The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization by Vince BeiserWhat it is: the story of sand. (Yes, sand.)
Why you should read it: From concrete to glass to computer chips, sand is the "literal foundation of modern civilization."
Fun fact: Due to increasing demand and dwindling supply, there now exists a black market for sand, run by ruthless sand cartels who control the supply to industry.
The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves by Eric R. KandelWhat it's about: Bridging psychology and neuroscience, this illuminating book reveals what we can learn about human cognition by studying brain disorders.
Includes: discussions of autism, mood disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, PTSD, and addiction, to name just a few.
About the author: Eric R. Kandel is a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist.
The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David QuammenWhat it's about: molecular phylogenetics, which uses biopolymers (DNA, RNA, and proteins) to study the evolutionary history of organisms and determine relationships between species.
Contains: three "big surprises" that will make you rethink your understanding of evolution: the domain of Archaea, the process of horizontal gene transfer, and a probable ancestor of humans previously unknown to science.
Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis LangWhat it is: a thought-provoking examination of the long-standing relationship between science and the military-industrial complex, with a special focus on astrophysics and the aerospace industry.
Who it's for: readers interested in the intersection of science, industry, and politics; anyone who wonders what the proposed U.S. Space Force might look like.
Author alert: Well-known astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson teams up with longtime editor and frequent collaborator Avis Lang for this eye-opening book.
The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors by David George HaskellWhat it is: a fascinating literary tour of 12 trees from all over the world, ranging from a Callery pear in New York City to a ceibo tree in the Amazon rainforest.
About the author: David George Haskell is a professor of biology and environmental studies, as well as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Forest Unseen.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John VaillantInquiring minds want to know: What prompted a logger-turned-activist to cut down the world's only giant golden spruce tree?
What it's about: Expanding on an article he wrote for the New Yorker, author John Vaillant recounts the destruction of K'iid K'iyaas, a centuries-old Sitka spruce with unusual golden needles located in British Columbia's Haida Gwaii archipelago.
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a... by Peter Wohlleben; translated by Jane BillinghurstDid you know? Trees have families and friends, memories, sophisticated communication systems, and even the ability to feel pain.
Why you might like it: Without sacrificing scientific accuracy, author Peter Wohlleben enchants readers with combination of lyrical vignettes and anecdotes about his experiences as a forester in Germany.
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