Survival of the Friendliest: understanding our origins and rediscovering our common humanity by Brian Hare (Request)
Ever wanted a pet fox? Turns out they are fast-tracked for domestication! This and other sociology and biology studies are outlined and analyzed in Survival of the Friendliest. Authors Hare and Woods discuss the theory that instead of survival of fittest and needing to compete, that human success may be the result of the natural behavior of cooperation with both other humans and other animals that have been domesticated. The book does go into a fair amount of detail but keeps things to a popular science level that is enjoyable to read for general audiences.
You’ll never believe what happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Request)
You ever thought you had a really bad day at work? How about throwing in some casual racism?
You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar chronicles anecdotes from Lacey as told to her sister about the often casual and blunt racist behavior she has been subjected to and exposed to in her professional life as well as her private life. Told in a narrative that takes the form of a conversation between the two sisters it adds a nice humorous touch to an otherwise serious and depressing subject.
A Lab of One’s Own: One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science by Dr. Rita R. Colwell and Sharon McGrayne is one part personal memoir and one part history lesson on sexism and misogyny in the sciences. Dr Colwell (who was the director of the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2004) recalls not only her own personal experiences with sexist behavior she experienced in the field but also pulls back the curtain of the “Boys Club” nature of higher academics, sharing stories of her colleagues both female and unmarried males (who by her account are seen as “undedicated to the field” by their married counterparts) in a documented tone that leaves no doubt as to her diligent work in exposing as much of this unprofessional behavior as possible. Overall a good read, and an eye-opening one that leaves room for hope that the fields of science and higher academia can make progress in becoming more egalitarian.
Bunker by Bradley Garrett is a cultural exploration into the world of “preppers”, people who do everything from build backyard bunkers to creating off-grid homes and communities. The author delved right into the people he reported and studied, taking part in their day to day lives as well as asking sometimes difficult questions about why they “prep” and why they feel a need to prepare for what they see as coming danger. The author even went as far as to look into communities like this in other countries, where the mindset for creating fortification and disaster preparation is different than their North American counterparts.
Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka is a slice of life manga with a fun twist: the main character is a witch in training! The story does follow a narrative, but like most slice of life, it is a bit of a loose narrative that can go to some odd places. Overall a fun series.
A Walk Around The Block by Spike Carlsen is a very informative look into the nearly invisible parts of everyday infrastructure. The author goes to great lengths to interview several experts in the field, most of which are largely unknown to the public at large, as well as looking into the history of several utilities and public services. A very enlightening read.
Kraken is a great book for lovers of science writing as well as anyone who is curious about just how our multi-armed friends of the deep work. The language that Williams uses can get a bit technical but generally all is explained for the average reader, allowing for a wide audience to enjoy this book. The chapters are concise and lead into one another, which are what make this book a real page turner, and follows the author’s own explorations into the world of squid.
Junji Itō’s Venus in the Blind Spot is a compilation manga of several Japanese horror stories, all illustrated and most written by Junji Itō. They all have a central theme of obsession of some kind and many have to do with unrequited love, making for a read that is both thrilling and true to the style of Itō, quite disturbing and unsettling. A great read for anyone looking for a good thrill.
Tales from the Ant World by Edward O. Wilson is an engaging and entertaining read on the world of ants and ecology. The writing is scientific and educated, however with use of everyday language and explanation that talks to the reader in a tone that is as much for an expert as for someone new to the field of entomology. Included are a number of scientific drawings to illustrate a few of the species, as well as a glimpse into fieldwork in the world of ant scientists.
How to Die in Space: A Journey Through Dangerous Astrophysical Phenomena by Paul Sutter.
How to Die in Space is a fun, somewhat morbid, educational review of astrophysical phenomena written within a framework that is both a “traveler’s guide” and astrophysics lecture. The book is written in an engaging tone, with use of everyday language backed by scientific explanation. The chapters of the book are loosely related, each being a self contained lesson or lecture in itself which makes for easy reading.