Science & Technology Book Reviews

WASTING TIME ON THE INTERNET by Kenneth Goldsmith
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Goldsmith outlines a future that perhaps offers a hope we can embrace, since a retreat seems impossible."
A persuasive argument about how what conventional wisdom dismisses as "wasting time" is actually time well spent. Read full book review >
SEVEN SKELETONS by Lydia Pyne
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Ian Tattersall's The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack (2015) remains the best popular modern history of human evolution, but Pyne casts her net more widely, adding captivating accounts of how each discovery fascinated the mass media and entered literature and popular culture."
Describing human evolution through accounts of fossils that became media events might seem a publicity ploy, but science journalist Pyne (Institute for Historical Studies/Univ. of Texas; Bookshelf, 2016, etc.) pulls it off. Read full book review >

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A highly thoughtful and entertaining treatment of a subject that merits serious consideration."
An internationally recognized leader in the field of childhood learning debunks the concept of "good parenting." Read full book review >
I CONTAIN MULTITUDES by Ed Yong
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"An exceptionally informative, beautifully written book that will profoundly shift one's sense of self to that of symbiotic multitudes."
The microbiome is one of the most talked-about topics in modern science, but it's a complex and evolving field with important nuances often missed by the media. Atlantic science writer Yong refines the natural history of these microscopic wonders and breaks down the cutting-edge science that may soon result in revolutionary medical advances. Read full book review >
WILD SEX by Carin Bondar
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"A fascinating peek into the intimate behavior of our animal cousins that provides new insight into the benefits of being human."
A lively exploration of "the nitty-gritty of the diverse sex life of animals." Read full book review >

IDIOT BRAIN by Dean Burnett
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: July 26, 2016

"Burnett should give a TED talk. His book will appeal immensely to general readers and deserves a place on college reading lists."
A neuroscientist's irreverent guide to the brain. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: July 12, 2016

"A book in which the author's fascinating, well-researched ideas regarding holistic health may presage a paradigm shift in medicine."
Fully 90 percent of human cells are microbial. This astonishing fact means that we are not merely human but a superorganism whose "microbiome" plays a major role in health and disease. Read full book review >
THE GRID by Gretchen Bakke
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A lively analysis of the challenges renewables present to the production and distribution of electricity."
A primer on the challenges facing a power industry in transition. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 5, 2016

"A convincing argument that the most secure way to communicate is via snail mail."
The history of cyberespionage, combining "related stories like encryption and code-breaking [and] the rise of the computer industry and its complex relationship with the secret world." Read full book review >
THE UNKNOWN UNIVERSE by Stuart Clark
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 5, 2016

"Since satisfying results have yet to turn up, Clark's book ends on a cliffhanger, but readers will be entirely pleased with the experience."
Updates on the universe continue to pour from the presses, but since new discoveries appear regularly, cosmology aficionados may read one every few years. They will be wise to read this latest from New Scientist contributor Clark (The Day Without Yesterday, 2013, etc.), a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Read full book review >
RISE OF THE MACHINES by Thomas Rid
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 28, 2016

"Not a history of computers but an ingenious look at how brilliant and not-so-brilliant thinkers see—usually wrongly but with occasional prescience—the increasingly intimate melding of machines and humans."
A fascinating study of the "seductive power of the cybernetic mythos." Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 14, 2016

"A thoughtful examination of the role of aging and death in supporting life."
An advancement of the challenging theory that, along with growth and puberty, aging also unfolds "on a schedule programmed into the regulatory portion of our DNA." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Andrea Beaty
August 30, 2016

In Andrea Beaty and David Roberts’ new picture book Ada Twist, Scientist is like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie: scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. Not afraid of failure, she embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble! Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. “Cool and stylish,” our reviewer writes. View video >