Science News’ favorite books of 2015

book collage

The Science News staff offers its picks of must-read books from 2015.

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
Andrea Wulf

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
Stephen Buchmann

The epic history of the evolution of flowers is told alongside the story of their cultural and economic importance to humankind (SN: 7/25/15, p. 30).  Scribner, $26

The Diet Myth
Tim Spector

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

Black Hole
Marcia Bartusiak

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
Beth Shapiro

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

The Invaders
Pat Shipman

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
Alice Callahan

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

Lesser Beasts
Mark Essig

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
Henry Marsh

In this brutally honest memoir, a neurosurgeon recounts his successes and failures on the operating table.  Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99

Brooke Borel

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

Jonathan Waldman

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

Scientific Babel
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
Frank Wilczek

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 links that generate funds for Society for Science & the Public programs.

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