Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We are All Science Geeks Now--Selections from the Boswell's Best for This Week.

It's time for a wrap up of new nonfiction. All these titles are on the Boswell's Best at least through next Monday, April 8, and are 20% off in store.

Letters to a Young Scientist (Liveright), by Edward O. Wilson is from a long string of "letters to" titles from noted, and sometimes not noted experts. They always come out in spring because they have a magnetic attraction to a graduation table display. It's looking like this might be one of the better selling of the genre. Booklist's star review offer this enthusiasm: "Wilson's celebration of creativity and discipline, love for the living world, and commitment to explicating its wonders and fragility will uplift every reader, no matter her or his calling. Warm, sage, and compelling, this concise and mighty book of wisdom and encouragement belongs in every library."

Sticking with science, I next mention Sam Parnia's Erasing Death: The Science that is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death (Harper One), co-written by Josh Young. Parnia is assistant professor of crical care and director of resuscitation research at SUNY Stonybrook and a leading expert on death, the mind-brain relationship, and near-death experience. Library Journal notes "This book will appeal to readers interested in near-death experiences, views of the afterlife, and end-of-life care." You can listen to Parnia's interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air here.

Here's another science book that is also going to sell to folks that just love a gorgeous book. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary (University of Chicago), by Caspar Henderson. Jason noted that Chicago imported the book from the UK, and here's a great example where a rep can make a difference--Bailey gave us the heads up and we brought in display quantity. From the endpapers to the two-color ink to the luxurious paper, I'm ready to be immersed in the worlds of axolotl, barrel sponges, crown thorns starfish, dolphins, eels, and so forth. Henderson is a writer and journalist whose work appears in the Financial Times, the Independent, and New Scientist.

And how can I talk about science books without mentioning Mary Roach's new Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Norton)? I was working at the front desk yesterday and it seemed like Halley was talking it up to every other person who came into the bookshop. And how could she not? Steven Pinker wrote "Roach boldly goes where no author has gone before, into the sciences of the taboo, the macabre, the icky, and the just plain weird." Here's Halley's recommendation in full.

"Gulp is Roach at her finest, showing that she can find the fascinating in the seemingly mundane world of the alimentary canal. Her exploration of everything from saliva to flatulence is an entertaining read filled with crazy experiments and fun facts. Very few authors can elicit the range of emotions a Roach book can. I found myself laughing at moments and cringing at others, and never could I put the book down without wanting more. Some bits are positively disgusting, but the most interesting disgusting possible, which is always the case with Roach. This book will teach you all about prison wallets, fart monitors, and will allow you to get the true scoop on poop."

I'm working on investing in a fart monitor.

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