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 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.
Fen, bog, and swamp: A short history of peatland destruction and its role in the climate crisis 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 U.S. National Book Award finalist for nonfiction.
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