Reckonings with climate change loom large in this season’s crop, alongside probes into big data, bias in STEM, art’s effects on the body, and perfume.
Allergic: Our Irritated Bodies in a Changing World
Theresa MacPhail. Random House, May 30 ($28.99, ISBN 978-0-593-22919-4)
Anthropologist MacPhail traces the science of allergies from 1819 to the present, delving into why they occur and what can be done at the societal level to alleviate them.
Climate: A Lost History
Peter Frankopan. Knopf, Apr. 18 ($35, ISBN 978-0-525-65916-7)
Historian Frankopan explains how climatic events throughout history have affected the fates of civilizations, including the devastation wrought by El Niños on the South American Moche and Icelandic volcanic eruptions on the Ottoman empire. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions
Edited by Greta Thunberg. Penguin Press, Feb. 14 ($30, ISBN 978-0-593-49230-7)
Climate activist Thunberg brings together the perspectives of experts on what a warming planet might look like and how to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Fancy Bear Goes Phishing: The Dark History of the Information Age, in Five Extraordinary Hacks
Scott J. Shapiro. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 23 ($30, ISBN 978-0-374-60117-1)
Yale Law School professor Shapiro uses stories of famous hacks to point out the social factors driving cybercrime. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
How Data Happened: A History from the Age of Reason to the Age of Algorithms
Chris Wiggins and Matthew L. Jones. Norton, Mar. 21 ($30, ISBN 978-1-324-00673-2)
Columbia University professors Wiggins and Jones explain the uses and abuses of data throughout history, including in the first U.S. census and in Victorian era eugenics.
Invisibility: The History and Science of How Not to Be Seen
Gregory J. Gbur. Yale Univ., Apr. 11 ($30, ISBN 978-0-300-25042-8)
Optical physicist Gbur explains the scientific developments that have brought invisibility into the realm of reality.
More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech
Meredith Broussard. MIT, Mar. 14 ($26.95, ISBN 978-0-262-04765-4)
Combining sociological analysis with computer science, data scientist Broussard exposes how the designs of technological systems and devices perpetuate bias.
On the Origin of Time: Stephen Hawking’s Final Theory
Thomas Hertog. Bantam, Mar. 28 ($28.99, ISBN 978-0-593-12844-2)
Stephen Hawking collaborator Hertog lays out the quantum theory of the universe that the two had been working on before Hawking’s death, proposing that the laws of physics can evolve.
Selfless: The Social Creation of “You”
Brian Lowery. Harper, Mar. 28 ($24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-291300-5)
Social psychologist Lowery argues that the self is a social construct determined by one’s interactions with others and one’s environment. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began
Leah Hazard. Ecco, Mar. 7 ($28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-315762-0)
Midwife Hazard examines the uterus from the perspectives of lawmakers and doctors—medical and nontraditional—and offers dispatches on smart tampons, external gestation, and medical racism in reproductive healthcare. 125,000-copy announced first printing.
Beastly: The 40,000-Year Story of Animals and Us by Keggie Carew (July 18, $28, ISBN 978-1-4197-6703-6) chronicles how animals from honeybees to dairy cows have figured into humanity’s history and encourages readers to see themselves as part of the same community as nonhuman animals.
The Other Family Doctor: A Veterinarian Explores What Animals Can Teach Us About Love, Life, and Mortality by Karen Fine (Mar. 14, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-46689-6) draws life lessons from the author’s career as a veterinarian treating potbellied pigs, ferrets, and feral cats.
Where We Meet the World: The Story of the Senses by Ashley Ward (Mar. 28, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-0085-0). Biologist Ward digs into the evolution of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and balance, comparing human perceptions to how animals experience the world.
The Irresistible Attraction of Gravity: A Journey to Discover Black Holes by Luciano Rezzolla (Mar. 2, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-00-919875-2) explores the physics and oddities of gravity from Einstein’s theory of relativity to black holes and gravitational waves.
The (Big) Year That Flew By: Twelve Months, Six Continents, and the Ultimate Birding Record by Arjan Dwarshuis (Mar. 9, $22 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64502-191-9) details the author’s successful attempt to set the record for most birds spotted in a year, a quest that spanned six continents and 40 countries.
The Curious History of the Heart: A Cultural and Scientific Journey by Vincent M. Figueredo (Apr. 4, $30, ISBN 978-0-231-20818-5) offers a cultural and scientific history of the heart, including its iconography and significance as an artistic metaphor.
Every Brain Needs Music: The Neuroscience of Making and Listening to Music by Larry S. Sherman and Dennis Plies, illus. by Susi B. Davis (May 16, $32, ISBN 978-0-231-20910-6). Neuroscientist Sherman and jazz musician Plies detail the neuroscience involved in composing, improvising, and listening to music.
Psych: The Story of the Human Mind by Paul Bloom (Feb. 28, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-309635-6) adapts the psychologist’s Yale course on the subject, offering a primer on psychology and how it can inform moral and political problems. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
When the Heavens Went on Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach by Ashlee Vance (May 9, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-06-299887-3) follows Vance’s Elon Musk with a journalistic account of how Silicon Valley set its sights on space. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America by Audrey Clare Farley (June 13, $29,
ISBN 978-1-5387-2447-7) uncovers the story of quadruplets, all diagnosed with schizophrenia, whose idyllic family life belied a darker truth. 30,000-copy announced first printing.
Secret Life of the City: How Nature Thrives in the Urban Wild by Hanna Hagen Bjørgaas, trans. by Matt Bagguley (Apr. 25, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-77164-935-3), explores the birds, insects, plants, and fungi that populate urban ecosystems.
More Numbers Every Day: How Data, Stats, and Figures Control Our Lives and How to Set Ourselves Free by Micael Dahlen and Helge Thorbjørnsen (Mar. 14, $28, ISBN 978-0-306-83084-6) warns of the dangers of the modern world’s proclivity for the quantification of everything from calorie intake to friends.
Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration by Rebecca Heisman (Mar. 14, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-316114-6) tells the stories of the scientists who discovered the biological mechanisms that guide birds’ migratory flights. 60,000-copy announced first printing.
In Search of Perfumes by Dominique Roques, trans. by Stephanie Smee (May 2, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-329795-1), takes an anthropological dive into how such plants as roses, tonka beans, and vanilla beans have been cultivated for use in perfumes. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
Elixir: A Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life by Theresa Levitt (Apr. 18, $32.95, ISBN 978-0-674-25089-5) details the quest of two 19th-century chemists working for a perfume company who set out to prove the difference between naturally occurring and synthetic molecules, in the process complicating the scientific understanding of life.
Equity for Women in Science: Dismantling Systemic Barriers to Advancement by Cassidy R. Sugimoto and Vincent Larivière (Mar. 21, $35, ISBN 978-0-674-91929-7) reports the findings in the authors’ analysis of how institutional factors exacerbate the gender gap in scientific fields.
What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories, and Personalities of Bees by Stephen Buchmann (Mar. 7, $30, ISBN 978-1-64283-124-5). Entomologist Buchmann shines a light on how bees perceive and navigate the world.
The Story of Flowers: And How They Changed the Way We Live by Noel Kingsbury, illus. by Charlotte Day (Mar. 7, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-85782-920-7), profiles 100 flower species, including their historical uses and artistic symbolism.
Fire Weather: A True Story of Survival and Community in Our New Century of Fire by John Vaillant (May 9, $30, ISBN 978-1-5247-3285-1) offers a narrative account of the destruction inflicted by a forest fire on the city of Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada, using residents’ stories as a warning about climate change. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Fires in the Dark: Healing the Mind, the Oldest Branch of Medicine by Kay Redfield Jamison (May 23, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-65717-0) looks at the historical relationship between healers and the people who are today called psychiatric patients. 35,000-copy announced first printing.
Edison’s Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History’s Greatest Geniuses by Katie Spalding (May 16, $29, ISBN 978-0-316-52952-5) takes a lighthearted tour of the missteps of scientific heavyweights, including Thomas Edison’s so-called phone to heaven and the time Isaac Newton temporarily blinded himself after studying the sun without eye protection.
Slime: A Natural History by Susanne Wedlich, trans. by Ayca Turkoglu (Feb. 28, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-68589-020-9), presents a cultural and scientific chronicle of the historical uses and applications of natural slime.
Chasing Shadows: My Life Tracking the Great White Shark by Greg Skomal (July 11, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-309083-5) details the author’s efforts to study Great White sharks and explores their resurgence.
The Secret Lives of Numbers: An Unauthorized History of Mathematics by Tomoko Kitagawa and Timothy Revell (Mar. 21, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-320605-2) presents a revisionist take on math’s history that highlights the contributions of marginalized scholars.
Planta Sapiens: The New Science of Plant Intelligence by Paco Calvo (Mar. 14, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-393-88108-0) suggests that plants may possess a kind of “sentience,” based on research showing that they can communicate, learn, and remember.
The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality by Andy Clark (May 2, $29, ISBN 978-1-5247-4845-6) argues that mental expectations play a large role in determining how individuals perceive and behave in the world.
The Transcendent Brain: Spirituality in the Age of Science by Alan Lightman (Mar. 14, $25, ISBN 978-0-593-31741-9) aims to reconcile the materialist perspective that attributes all mental phenomena to brain chemistry with a spiritual perspective that claims such experiences as love and wonder cannot be reduced to neurology.
Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones by Hettie Judah (Mar. 7, $22, ISBN 978-0-14-313741-2) tells the stories of 60 stones and their roles in cultural history, including the gems that decorated the bodices of Catherine the Great and Maltese limestone temples.
The Liars of Nature and the Nature of Liars: Cheating and Deception in the Living World by Lixing Sun (Apr. 4, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-19860-6) profiles the liars of the natural world, including possums, crows, cells, and microscopic organisms.
Period: The Real Story of Menstruation by Kate Clancy (Apr. 18, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-691-19131-7) outlines the science of menstruation and corrects common misconceptions about periods.
The Ghost Forest: Racists, Radicals, and Real Estate in the California Redwoods by Greg King (June 6, $32, ISBN 978-1-5417-6867-3). Journalist King details the economic pressures that resulted in cutting down most of the redwood ecosystem and chronicles his efforts to preserve what remains.
If It Sounds Like a Quack...: A Journey to the Fringes of American Medicine by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling (Apr. 4, $29, ISBN 978-1-5417-8887-9) investigates the rise of the “medical freedom” movement that seeks government recognition for dubious healing practices that include leeches and aerosol spray that allegedly turns people into zombies.
Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross (Mar. 21, $30, ISBN 978-0-593-44923-3) surveys the ways in which creating and viewing or listening to art affects the brain and body.
Travelers to Unimaginable Lands by Dasha Kiper (Mar. 28, $28, ISBN 978-0-399-59053-5) describes case studies of people with Alzheimer’s disease and examines the complexities associated with caring for these individuals.
Wind: Nature and Culture by Louise M. Pryke (July 13, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78914-720-9) examines the role wind plays in nature and explores its symbolic significance in myth and art.
Anaximander and the Birth of Science by Carlo Rovelli (Feb. 28, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-593-54236-1). Physicist Rovelli suggests the ideas of Greek philosopher Anaximander played a significant role in bringing about modern science’s focus on natural rather than supernatural causes.
The Universe in a Box: Simulations and the Quest to Code the Cosmos by Andrew Pontzen (June 13, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-33048-7) explains how scientists are using computer simulations to model and test theories about the universe.
The Science of Spin: How Rotational Forces Affect Everything from Your Body to Jet Engines to the Weather by Roland Ennos (July 18, $29, ISBN 978-1-982196-52-3) looks at how spin shapes the world, including the solar system, the climate, and the wheel.
Simon & Schuster
The Magick of Physics by Felix Flicker (Mar. 21, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-98217-060-8). The theoretical physicist contends that modern physics is a type of magic as he explores some of its more out-there theoretical applications, such as quantum computing and invisibility cloaks.
A Wing and a Prayer by Anders and Beverly Gyllenhaal (Apr. 18, $30, ISBN 978-1-98218-455-1) highlights the efforts of scientists to reverse the decline in the populations of all species of North American birds over the past 50 years.
Presence: The Strange Science and True Stories of the Unseen Other by Ben Alderson-Day (Mar. 28, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-27825-8) draws on psychology and neuroscience to explain the feeling that one is being watched when there’s no one there.
The Wise Hours: A Journey into the Wild and Secret World of Owls by Miriam Darlington (Feb. 7, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-953534-83-5) chronicles the author’s travels across Europe to study owls in their natural habitats.
The Cat’s Meow: How Cats Evolved from the Savanna to Your Sofa by Jonathan B. Losos (May 2, $28, ISBN 978-1-984878-70-0). Evolutionary biologist Losos uses GPS tracking and forensic archaeology to study the evolution of felines and the behavior of modern house cats.