With piles of books published each year, it can be hard to choose the most worthy titles to curl up with at the end of a long day. To help sort through 2015’s books, the Science News staff offers its must-read picks, many of which have been previously reviewed in the magazine. Read those reviews at the links below or in our Editor’s Pick: Favorite books of 2015.
The Invention of Nature
This biography of Alexander von Humboldt explores how the 19th century German naturalist’s expeditions helped lay the groundwork for our modern understanding of the natural world. Knopf, $30
The Reason for Flowers
The Diet Myth
More so than any fad diet, the key to good health is taking care of your gut microbes, a genetic epidemiologist persuasively argues (SN: 9/19/15, p. 29). Overlook Press, $28.95
It took decades of debate and research for physicists to accept the existence of black holes, a science writer explains in this lively historical account (SN: 5/16/15, p. 26). Yale Univ., $27.50
How to Clone a Mammoth
In this thoughtful how-to guide, an evolutionary biologist provides an insider’s perspective on the technical and ethical challenges involved in reviving extinct species (SN: 6/13/15, p. 27). Princeton Univ., $24.95
An anthropologist proposes an intriguing new explanation for the Neandertals’ demise: Domesticated dogs helped modern humans outhunt their Stone Age cousins (SN: 4/4/15, p. 28). Harvard Univ., $29.95
The Science of Mom
A writer with a background in nutritional biology serves up the latest scientific research to answer the tough parenting questions that arise during a baby’s first year. Johns Hopkins Univ., $19.95
People and pigs have more in common than meets the eye, a historian explains in this humorous look at the 11,000-year partnership between humans and swine (SN: 6/27/15, p. 26). Basic Books, $27.50
Do No Harm
In this brutally honest memoir, a neurosurgeon recounts his successes and failures on the operating table. Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99
Culture and biology intersect in this captivating tale of how bedbugs spread around the world and why the bloodsuckers have resisted scientists’ best efforts to eradicate them from people’s bedrooms (SN: 5/2/15, p. 30). Univ. of Chicago, $26
A fascinating look at our centuries-old war against corrosion and the scientists and engineers who have led the fight (SN: 4/4/15, p. 29). Simon & Schuster, $26.95
Michael D. Gordin
A historian retraces how English beat out German, French and Russian to become the language of science (SN: 7/25/15, p. 30). Univ. of Chicago, $30
A Beautiful Question
A Nobel Prize–winning physicist ponders the link between physics, math and art in this thought-provoking book (SN: 9/19/15, p. 29). Penguin Press, $29.95
Editor’s Note: Wilczek is on the board of trustees of Society for Science & the Public, which publishes Science News.
Reviews on the Science News website include Amazon.com links that generate funds for Society for Science & the Public programs.