Taxi From Another Planet: Conversations with Drivers about Life in the Universe by Charles CockellContains: accessible, informative essays inspired by astrobiologist Charles Cockell's conversations with taxi drivers on topics ranging from the rights of microbes to life on Mars to the meaning of existence.
Don't miss: "Are We Exhibits in an Alien Zoo?", "Will Space Be Full of Tyrannies or Free Societies?"
Food for thought: "Taxi drivers are linked into the collective mind of our society in the way that very few of us are. They feel the pulse of human thought."
Mother Brain: How Neuroscience is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood by Chelsea ConaboyThe big idea: There's no such thing as a "maternal instinct" -- anyone who becomes a caregiver, whether or not they physically give birth to their child, is subject to dramatic changes in the brain.
Why you might like it: science journalist Chelsea Conaboy reviews the latest research, interviews parents and medical practitioners, and examines the policy implications of myths and misconceptions about parenthood while reflecting on her own experiences as a mother of two.
The Ransomware Hunting Team: A Band of Misfits' Improbable Crusade to Save the... by Renee Dudley and Daniel GoldenWhat it's about: The "elite, invitation-only society" known as the Ransomware Hunting Team, whose members volunteer their hacking skills to assist victims of cybercrime all over the world.
Why you might like it: This "engrossing underdog story" (Publishers Weekly) by ProPublica tech reporter Renee Dudley and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Daniel Golden (The Price of Admission) examines the growing threat of ransomware by profiling the individuals who fight it.
Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and... by Temple GrandinWhat it's about: autistic animal science professor Temple Grandin (The Autistic Brain) talks about visual thinkers, their unique perspective, and what they can offer the world.
Is it for you? Readers who have recently traded Twitter for Mastodon may feel unsettled by Grandin's praise of billionaire Elon Musk.
You might also like: Camilla Pang's An Outsider's Guide to Humans: What Science Taught Me About What We Do and Who We Are.
The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha MukherjeeUnder the microscope: the tiny but immensely powerful cell, the basic structural unit of all living organisms.
Read it for: an accessible overview of cell biology, as well as a historical survey of cytology, which has spawned numerous fields of study and made possible many modern medical breakthroughs.
About the author: Oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies.
How to Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication by Tom MustillA near-death experience: In 2015, a breaching humpback whale landed on the kayak of nature documentarian Tom Mustill, who subsequently became interested in human-cetacean encounters.
A quest for answers: To better understand his subject, Mustill dove into our shared history with whales, from the bloody past to the more hopeful present, in which scientists use hydrophones, oscilloscopes, and artificial intelligence to decode whale communication.
Did you know? Biologist Roger Payne's 1970 album Songs of the Humpback Whale, a collection of whale song recordings, galvanized the "Save the Whales" movement and helped end commercial whaling?
Fen, Bog, and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the... by Annie ProulxWhat it is: a history of the world's wetlands that explains what they do, why they're in danger, and what this means for the planet.
Why you might like it: In lyrical prose, author Annie Proulx discusses topics including Europe's Iron Age bog bodies, the 16th-century draining of England's fens, the degradation of Canada's Hudson Bay lowlands, and the promise of Georgia's Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Reviewers say: a "powerful indictment of human complicity in environmental destruction" (The Guardian).
Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus by David QuammenWhat it's about: the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the resulting Covid-19 pandemic, and the scientists working feverishly to understand it and control its spread.
What sets it apart: Science journalist David Quammen (Spillover) draws on interviews with more than 100 scientists as he traces the course of the pandemic and explains why we all should have seen it coming.
Book buzz: Breathless is a National Book Award finalist for nonfiction.
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Indianapolis Public Library
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