January is National Puzzle Month, and the 29th is National Puzzle Day! If you would like a great book to help you celebrate before the month is out, try this visual feast, published by National Geographic Kids. It features a variety of photo puzzles: optical illusions, hidden pictures, “Spot the Difference” (on two-page spreads), and more! It’s full of fun facts about nature, including how animals use camouflage for safety, how humans use vision and the brain in concert to understand the world around them, and how our perceptions can be fooled by visual tricks. There
The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, is a familiar figure to those of us addicted to those documentaries about space that pop up on PBS and the History Channel. Tyson is an affable figure on TV, and proves to be the same in print. This book is a collection of articles that he wrote for “Natural History” magazine. They present complex topics in a clear, conversational manner, infused with humor. Thought-provoking and entertaining.
Randall Munroe earned a degree in physics at Christopher Newport University (VA) and went on to work on robots at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia before quitting to become a cartoonist (xkcd.com: “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”). He employs humorous stick figure sketches to help provide scientific answers to absurd hypotheticals submitted to him through his website.
Meet the most adorable sloths in Costa Rica's Sloth Sanctuary! The photographs are stunning and the humorously presented information about sloths will keep the reader’s attention.Meet the cutest baby sloths and some of their older companions.Learn about all their goofy personalities and silly antics.Also learn how the sanctuary he
Malcolm Gladwell has made a career of looking at things we thought we knew from a different perspective, as he did in his previous best-sellers Blink and The Tipping Point. In Outliers, he examines success. What makes someone successful? Sure it’s hard work—did you know that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated work to master just about any field?—but it’s also opportunity. And culture. And pure accident. Using examples from the famous and the unknown, along with the most recent scientific studies, Gladwell presents a surprising c
If you believe that zombies are only in scary stories or movies…think again. If you are grossed out at the thought of creatures that take over the bodies and brains of other creatures, this review--let alone this book--is not for you. Just walk away.
I had long heard of Mary Roach's titles but never tried one. Gulp fell into my lap when a coworker heard about it and placed it on hold for me, figuring I would like it. I can see why Mary Roach's writing is so popular: she mixes great, science-y information with a fantastic sense of humor that is typically presented in tongue-in-cheek or dry asides as well as side-splitting footnotes.
The Mind is very similar in structure to one of my earlier staff picks: Future Science. Editor John Brockman presents contributions from some of the world’s leading scientists on the workings of the brain and aspects of human consciousness, development, memory, and learning.
This is definitely one of my favorites; it is not, however, a self-help book (if you peruse Amazon reviews, many readers’ expectations were defied and disappointed by that fact – most likely due to a misinterpretation of the sub-title). Rather, Redirect presents the practice of story-editing to effect successful interventions in personal and social issues.
Untraceable poisons were easy to get, Tammany Hall controlled the coroner’s office while corrupt cops and politicians ruled Jazz Age New York—it had never been easier to get away with murder. This is how Pulitzer-prize winning author Deborah Blum’s fascinating story about the beginning of forensic and chemical detective work begins.
Future Science is the first installment in what editor Max Brockman hopes will be an annual collection; it consists of essays by young scientists who, for the first time, are presenting to a general reading audience the scientific hypotheses they are pursuing in their scholarly research. Nearly every essay is accessible (I skipped 2 of the 18 due to lack of interest).
Introverts are often indirectly told that their very way of being is a ‘condition’ or a ‘shell’ out of which they need to emerge. Susan Cain explores the fallacy of this and other beliefs about the introverted temperament in her fascinating book Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating; many introverts are even quite sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, and coffee. Extroverts recharge their batteries by socializing, while introverts recharge by being alone.