October 19, 2021 The primatologist says it's crucial that young people know how positive action can still shift the frightening trajectories of climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and the ongoing global pandemic.
On Animals, by Susan Orlean
Avid Reader Press
October 12, 2021 Orlean's descriptions of the animals on the Hudson Valley farm where she once lived may evoke a warm feeling — but those of donkeys in Fez and others in her essays may conjure other emotions.
Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South, by Margaret Renkl
September 14, 2021 Writer Margaret Renkl's sense of joyful belonging to the South co-exists with her intense desire for Southerners who face prejudice or poverty finally to be embraced and supported.
Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship, by Catherine Raven
Spiegel & Grau
July 8, 2021 The very antithesis of a fox-taming tale, Catherine Raven's memoir shows us that we are surrounded by wild animals who make thoughtful decisions and experience joys and sorrows on their own terms.
Evolution Gone Wrong: The Curious Reasons Why Our Bodies Work (Or Don't), by Alex Bezzerides
Hanover Square Press
May 21, 2021 In his debut book Evolution Gone Wrong, Alex Bezzerides mixes the technical anatomical stuff we need to know with vivid examples and humorous phrases — in offering us some answers.
Mom Genes: Inside the New Science of Our Ancient Maternal Instinct, by Abigail Tucker
April 28, 2021 Abigail Tucker's descriptions of how radically women may change at the time of motherhood — and, as an extension, how this might affect their ability to focus on other things — gets pretty harrowing.
Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions, by Michael Moss
March 3, 2021 Investigative reporter Michael Moss explores how some food companies tweak their products to take advantage of evolved biology, creating room for novelty that triggers the brain to make us want more.
Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding, by Daniel E. Lieberman
January 5, 2021 Harvard University's Daniel Lieberman looks at exercise from an evolutionary point of view, concluding that we evolved to limit our physical activity where possible, saving it for survival activities.
Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History, by Paul Farmer
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
November 17, 2020 The anthropologist and physician teaches that the world needs not only medicine, but something more — a rejection of global racial inequalities and serious investment in the care of all people.
Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art, Rebecca Wragg Sykes
October 27, 2020 Rebecca Wragg Sykes describes evidence showing that as innovative tool- and fire-makers, Neanderthals adapted to changing climates, adopted symbolic cultural practices and expressed profound emotions.
A page on Swallows from David Allen Sibley's What It's Like To Be A Bird.
David Allen Sibley/Knopf
April 19, 2020 David Allen Sibley's name is synonymous with his bird field guides. In researching this volume, he became convinced of something new: Birds make complex decisions and experience emotions.
Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace, Carl Safina
Henry Holt and Co.
April 15, 2020 Combining the knowledge of a seasoned scientist and the skills of a good storyteller, the ecologist-author invites us to leave our cultural worlds and enter some animal ones to see just how they work.
Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals, by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
September 16, 2019 Understanding the lives of animals can illuminate our own — and those of loved adolescents too. But authors Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers at times push cross-species links too far.
ullstein bild Dtl./ullstein bild via Getty Images
August 5, 2019 Charles King tells the story of Franz Boas' powerful challenge to racial science — and of how others like Margaret Mead and Zora Neale Hurston contributed to that project.
Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, by Margaret Renkl
July 12, 2019 New York Times columnist Margaret Renkl astonishes with her essays, a woven tapestry that makes one of all the world's beings that strive to live — and, in one way or another, face mortality.