e-newsletter offers news of book reviews published in
and around the Web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.
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American Scientist, May–June 2014
How We Do It: The Evolution and Future of Human Reproduction
by Robert Martin
A primatologist takes on the subject of how human reproduction and child rearing evolved, comparing human evolution with that of our primate cousins and showing how misguided (and at times colorful) research has complicated our understanding of reproductive science. Martin goes on to discuss current practices in human communities, evaluating them in this evolutionary light. Review by Katie L. Burke.
The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty, and Joy of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet
by Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut
We all know better than to judge a book by its (very snazzy) cover. In this case, however, it’s completely fair to judge a book by its subtitle. Intriguingly ambitious and richly illustrated, The Secret Language of Color takes stock of cultural, artistic, and psychological aspects of hues along the visible spectrum. Alternating chapters examine the nature and influence of color within the disciplines of physics, chemistry, geology, biology, and astronomy. Review by Dianne Timblin.
Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
by Patricia Newman
This lively book, intended for kids grades 2 through 6, takes as its topic the plastic floating in the North Pacific Gyre, and follows three marine researchers as they go about their work in that region, sharing their discoveries along the way. Striking, memorable photographs by Annie Crawley illuminate the plastic’s extensive environmental impact. Review by Katie-Leigh Corder.
Off the Table
Here we feature a selection of reviews and other science books content from around the Web.
New York Times
on big data in a combined review of Patrick Tucker’s
The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move?
and Alex Pentlands’s
Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread—The Lessons from a New Science.
San Francisco Chronicle
reviewer and third-generation beekeeper Meredith May
My Adventures with Bumblebees, by scientist and Bumblebee Conservation Trust founder Dave Goulson, alongside
The Bees, a novel by Laline Paull.
The NPR health blog
The Drinkable Book, an educational text with an innovative twist. In addition to providing tips about water safety, the book itself is a tool that puts potable water within reach: Each page of the book can be used as a water filter that uses silver nanoparticles to kill disease-bearing microbes.
New York Review of Books, Jerome Groopman reviews a
of recent texts about the workings of human memory:
I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia, by Su Meck, with Daniel de Visé;
Memory: From Mind to Molecules, by Larry R. Squire and Eric R. Kandel;
Madness and Memory: The Discovery of Prions—A New Biological Principle of Disease, by Stanley B. Prusiner;
The Alzheimer Conundrum: Entanglements of Dementia and Aging, by Margaret Lock; and
The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia, by David Stuart MacLean.
E. O. Wilson’s
A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park, describing it as “a big story about a small place.” The May—June issue of
an excerpt from the book.
the universe and its intellectual history in his review of Mary-Jane Rubenstein’s
Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse.
New York Times
Cured, by Nathalia Holt, and discusses the complexity of distinguishing anomalies and finding functional cures for disease.
Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power, by Sylvia Sumira, for a spin in
blog. An accompanying gallery features images from the book, including several of pocket-sized globes (one of them a mere 1.5 inches in diameter) housed in casings that map the constellations.
News from the world of science books publishing, including book review venues, presses, new technologies for books and more.
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation, by Dan Fagin,
the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.
London Review of Books
blog, Gill Partington
on buying an invisible book. He muses of texts more generally, “The book is certainly not dead, but it is having something of an identity crisis.”
Jane Goodall’s recent conversation with Henry Nicholls, in which Goodall discusses, among other things, changes she made for the revised edition of her latest book,
Seeds of Hope, in response to allegations of plagiarism that surfaced with the first edition.
Nick Yee, author of
The Proteus Paradox
(a very interesting read),
on a Danish study that reveals the “surprisingly unsurprising reason” some men select female avatars when playing World of Warcraft. He then discusses these findings in the context of his own research.
Author Sam Kean has been busy writing about Phineas Gage, whose frontal lobe injury became a famous neuroscience case study, for the
New York Times
Slate, expanding on the discussion of Gage that appears in his book
The Dueling Neurosurgeons: And Other True Stories of Trauma, Madness, Affliction, and Recovery That Reveal the Surprising History of the Human Brain.
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