The Mission: or: How a Disciple of Carl Sagan, an Ex-Motocross Racer, a Texas Tea Party... by David W. BrownWhat it is: an "extensively researched, humorous, raucous, dramatic, and pop-culture- and science-fiction-laced" (Booklist) chronicle of NASA’s quest to launch a fly-by mission to Jupiter's moon Europa.
Think: Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff meets Alan Stern and David Grinspoon's Chasing New Horizons.
Did you know? Author David W. Brown spent seven years interviewing the scientists, engineers, lawmakers, and NASA administrators profiled in this character-driven account.
The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal about Aliens... by Arik KershenbaumWhat it's about: Cambridge zoologist Arik Kershenbaum draws on Earth's evolutionary history to speculate about what forms extraterrestrial life might take.
You might also like: Imagined Life by James Trefil and Michael Summers, in which a pair of astronomers discuss what chemistry and physics can tell us about the potential for life on other planets.
Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan KrossWhat it's about: an experimental psychologist examines the science behind "the most important conversations of our lives: the ones we have with ourselves."
Read it for: the practical tips on how to harness the positive aspects of "chatter" while minimizing the adverse effects of negative self-talk on mental health.
An Anatomy of Pain: How the Body and the Mind Experience and Endure Physical Suffering by Dr. Abdul-Ghaaliq LalkhenWhat it is: an anesthesiologist's comprehensive multidisciplinary exploration of the science of pain, from the neurobiological mechanisms of pain, to the history of analgesics, to the pros and cons of current chronic pain treatments.
Food for thought: "With renewed knowledge and understanding, we can become active participants in caring, understanding, and coping with an experience that can become all-consuming."
Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age by Annalee NewitzWhat it does: explores four so-called "lost" (abandoned) cities and analyzes their "common point of failure" (political instability plus environmental disaster) while exploring the origins of this enduring trope.
Includes: the Neolithic Anatolian settlement of Çatalhöyük; the Roman town of Pompeii; Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire; and Cahokia, North America's largest city prior to European invasion.
About the author: Annalee Newitz is a journalist and science fiction writer who co-hosts the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct with novelist Charlie Jane Anders.
Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs by Ina ParkWhat it's about: Dr. Ina Park, a physician, public health researcher, and self-proclaimed "Lorax of pubic hair," educates readers about sexually transmitted infections.
For fans of: the humor and enthusiasm of Mary Roach.
Reviewers say: "Compassion, science and a loving playfulness are the ultimate recipe for defusing stigma" (The New York Times).
This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race by Nicole PerlrothWhat it is: an "intricately detailed, deeply sourced and reported" (New York Times) exposé of the underground cyberarms industry -- and the critical role the United States played in creating it.
About the author: Nicole Perlroth is a journalist who covers cybersecurity for The New York Times.
Try these next: Andy Greenberg's Sandworm; Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake's The Fifth Domain; Kim Zetter's Countdown to Zero Day.
The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-WeinsteinMeet: theoretical physicist Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, who researches the origins of spacetime and is one of fewer than 100 Black women to earn a PhD in physics.
What sets it apart: Dr. Prescod-Weinstein presents an accessible introduction to cosmology alongside an examination of the social context of science, with particular emphasis on race and gender.
The Bears Ears: A Human History of America's Most Endangered Wilderness by David RobertsWelcome to: the Bears Ears National Monument, 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah sacred to the Hopi, Navajo, Ute, and Zuni peoples, and the focus of an ongoing battle between mining companies and environmental activists.
Further reading: archaeologist R.E. Burillo's Behind the Bears Ears: Exploring the Cultural and Natural Histories of a Sacred Landscape, Rebecca Robinson's beautifully illustrated Voices from Bears Ears: Seeking Common Ground on Sacred Land.
The Loneliest Polar Bear: A True Story of Survival and Peril on the Edge of a Warming... by Kale WilliamsIntroducing: Nora, the first surviving polar bear cub at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; and the "Nora Moms," a team of zoo employees that hand-raised the cub against steep odds after her mother abandoned her.
Media buzz: The Loneliest Polar Bear originated as a five-part multimedia story in The Oregonian.
You might also like: James Raffan's Ice Walker, which vividly depicts a polar bear family's struggle to survive in a world imperiled by climate change.
Contact your librarian for more great books!