Down from the mountain: The life and death of a grizzly bear by Bryce AndrewsWho is she? Millie, a 500-pound grizzly sow (and mother of two cubs) from Montana's Mission Valley.
What does she want? Corn! Montana's grizzly bear population is addicted to the crop, which lures them from their isolated habitats into more populous areas, resulting in conflicts with local farmers.
You might also like: Nate Blakeslee's American Wolf, which similarly explores tensions between humans and wildlife by recounting the life and death of a charismatic animal.
Why you like it: The science and culture of musical taste by Nolan GasserWhat it's about: the science of music (what it is) and the sociology of musical taste (why we like what we like and what it says about us).
About the author: Musicologist Nolan Gasser is the architect of Pandora’s Music Genome Project.
Is it for you? Readers with some background in music theory or practice will get the most out of this eclectic and comprehensive book.
|The secret life of genes : Decoding the blueprint of life by Derek HarveyThe Secret Life of Genes is the story of genetic science and how it makes each of us unique. It spans the discovery of the gene and the all-encompassing role it plays in biology: from controlling the inner workings of cells and the development of embryos, through patterns of inheritance, to the evolution of new forms of life.
Sprout lands: Tending the endless gift of trees by William Bryant LoganWhat it is: an arborist's lyrical examination of the lost arts of coppicing and pollarding, tree pruning techniques that once formed the basis of a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and trees.
What sets it apart: the author's travels to California, Japan, Norway, and the Basque country to learn firsthand about traditional forest management practices.
For fans of: Peter Wohlleben's The Hidden Life of Trees.
Infinite powers: How calculus reveals the secrets of the universe by Steven StrogatzWhat it is: an applied mathematician's surprisingly accessible guide to calculus, which outlines its basic concepts while recounting its history.
Food for thought: "If anything deserves to be called the secret of the universe, calculus is it."
You might also like: Mathematician Amir Alexander's similarly engaging Infinitesimal, which also explores a world-changing concept.
Homo Deus: A brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah HarariThe big question: So now that we've mitigated the effects of famine, plague, and war, what's next for human beings?
About the author: Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari is the author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
Is it for you? Believers in the march of human progress should be aware that Home Deus forecasts several possible futures for our species, most of them downright dystopian.
Human errors: A panorama of our glitches, from pointless bones to broken genes by Nathan H. LentsWhat it is: an offbeat and entertaining catalogue of the design flaws and anatomical oddities of the human body, courtesy of natural selection.
Such as? Knees ill-adapted to bipedal locomotion; DNA riddled with errors, redundancies, and extraneous material; and reproductive processes as scattershot as they are hazardous...to name just a few.
Words of wisdom: "Evolution is a constant game of trade-offs. Most innovations come at a cost."
Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst by Robert M. SapolskyWhat it is: an interdisciplinary study of human behaviour by neurobiologist and primatologist Robert Sapolsky.
What it does: Behave explores human behaviour by taking a single (re)action and examining what's going on in the brain and body in the seconds, minutes, hours, days, and even years before it occurs.
Don't miss: the author's top ten strategies for reducing violence in our species.
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