Science & Technology Book Reviews

LIFE ON THE EDGE by Johnjoe McFadden
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 28, 2015

"McFadden and Al-Khalili give sure footing to the anything-goes bafflement of quantum theory, making it approachable even for neophytes."
Notes toward an understanding of quantum mechanics' part in biological processes. Read full book review >
THE VITAL QUESTION by Nick Lane
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 20, 2015

"Not necessarily for casual readers, but for the scientifically curious, a challenging book that presents ideas about the most intricate processes that link genes and energy."
An evolutionary biochemist argues that while single-cell life emerged early in Earth's 4-billion-year history, complex life arose only some 2 billion years ago as the result of a rare, even freakish, event. Read full book review >

GENIUS AT PLAY by Siobhan Roberts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 14, 2015

"While nonmathematicians may have trouble comprehending Roberts' mathematical achievements, they will enjoy this entertaining portrait of a charismatic genius."
A biography of the brilliant mathematician John Horton Conway (b. 1937). Read full book review >
A BEAUTIFUL QUESTION by Frank Wilczek
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: July 14, 2015

"A commendable investigation of the nature of reality."
Nobel Prize winner Wilczek (Physics/MIT; The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether and the Unification of Forces, 2008, etc.) posits that a powerful Creator made the world because of "an impulse to make something beautiful."Read full book review >
ANXIOUS by Joseph LeDoux
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: July 14, 2015

"Not turgid enough for academia or lucid enough to be quality popular science, the book is a dense, detailed, often stimulating review of how the brain processes external threats."
This is no self-help book but rather a rigorous scientific analysis of brain function, heavy on research and theory. Read full book review >

THE BIOLOGY OF DESIRE by Marc Lewis
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: July 14, 2015

"A thought-provoking, industry-minded, and polarizing perspective on the neurocircuitry of human desire and compulsion."
An argument against classifying addiction as a chronic "brain disease." Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 7, 2015

"A fascinating biography of a physicist who transformed how science is done."
Europe's Large Hadron Collider cost more than $10 billion, paid for by a consortium of nations. Its success owes much to charismatic physicist Ernest Lawrence (1901-1958), who invented the cyclotron, the Collider's ancestor. Read full book review >
LIFE’S GREATEST SECRET by Matthew Cobb
HISTORY
Released: July 7, 2015

"The greatest milestone in 20th-century biology received an iconic account in Horace Freeland Judson's The Eighth Day of Creation (1979). Much has happened since that publication, and Cobb's gripping, insightful history, often from the mouths of the participants themselves, updates the story, bringing it all the way into the present."
Animal breeders have always known that "like breeds like," but no one, Charles Darwin included, knew why offspring resemble parents except, sometimes, when they don't. Cobb (Zoology/Univ. of Manchester; Eleven Days in August: The Liberation of Paris 1944, 2014, etc.) describes how they learned.Read full book review >
FORENSICS by Val McDermid
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 7, 2015

"A satisfying insider's excursion into the scientific realities behind CSI-style pop culture."
From a bestselling mystery author, a curiosity-fueled look at the realities behind crime science. Read full book review >
There Is Still Time by Peter Seidel
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 1, 2015

"An astute look at the many negative influences currently shaping our world, along with ideas to overcome them."
A longtime environmentalist looks at the state of the world and our prospects for surviving the future. Read full book review >
UNFAIR by Adam Benforado
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 16, 2015

"An original and provocative argument that upends our most cherished beliefs about providing equal justice under the law."
A law professor sounds an explosive alarm on the hidden unfairness of our legal system. Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 16, 2015

"A propulsive and fascinating portrait of the people who helped upend an industry and challenge how music and media are consumed."
A history of the music industry's reckoning with digital technology, the Internet, and the "pirate generation." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >