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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Science and Health Books
From gripping memoirs to tours de force born of arduous research and masterful writing, the 10 best science and health books of the last 12 months offer arresting and invaluable insights into the workings of our minds and bodies and the complexities of nature that sustain and endanger us.
The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds. By Julie Zickefoose. 2012. Houghton, $28 (9780547003092).
Naturalist, painter, and songbird rehabilitator Zickefoose describes––in words, drawings, and watercolor paintings––her enthrallment to birds.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. By Susannah Cahalan. 2012. Free Press, $25 (9781451621372).
Reporter Cahalan recounts how an unknown pathogen invaded her body, causing brain inflammation, paranoia, and seizures, expertly combining her story with a dissection of autoimmune diseases.
An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases. By Moises Velasquez-Manoff. 2012. Scribner, $26 (9781439199381).
Science journalist Velasquez-Manoff’s extensive investigation into why we’re experiencing an alarming upsurge of debilitating allergies and life-threatening autoimmune disorders leads to the conclusion that we’ve taken the war against germs too far.
Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future. By Climate Central. 2012. Pantheon, $22.95 (9780307907301).
Climate Central, a nonpartisan collective of ecological experts, sets the record straight about the indisputable scientific evidence for global warming in this concise yet comprehensive overview.
How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks about Being Sick in America. By Otis Webb Brawley and Paul Goldberg. 2012. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (9780312672973).
Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, presents a no-holds-barred look at the contemporary health scene.
On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson. By William Souder. 2012. Crown, $30 (9780307462206).
Souder brings a fresh and delving perspective to the prescient ecologist Rachel Carson’s intriguing life, heroic sacrifices, and trailblazing achievements as the author of the lyrical and revelatory The Sea around Us (1951) and Silent Spring (1962).
The Social Conquest of Earth. By Edward O. Wilson. 2012. Norton/Liveright, $27.95 (9780871404138).
Renowned biologist Wilson takes us through the great maze of evolutionary adaptations that led to the “advanced social life” both of ants and, more dramatically, humankind, giving rise to our tribalism, art, and social and moral quandaries.
The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body. By Frances Ashcroft. 2012. Norton, $28.95 (9780393078039).
Physiologist Ashcroft explains, in a lively mix of science and history, how everything we do depends on electrical events occurring continuously in nerve and muscle cells.
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. By David Quammen. 2012. Norton, $28.95 (9780393066807).
Exemplary science writer Quammen illuminates fascinating, if scary, facts about zoonotic diseases—animal infections that sicken humans, such as influenza, SARS, and AIDS—and that can escalate rapidly into global pandemics.
Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. By Fletcher Wortmann. 2012. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $24.99 (9780312622107).
Wortmann’s touching, candid, and often funny memoir recounts his complex struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder, shedding light on an often misunderstood and mysterious condition.
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