Nature and Science
Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains by Bethany BrookshireThe takeaway: "Pest is all about perspective," explains science journalist and podcaster Bethany Brookshire (Science for the People) in this thought-provoking examination of why we demonize certain animals.
You'll learn: how the rise of cheap supermarket chicken led to flocks of feral urban pigeons; why rats are pests but cats (the leading cause of animal extinction) are pets.
For fans of: Mary Roach's Fuzz, Hal Herzog's Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, or Rob Dunn's Never Home Alone.
How Sex Changed the Internet and the Internet Changed Sex: An Unexpected History by Samantha ColeThe big idea: "The desire to explore and share our sexuality constructed the internet, piece by piece, as we know it today," argues technology journalist Samantha Cole, a senior staff writer for Motherboard.
Why you might like it: This "informative, readable, and entertaining" (Library Journal) chronicle presents a historical overview of milestones in internet technology and online culture while also detailing IRL reactions to them.
Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency by Andy GreenbergFollow the money: Journalist Andy Greenberg (Sandworm) profiles the federal officials, cryptographers, and security experts who trace cryptocurrency transactions to shut down darkweb markets.
You might also like: the thriller-like blend of true crime and technology reporting found in Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden's The Ransomware Hunting Team, or Nick Bilton's American Kingpin.
How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina ImblerWhat it is: a collection of ten essays by science journalist Sabrina Imbler that focuses on marine creatures that live and thrive in hostile environments.
Includes: self-cloning jellyfish, the terrifying sand-striker worms; and self-sacrificing octopus parents.
What sets it apart: Imbler pairs their reflections on being a queer, mixed race person (in a field dominated by white cisgender men) with lyrical observations on distinctive sea creatures.
What the Ear Hears (And Doesn't): Inside the Extraordinary Everyday World of Frequency by Richard MainwaringWhat it's about: Musician Richard Mainwaring examines the science of frequency, which shapes our lives in often surprising ways.
Don't miss: how 23 members of a fitness class nearly brought down a skyscraper in South Korea; how the World War II bombing of Coventry might have been prevented by greater musical knowledge.
Did you know? Cats purr in A-flat.
Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America by Leila PhilipWhat it's about: The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) and its outsized impact on the history, culture, and physical landscape of what is now called the United States.
Why you might like it: Guggenheim fellow and Boston Globe columnist Leila Philip draws on a range of sources, from Algonquian legends to scientific studies, to illuminate the importance of beavers.
Further reading: Ben Goldfarb's Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter and Frances Backhouse's Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver.
Hatching: Experiments in Motherhood and Technology by Jenni QuilterWhat it is: Author Jenni Quilter's "sensitive, politically astute" (Publishers Weekly) history of reproductive technologies, interwoven with her own experiences with infertility and in vitro fertilization.
Is it for you? The history of gynecology, recounted here in well-researched detail, is also the history of white male doctors exploiting and abusing marginalized people, particularly Black and Indigenous women.
For fans of: Belle Boggs' The Art of Waiting.
Butts: A Backstory by Heather RadkeWhat it's about: Reporter and RadioLab contributing editor Heather Radke gets to the bottom of...well, the bottom in this "winning, cheeky, and illuminating" (Washington Post) cultural history.
Why you might like it: This wide-ranging, well-researched book contains a wealth of information, both lighthearted (Victorian "fart parlors," the many musical tributes to the female posterior) and serious (scientific racism, diet culture).
Did you know...? Humans are the only animal with buttocks, and research suggests that it played a key role in our species' evolution.
Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics by Adam RutherfordWhat it's about: Geneticist Adam Rutherford explores the history of eugenics, "a political ideology that was shackled to genetics," from its Victorian origins to its present-day manifestations.
About the author: Rutherford has tackled genetics-influenced pseudoscience before in How to Talk to a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don't) Say About Human Difference.
The Matter of Everything: How Curiosity, Physics, and Improbable Experiments... by Suzie SheehyContains: 12 groundbreaking physics experiments of the 20th century and their far-reaching impact on both our understanding of the universe and our everyday lives.
Read it for: author and physicist Suzie Sheehy's accessible explanations of complex topics, as well as her inclusion of women and people of color whose contributions to science are often overlooked.
For fans of: Brian Clegg's Ten Days In Physics That Shook the World.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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