6, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-309725-4) investigates why some creatures are deemed “pests” while others are adored, and what that says about humans.


Dinner on Mars: The Technologies That Will Feed the Red Planet and Transform Agriculture on Earth by Lenore Newman and Evan D.G. Fraser (Oct. 11, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77041-662-8). Two food scientists approach space travel from a culinary perspective, delving into what humans might eat on the Red Planet.


Too Big for a Single Mind: How the Greatest Generation of Physicists Uncovered the Quantum World by Tobias Hürter (Oct. 11, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-61519-920-4) highlights the work Marie Curie, Max Planck, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Ernst Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, and others did together to shake up physics and introduce quantum mechanics, arguing that the field’s discovery was a collaborative effort.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us by Rachel Aviv (Sept. 13, $28, ISBN 978-0-374-60084-6). The staff writer at the New Yorker debuts with a consideration of how people understand mental illness and themselves, profiling people who have been variously diagnosed and drawing on her own experience having been hospitalized.

Grand Central

Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure by Bryn Nelson (Sept. 13, $29, ISBN 978-1-5387-2002-8). Microbiologist Nelson digs into what human waste can reveal about medicine and environmental health.

How to Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication by Tom Mustill
(Sept. 6, $29, ISBN 978-1-5387-3911-2). Nature documentarian Mustill explores how animals communicate and the research being done in the field in this account inspired by his experience having a whale crash into a kayak he was paddling.


The Alpha Female Wolf: The Fierce Legacy of Yellowstone’s 06 by Rick McIntyre (Oct. 25, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-77164-858-5). This installment in the Wolves of Yellowstone series centers on the role female wolves play in packs and follows multiple generations of females in the species to demonstrate how their intelligence is pivotal to the animals’ survival.

Nature’s Wild Ideas:
How the Natural World
Is Inspiring Scientific Innovation
by Kristy Hamilton (Oct. 4, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-77164-819-6) suggests that groundbreaking innovations often have roots in the natural world: lobsters inspired space X-rays, lizards influenced research on diabetes medicine, and corals taught scientists about cement manufacturing emissions.

Harvard Univ.

Minding the Climate: How Neuroscience Can Help Solve Our Environmental Crisis by Ann-Christine Duhaime
(Oct. 18, $35, ISBN 978-0-674-24772-7). Neurosurgeon Duhaime examines how people respond to climate change and argues that the brain’s flexibility can be used to change the ways people respond to the crisis.


Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood by Chelsea Conaboy (Sept. 13, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-76228-3). Pulitzer-winning journalist Conaboy debuts with an examination of
what goes on in someone’s brain after having a child, explaining hormonal shifts in new mothers and fathers, taking to task the notion of a “maternal instinct,” and arguing that such changes should be more central to stories about new parenthood.

Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization by Neil deGrasse Tyson (Sept. 20, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-86150-4) makes a case that polarizing debates can be tempered with a two-pronged approach: a sense of the scale of the cosmos, and an understanding of science’s rationality.


Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide by Bill McGuire (Oct. 18, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-78578-920-5) works from the assumption that it’s too late to stop
the planet from warming 1.5 degrees Celsius, offering a guide to the world that’s to come.


Time to Think Small: How Nimble Environ-mental Technologies Can Solve the Planet’s Biggest Problems by Todd Myers (Nov. 1, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-62354-554-3) probes how personal technology can be leveraged in the fight against climate change.


A Poison Like No Other: How Microplastics Corrupted Our Planet and Our Bodies by Matt Simon (Oct. 27, $30, ISBN 978-1-64283-235-8). Wired journalist Simon outlines how pervasive microplastics are and draws attention to them as a large-scale health threat.

Little, Brown

If Nietzsche Were a Narwhal: What Animal Intelligence Reveals About Human Stupidity by Justin Gregg (Aug. 9, $29, ISBN 978-0-316-38806-1). In what PW’s review called a “wonderfully accessible and charmingly narrated” survey of animal behavior, animal scientist Gregg wonders if human intelligence is all its chalked up to be and considers the intricacies of animal behavior.


Curious Minds: The Power of Connection by Perry Zurn and Dani S. Bassett (Sept. 6, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-262-04703-6) draws from poetry, essays, and science to examine what curiosity is.

Methuselah’s Zoo: What Nature Can Teach Us about Living Longer, Healthier Lives by Steven N. Austad (Aug. 16, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-262-04709-8). Austad, a biology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, explores some creatures that have long life spans—including sharks, whales, and birds—and wonders what humans might learn from them.

New York Univ.

The Creative Lives of Animals by Carol Gigliotti (Nov. 22, $30, ISBN 978-1-4798-1544-9) posits that
creativity exists in the animal kingdom, from elephants to ants.


Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides by Geoffrey L. Cohen (Sept. 13, $30, ISBN 978-1-324-00618-3). A psychology professor at Stanford Univ-
ersity, Cohen charts the negative effects that can occur when people lack a sense of belonging and offers steps to mitigate them.

A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease by Shilpa Ravella (Oct. 11, $30, ISBN 978-0-393-54190-8). Gastroenterologist Ravella debuts with a history of inflammation that busts myths about one size fits all solutions.


How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon: The Story of the 19th-Century Innovators Who Forged Our Future by Iwan Rhys Morus (Nov. 1, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-63936-260-8). Science historian Morus offers an account of science in the Victorian age that covers the work of Charles Babbage, George Cayley, and Nikola Tesla, among others.

Princeton Univ.

Back to the Moon: The Next Giant Leap for Humankind by Joseph Silk (Nov. 1, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-691-21523-5). Humans’ exploration of the moon is anything but over, argues astrophysicist Silk, suggesting it should be at the forefront of space programs once more.

The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology Is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Animals and Plants by Karen Bakker (Oct. 18, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-20628-8) listens in on the animal world and follows the scientists who are creating dictionaries of whale and elephant languages, the effects of noise pollution, and the way technology is enabling a deeper understanding of bee communication.


Evolution Talk: The Who, What, Why, and How Behind the Oldest Story Ever Told by Rick Coste (Oct. 15, $21.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63388-834-0) brings Coste’s podcast of the same name to the page in this survey of the thinkers behind the modern understanding of evolution.


Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions by Temple Grandin (Oct. 11, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-41836-9). Grandin follows up Thinking in Pictures with this investigation of visual thinking, explaining how it works, why it’s great for problem-solving, and what it’s like to think visually in a world made for verbal learning.


The Song of the Cell: The Transformation of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Oct. 25, $32.50, ISBN 978-1-982117-35-1). Pulitzer winner Mukherjee offers a history of humans’ knowledge of the cell, tracing the impact of Hooke and Leeuwenhoek’s 17th-century discovery up through modern medicine.

Simon & Schuster

Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus by David Quammen (Oct. 4, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-982164-36-2) compiles interviews with scientists and virologists for a deep dive into Covid-19, revisiting its origins, science’s response to the outbreak, and the development of the vaccine.


What the Ear Hears (and Doesn’t): Inside the Extraordinary Everyday World of Frequency by Richard Mainwaring (Dec. 27, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-72825-936-9). Musician Mainwaring breaks down sound frequencies and shows how they impact medicine and the environment.

Univ. of Chicago

Chasing Plants: Journeys with a Botanist Through Rainforests, Swamps, and Mountains by Chris Thorogood (Sept. 12, $27.50, ISBN 978-0-226-82353-9). Botanist Thorogood takes readers to Europe, Africa, and Asia in this globe-trotting survey of the world’s plants, which is full of his own illustrations.

The Hidden Universe: Adventures in Biodiversity by Alexandre Antonelli (Sept. 12, $22, ISBN 978-0-226-82187-0) homes in on what biodiversity is, why it’s a key part of climate change, and why it’s worth preserving.

Univ. of Florida

The Surprising Lives of Bark Beetles: Mighty Foresters of the Insect World by Jiri Hulcr and Marc Abrahams (Sept. 6, $26.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68340-263-3). Entomologist Hulcr and journalist Abrahams set up bark beetles as charming, smart, and understudied.


Existential Physics: A Scientist’s Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions by Sabine Hossenfelder (Aug. 9, $28, ISBN 978-1-984879-45-5). A physicist at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Physics, Hossenfelder considers what science has to say about the afterlife, whether particles have consciousness, and the existence of free will, among other topics.

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