Three New Pop Science Releases Around What it Means to Be Alive

Interestingly, three new books are out this month addressing scientific definitions of life and its hazy boundaries in some way. I've read them all. (What a contemplative time it's been, for better or worse.) Let's discuss! Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul, by... Continue Reading →

From Vaccines to Vanilla: Getting to the Heart of Our Obsession with “Natural”

An unexpected benefit of lockdown (we have to take little joys where we find them) has been getting to virtually snoop through people's bookshelves in Zoom meetings. Some journalists have done the good work of putting together lists of titles they've spotted on shelves during interviews. Dr. Fauci's books made it into one of these... Continue Reading →

Debunking Medical Myth and “Viral BS”

Dr. Seema Yasmin is an MD, epidemiologist, and former disease detective with the Centers for Disease Control (cool job alert) who works in health journalism, doing what NHS doctor Ben Goldacre has implored other doctors and scientists to do: "translating" dense medical studies and scientific data so that the general public can more easily understand... Continue Reading →

10 More New Nonfiction Titles Coming in 2021

I've got a roundup of new nonfiction that's especially heavy on mysteries, medicine, and magic. Onward! The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case of MH370, by Florence de Changy -- Le Monde journalist de Changy investigates the "Kafkaesque" March 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I watched an episode of Drain the Oceans about this... Continue Reading →

Nonfiction Favorites From the Backlist

I think I look forward more to putting together my list of backlist favorites each year than the new releases. What was better for you this year -- new releases or older nonfiction? Borrowed Finery, by Paula Fox - Children's novelist Fox's memoir is brilliant, especially for memoir that's non-linear and kind of hazy in... Continue Reading →

The Data on Drinking

Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Health, by David Nutt David Nutt is an English neuropsychopharmacologist, meaning he studies drugs that affect the brain. Of which alcohol is a big, bad one. He was fired, or asked to resign, from his position as a government drug advisor for saying on primetime radio "that alcohol... Continue Reading →

Nonfiction November Wrap-Up

To end Nonfiction November this year, Julie, Katie and I recorded an episode of Leann's Shelf Aware podcast. We talked Nonfiction November history, reading preferences, and a bunch of other stuff. It was so much fun to get to chat about books with my fellow hosts and I hope it's fun to listen to! I... Continue Reading →

Medical Nonfiction for Lay Readers

There was a time I didn't want to read one word about bodies or medicine, but maybe because of developing chronic health issues myself, or again living in the US uninsured, but as I mentioned in my first Nonfiction November post, I've been drawn to medical-related nonfiction lately. Here are three targeted at lay readers... Continue Reading →

Past and Future of the Pandemic

Apollo's Arrow, by Nicholas A. Christakis (Bookshop.org) It seemed to me that the novel coronavirus was a threat that was both wholly new and deeply ancient. Yale sociologist, public health educator, and former hospice physician Nicholas A. Christakis's Apollo's Arrow covers the coronavirus pandemic, drawing comparisons to previous plagues and pandemics from history and mythology,... Continue Reading →

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