Science & Technology Book Reviews

THE TRUTH ABOUT LANGUAGE by Michael C. Corballis
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2017

"A fine, accessible introduction to a captivating, and still evolving, academic field."
Daring to question Noam Chomsky's "big bang" theory about language in humans. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 4, 2017

"The author's easy-reading but hard-hitting exposé of a dysfunctional biomedical research system will inform and alarm general readers, and it is sure to stir controversy and arouse ire among those who feel their ox is being gored."
An award-winning science journalist reports that research in the biomedical sciences is too often guilty of wasting time and money and, worse than that, actually slowing scientific progress and misinforming the public. Read full book review >

YOUR BRAIN IS A TIME MACHINE by Dean Buonomano
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: April 4, 2017

"Fascinating throughout and a pleasing vehicle by which to think about thinking—and the passing hours."
What is the most important function of the human brain? Well, one takeaway from this lively book on that beloved organ is that it enables us "to predict and prepare for the future." Read full book review >
THE SONGS OF TREES by David George Haskell
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: April 4, 2017

"Haskell's message is straightforward and important: we are a part of nature, and the trees with whom we share our environment are vital parts of our lives."
Haskell (Biology/The Univ. of the South; The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature, 2012) uses the metaphor of song to capture how the "living memories of trees…tell of life's community, a net of relations" of which humans are "incarnate members." Read full book review >
PANDORA'S LAB by Paul A. Offit
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 4, 2017

"Another rousing, pull-no-punches piece from a physician set on educating the public about the fallibility of scientists."
Tales of scientific errors whose unintended consequences have been disastrous. Read full book review >

NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: April 5, 2017

"Of compelling interest to any animal lover and especially to devotees of canids of all kinds."
Can new kinds of animals be brought into being outside of DNA tinkering and Frankensteining? Most certainly, as a long-running Russian experiment reveals. Read full book review >
THE GREAT UNKNOWN by Marcus Du Sautoy
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 11, 2017

"A delicious addition to the 'Big Question' genre."
Are there limits to human knowledge? Philosophers and religious thinkers have long answered "yes" and then provided examples that turned out to be wrong. A renowned mathematician argues that "yes" might very well be correct. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 18, 2017

"A powerful argument for reducing inequality and revolutionizing how we use the Web for the benefit of the many rather than the few."
When American representative democracy collapses, blame it on Facebook. Read full book review >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: April 18, 2017

"An accessible contribution to what the author calls 'genetic literacy' and a satisfyingly hard-edged work of popular science."
Does the human genome include a thread for the likelihood of falling for hype? If it does, then it would be fine vindication for this sharp book on the limitations of genetics in understanding what makes us tick. Read full book review >
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: April 18, 2017

"These well-crafted tales of bio-inspired innovation will entrance general readers and warrant the close attention of scientists and technologists."
Los Angeles Times science writer Khan debuts with a richly detailed account of biologically inspired engineering. Read full book review >
DRAWDOWN by Paul Hawken
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 18, 2017

"An optimistic program for getting out of our current mess, well deserving of the broadest possible readership."
Be kindly unto the scientists, for they may just save our skin—and make us happier and wealthier in the bargain. Read full book review >
ECLIPSE by Frank Close
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: May 1, 2017

"Illuminating preparatory reading for the August eclipse."
A theoretical physicist shares his "lifelong fascination with eclipses." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Laini Taylor
March 27, 2017

In bestselling YA writer Laini Taylor’s new fantasy novel, Strange the Dreamer, the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever. What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? “Lovers of intricate worldbuilding and feverish romance will find this enthralling,” our critic writes. View video >