God’s Debris: a Thought Experiment. 2004. Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Take a metaphysical journey into man’s first science, the search for meaning, as you try to deliver a package to the smartest man in the world who won’t take it until you understand.
Feed. 2002. Candlewick.
In this society your brain cyberfeed provides an endless stream of information, entertainment and advertising. When Violet’s feed is disrupted, she’s cast adrift and everyone is forced to examine the power of the feed in his/her life.
Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way to Be Smart. 2008. Bantam.
With real-life examples from sports, medicine, online dating, and airline pricing, Ayres describes how data about all of us is collected and “crunched” by statisticians and computers to profile consumers benefitting both the consumer and the companies interested in selling to them.
Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists. 2001. University of California Press.
Confused by all the contradicting statistical data being bantered around by advertisers and the media? Best explains how these statistics are created and their social implications, which will help you distinguish truth from hype.
A Short History of Nearly Everything. 2004. Broadway Books.
A renowned travel writer brings complex scientific concepts to life by describing how the universe and life as we know it came to be.
The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks
. 2006. Henry Holt/Owl Books.
While studying migratory birds on the remote Farallones Islands, 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco, biologists noticed red blotches in the surrounding waters. These sightings evolve into a full blown scientific study of great white sharks revealing unknown secrets of this prehistoric beast.
The Taste of Sweet: Our Complicated Love Affair With Our Favorite Treats. 2008. Crown.
Why does chocolate taste so good but broccoli turns many of us off? The science, history and social changes behind the American sweet-tooth are explored from taste buds on our tongues, to slaves on the sugar plantations.
Little Brother. 2008. Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Teen.
In near future San Franciso, 17-year-old Marcus, also known as w1n5t0n (or Winston), is running from the Department of Homeland Security after he is detained under suspicion of participating in a terrorist attack. Marcus and his friends are using technology to further their cause.
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside. 2007. Random House.
Firlik brings honest appraisal of her work with less heroism and more day-to-day problem solving as she moves from intern to doctor. Along the way she removes a nail in a carpenter’s head and allows maggots to clean pus out of an infected brain in this humorous and candid memoir.
The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth. 2006. Atlantic Monthly Press.
What are melting glaciers, disappearing frogs and a season of perfect storms trying to tell us about the conditions of the planet we call home and what can we do to prevent a catastrophe?
The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters. 2008. Metropolitan Books.
It isn’t hidden behind the bathroom door or quietly flushed down the toilet in this book: a look at the dirty details of what happens to human waste around the globe and how it affects our health and sanitation.
, Phillip M.
The Race to Save the Lord God Bird. 2004. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The ivory-billed woodpecker is thought to be extinct, but some disagree. Hoose documents the scientific and bird-watching communities’ attempts to find this lost species and save its habitat in the Southern United States.
Out of Orbit: The Incredible True Story of Three Astronauts Who Were Hundreds of Miles Above Earth When They Lost Their Ride Home. 2008. Broadway Books.
The mission seemed jinxed from the start and nothing could have prepared the team for the challenge of being stranded in earth’s orbit after the destruction of the shuttle Columbia and its crew. Finding a way home was a herculean feat of teamwork on and off the planet.
A Sand County Almanac. 2001. Oxford University Press.
This classic of environmental and nature writing, arranged by season, provides a poetic view through the window of the Leopold family farm in the Wisconsin meadows. Even 60 years after this book’s original publication, Leopold’s closing comments on land ethic and conservation are surprisingly relevant.
Mosque. 2003. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Walter Lorraine.
Enter a community Mosque of the sixteenth century, and discover the techniques used to raise towering minarets and a beautiful prayer hall dome. This simplistic book for all ages glorifies these magnificent buildings that served as the center of religion, and also housed travelers, stored food, and provided public baths.
The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body. 2008. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Walter Lorraine.
Concerned about taking freshman biology? Get a leg up on the course by letting Macaulay take you on a whirlwind tour of the human body with detailed illustrations and succinct explanations of its building blocks and systems.
, Bill, ed.
American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau. 2008. The Library of America.
Experience the growth of the environmental movement in poetry, essay, song, and prose from its infancy to present day through the eyes of its champions.
Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fry-Oil-Powered Car, and a Cross-Country Search for a Greener Future. 2008. Algonquin Books.
Take a humorous, green road trip with the author and his college buddy in a converted 1980’s Mercedes from Vermont to California, and learn a little about how to be more eco-friendly along the way.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World. 2001. Random House.
Through the sweetness of apples, the beauty of tulips, the intoxication of marijuana, and potato control; Pollan proves mankind manipulates plants and they, in turn, entice us to do their bidding.
The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring. 2008. Random House.
Three buddies on spring break climb into a California redwood and discover a new ecosystem atop the trees. Join this group of young scientists in the canopy as they learn safe climbing techniques for the oldest and tallest trees of North America, and encounter new species of plants, animals, and love.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. 2003. W.W. Norton.
Discover the amazing life-after-death adventures of human bodies in this examination of how medical and research scientists use cadavers to make our lives better.
Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth. 2002. Simon & Schuster/Free Press.
This somewhat controversial book investigates the relationship between physics and metaphysics, science and religion, but doesn’t provide any specific answers. It will evoke a sense of wonder about the cosmos and life itself for those who have an open mind.
The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor. 2005. Random House/Villard.
What would you do if you came home to find your neighborhood quarantined? Learn the true story of how David Hahn’s teenage obsession prompted government agents to descend on his suburban backyard.
The Genomics Age: How DNA Technology is Transforming the Way We Live and Who We Are. 2004. AMACOM.
From Crick and Watson’s discovery of the double helix, to “designer” embryos, learn the history and truth behind the controversies in today’s news. Smith, a former network news technology consultant, gives the hard scientific facts in an enjoyable easy to read manner.
Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science--From the Babylonians to the Maya. 2003. Simon & Schuster.
Living in our modern technological society it’s easy to believe ancient cultures had little scientific or mathematical knowledge. Teresi, however, demonstrates that modern science is much older than we think, and shows how scientific and mathematical concepts of ancient cultures are the foundation of today’s technology.