A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum

A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum

This combination of thriller, history, romance and physics is a whir of action, danger and close escapes. Miriam Abramov and her brilliant mathematician brother Vanya live in 1914 Kovno. She is the first female surgeon in the Jewish hospital, engaged to another doctor. Vanya is a lecturer at the university. Vanya is working desperately to […]


Honeybee Hotel: The Waldorf Astoria’s Rooftop Garden and the Heart of NYC

Honeybee Hotel: The Waldorf Astoria’s Rooftop Garden and the Heart of NYC

This is a slim volume, part reminiscence about the Waldorf Astoria’s recent history before the Anbang remodel began, part fascinating, deeply researched introduction to honey bee life. Strong recommendation for anyone interested in pollinators! Lesley Day is a New York City naturalist who authored 3 field guides to the NYC natural world and she writes […]


Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

If you like a lot of science with your fiction, this one’s for you. Due to rapidly increasing bolide strikes from pieces of rock knocked off an impacted moon, Earth is splitting apart and burning. How to ensure that  humanity survives for the next 5000 or so years that the Earth will be uninhabitable? That […]


The Tangled Tree A Radical New History of Life

The Tangled Tree A Radical New History of Life

David Quammen is one of our best science writers! He tackles the recent discoveries in molecular biology that have changed our understanding of evolution and life’s history. He focuses on the discovery of the archea as the 3rd branch of life (with bacteria and eukaryotes of which we are a part) and the discovery of […]


Follow Your Gut by Rob Knight

Follow Your Gut by Rob Knight

You’ve heard a lot about the human microbiome — it is a hot topic! But, most of the articles assume a certain amount of knowledge. What is all this about microbes and their effect on us? Where’s the instruction manual? Weren’t we supposed to use hand sanitizer to get rid of microbes? In 2014, Rob […]


Pale Rider by Laura Spinney

Pale Rider by Laura Spinney

Admittedly, I am fond of nonfiction books dealing with some fairly gruesome topics. The flu pandemic of 1918, commonly referred to then and still today as the Spanish flu*, is indeed gruesome. It is also a fascinating historical event and author Spinney explores it comprehensively. Her writing is clear, the events presented in gripping detail, […]


Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li

Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li

This beautifully illustrated and simple to read book is an introduction to the pleasures and science behind forest bathing. The book is subtitled How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. Forest bathing is not taking a bath in the forest; it is immersing yourself using all your senses in the forest. Clinical research […]


Code Girls by Liza Mundy

Code Girls by Liza Mundy

Thanks to Masterpiece Theater and the film Imitation Game, many of us are familiar with the amazing code-breaking work done by our British allies at Bletchley Park outside London. At Bletchely a great chunk of the arduous decryption work was done by women–mostly young, well-educated, unmarried, and very eager to help the war effort. Here, […]


The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

You already know much of what Kolbert presents here. Life is both tenacious and tenuous. At least five times in the last half-billion years much of Earth’s life has been wiped out by a change in global conditions, the most recent probably caused by an asteroid impact during the Late Cretaceous epoch. Die-offs cascade as […]