Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson
The story of Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who’d dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight: the crew of the Apollo 8, the first men to fly to the moon. Also available on audio.
Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “In 1968 we sent men to the Moon. They didn’t leave boot prints, but it was the first time humans ever left Earth for another destination. That mission was Apollo 8. And Rocket Men, under Robert Kurson’s compelling narrative, is that under-told story.”
Listen: Robert Kurson on WGN
The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery by Barbara Lipska and Elaine McArdle
A powerful memoir about mental illness from the perspective of Barbara Lipska, PhD., a neuroscientist whose undiagnosed brain tumors caused dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified her family and coworkers. Also available on audio.
Booklist says, “Her story conveys deep understanding about the brain and how disease, injury, and age can change our very selves.”
Listen: Barbara Lipska on NPR
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund
Through lively anecdotes, this book looks at ten instincts that distort our perspective, preventing us from understanding just how good we have it. These include our tendency to divide the world into two camps, believing the fear baiting media, and perceiving progress. The author Hans Rosling, who passed away in 2017, said, “This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance.” Bill Gates named it as one of his top two books for 2018.
Booklist says, “In an accessible, almost folksy prose, Rosling identifies various reasons why so many of us have ended up with so many faulty ideas about our world.”
Does It Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti
Following the 2017 trending hashtag #doesitfart, Zoologist Dani Rabaiotti and ecologist/conservationist Nick Caruso tackle a topic that turned out to be much more interesting and involved than anybody expected. This is the fully authoritative, fully illustrated guide to animal flatulence, covering 80 animals in more detail than you ever knew you needed. Illustrations by Ethan Kocak.
RisingTideFallingStar: In Search of the Soul of the Sea by Philip Hoare
Not quite a science book, this one, but one of today’s star nature writers, perhaps in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau but a focus on the sea only. John Waters says, “RisingTideFallingStar is so well written, so impassioned, so aqua-obsessed that after reading it you may actually want to drown.”
The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras by Brantley Hargrove
In a field of PhDs, Tim Samaras didn’t attend a day of college in his life. He chased storms with brilliant tools of his own invention and pushed closer to the tornado than anyone else ever dared. Hargrove’s debut offers an unforgettable exploration of obsession and the extremes of the natural world. Also available on audio.
Popular Science says, “This gripping book takes you inside Samaras’ life and tragic death, relying on hours of interviews with friends and family and chase footage to offer an incredible look at his perilous calling.”