15 absorbing nonfiction books to inspire your inner scientist

I’m no science expert, but I love a good book about groundbreaking discoveries, untold stories, or how the world around me works, as discussed in episode 155 of What Should I Read Next. Ashley and her father Brent didn’t think their taste in books overlapped, until they discovered a common interest in science-related books, both fiction or nonfiction. I was pleasantly surprised to hear how many of you shared their interest. 

Many readers responded to that episode with enthusiastic recommendations and fervent requests for more science-y titles, and I’m happy to share these 15 absorbing titles with you today. Whether you prefer nonfiction about space, technology, medicine, or the environment—there’s something here for your TBR.

15 absorbing nonfiction books to inspire your inner scientist
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This genre-defying narrative combines history, science, memoir, and biography. Henrietta Lacks was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who entered Johns Hopkins hospital in the 1950’s for treatment of cervical cancer. Without her permission or knowledge, her cancerous tissue was biopsied and shipped to labs all around the world for scientific research. Scientists named the cells HeLa, and they became the first “immortal” human cells, called such because they thrive in the lab, and have been used to develop the polio vaccine, cure cancer, and fight the flu. But her family didn't discover anything about the cells until more than twenty years after her 1951 death. Skloot unearths the incredible story of how that happened, weaving the tale of the HeLa cells together with Lacks' personal narrative. Skloot investigates and unfolds the far-reaching impact of Lacks’ cells, as well as the sociological and cultural connection to the treatment of African Americans in medicine, the murky waters of bioethics, and the question of consent in scientific research. More info →
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

A fascinating (and at times, disgusting) look at the 1854 cholera epidemic that swept London with tragic force. At the time of the epidemic, London was a thriving metropolis, but lacking in infrastructure to address issues of clean water and waste removal. When the cholera outbreak begins, scientists and doctors were baffled by the disease and the rate at which it spread, thinking that perhaps it originated in noxious odors. Dr. John Snow, now renowned as a heroic figure in the field of epidemiology, was at the time considered unorthodox in his approach to solving the mystery. Fair warning, readers: Johnson’s descriptive attention to London’s ineffective handling of human waste may make you squeamish. More info →
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Like the women in The Glass Universe, the women in Hidden Figures were employed as calculators at NASA during the Space Race era. These women were segregated from their white counterparts and were the object of ruthless discrimination, despite their important work calculating flight paths for space missions. They ultimately worked their way up to highly influential positions in science, physics, mathematics, and technology; this book highlights their triumphs and the struggles that came first. Shetterly touches on the culture of the United States at this time relating to the Space Race, the civil rights movement, the Cold War, and the women's' rights movement. More info →
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World

Though you may not recognize his name, Alexander von Humboldt was the father of modern environmentalism and the most famous scientist of his age. Born in the late 18th century, he had a deep love for outdoor exploration and traversed the globe in search of unusual environments. Von Humboldt was friends with Thomas Jefferson, inspired Darwin and Thoreau, and was passionate about helping humans understand our relationship to the natural world. In this biography, Wulf captures the man as endlessly passionate, progressive, and impactful. More info →
The Radium Girls

The Radium Girls

Not long after the Curies discovered the miracle element of radium, the stuff was everywhere: in beauty products, tonic water, even toothpaste. Women employed in U.S. factories used it to paint luminous clock dials for military planes. The radium-laced paint caused the women to actually glow in the dark, granting them the nickname “the shining girls.” Others envied the shining girls, until those same women started to experience mysterious and terrifying health issues. The factory owners denied the connection between the paint and the radium girls’ illnesses, and the resulting conflict resulted in a headline-worthy scandal that had long-term implications for worker safety. An incredibly researched, captivating read. More info →
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

We talked in Episode 155 about the unfortunate overuse of “girls” in titles these days, but make no mistake: the women behind this story were truly remarkable and their contributions to cryptanalysis significant. More than ten thousand women worked as codebreakers for the U.S. Army and Navy during WWII. Despite their critical role in protecting the Allies and exposing the plans of the Axis powers, their work in cryptanalysis was kept secret. Mundy conducted extensive research to capture their story, including interviews with surviving code girls. More info →
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

When Rovelli included the word “brief” in this title, he meant it. In under 100 pages, Rovelli guides readers through seven of most revolutionary breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including accessible and enthralling descriptions of general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, and the role of humans in the greater universe. This slim volume is hailed by readers as an introduction to physics for the average human, in stylish, and sometimes even gorgeous, prose. More info →
Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon


The riveting, behind-the-scenes story of three astronauts who bravely took on NASA’s Apollo 8 mission to the Moon in late 1968. Just a few months before the Apollo 8 launched into space, NASA abandoned its customary slow and methodical approach to space exploration because they were desperate to beat the Soviets in the Space Race. Kurson weaves together the daring and suspenseful journey to the Moon, the impact of the Apollo 8 mission on the families of the astronauts, and the cultural mood in America at the time of the launch.

More info →
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars


In Episode 155, Brent loved this untold story of the women who were employed as calculators by the male astronomers working at the Harvard Observatory in the mid-nineteenth century. They worked to interpret the displays captured on glass photographic plates, categorize the stars, and measure distances in space by starlight. The collection of half a million glass plates made up the “glass universe” of the Harvard Observatory, and these women became groundbreaking scientists in various fields.

More info →
The Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight

The Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight

The relatively unknown story of thirteen women who underwent astronaut training at the legendary Lovelace Foundation, though they never had the opportunity to journey into space with their male counterparts, widely known as the the Mercury 7. The women underwent the same tests and rigorous programming, sometimes with higher scores than their male colleagues. Though never recognized, these women women nevertheless went on to do great things in a wide variety of fields. More info →
Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima

Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima

Preston writes widely in the genre of historical nonfiction, but not always in the realm of science. In Before the Fallout, Preston explores the "human chain reaction" that led to the nuclear fission bomb, beginning in 1898 with Marie Curie’s discovery of radium and its connection to atomic energy, and ending with the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima. The book features key players like Albert Einstein, Hitler, and Robert Oppenheimer, and also highlights lesser-known scientists who contributed to the incredibly fast development of atomic technology. More info →
The Making of the Atomic Bomb

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Brent read this for work and enjoyed it for its own sake; Rhodes addresses the key players in developing the atomic bomb, the discovery of atomic structure, and the eventual development of the bombs that would change the scope of World War II. Nuclear energy was first discussed in theoretical terms less than three decades before the Trinity nuclear test; the book takes readers from the speculative interest in nuclear technology to the biggest moments in nuclear history and its far-reaching implications. Brent found it captivating and page-turning, and his enthusiasm left Ashley and me eager to pick it up. More info →
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Ashley called this a favorite because it “read like a fascinating podcast,” with factual information conveyed in a conversational, engaging way. Our microbes are part of our immune systems, protecting us from harmful bacteria and contributing to our overall wellness. Yong describes the microbes that exist in every organism and the connections they forge between all living creatures. Ashley said practically every page of her copy is dog-eared and underlined; we’ll take that as high praise. More info →
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Mary Roach is widely known for her popular science nonfiction. In Stiff, Roach explores the history of human cadavers and their role in various scientific discoveries. With engrossing information on the process of human decomposition, organ donation, and various uses for human cadavers, Roach approaches the subject with humor. If your HSP tendencies include a weak stomach, this one may not be a great choice for you, but my HSP self found this fascinating. More info →
The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World

The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World

If you’ve ever heard (or attempted) the tongue twister, “She sells sea shells by the sea shore,” you may be interested in the story of the woman who inspired it, Mary Anning, who was only 12 years old when she made her first important scientific discovery. In 1811, she was a burgeoning naturalist who enjoyed searching for “treasures” on the cliffs of England; she stumbled upon the fossil of an of an ichthyosaur. Anning’s discoveries led to a career in fossil hunting, inspired Charles Darwin in writing The Origin of Species, and shaped the field of paleontology. More info →

Do you have any favorite books to share? Tell us all about them in comments!

P.S. Want a good novel along these lines? Check out the new release Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini,  State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, and The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict.

15 absorbing nonfiction books to inspire your inner scientist


Leave A Comment
  1. Julie R says:

    So many good ones are already on the list! I’d like to add The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
    Book by Denise Kiernan and anything by May Berenbaum Bugs in the System and The Earwigs Tale. Carl Zimmer also writes great science books including She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, Science Ink (about science inspired tattoos) and A Planet of Viruses.

  2. Christine says:

    I’ve read quite a few of these books and I’m going to add the ones I missed to my TBR list! From the ones I have read, I loved The Mercury 13 best!!!

  3. Jones says:

    I second the nod to Carl Zimmer’s She Has Her Mother’s Laugh. It is an excellent overview of the development of the science of heredity and where we stand today with many exciting new discoveries. Guns, Steel and Germs by Jared Diamond is also a stand-out read on the development of modern man/woman. I highly recommend it.

  4. Lisa Turner says:

    Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard. Brings to light the story of the “city” created just to work on the atomic bomb. The lives of the people who worked in secrecy(many not even knowing why they were helping to create!!)

  5. Dawn says:

    Thanks for these suggestions – I’m always on the lookout for great non-fiction, especially if it reads as smoothly as fiction. Personally, I’m a big fan of Susan Casey – The Wave (colossal waves), Devil’s Teeth (great white sharks) and Voices in the Ocean (dolphins).

  6. Adrianne says:

    I echo all of the sentiments about Hope Jahren’s “Lab Girl.” I recently read it for my Women in STEM book club, and it was excellent. One of the best books I have read in recent memory.

    I also would suggest “Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet” by Claire L. Evans. That is the book club’s current read. Overall, I thought this was a very well-rounded and compelling list!

  7. Nick E Ertz says:

    I love a good history of science book and frequently intersperse my fiction reading with some good science books.
    Here are my latest recommendations.
    A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age
    by Jimmy Soni, Rob Goodman
    Here is the story about the smartest man and contemporary of Einstein that no one knows about. His work makes sending large amounts of data flying around the internet possible.

    Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality
    by Anil Ananthaswamy
    Here is an excellent explanation of all the lovely weirdness of quantum theory. A good survey of then and now in Quantum science.

    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
    by Yuval Noah Harari
    This is a history of “us”. How did our genes ever make it this far?

    Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us
    by Sam Kean
    Yes, that lung full of air you just took in contains a few of the molecules that Ceasar exhaled in his last breath. Want to know where the rest of it comes from, read this book.

  8. Sherry Sharpnack says:

    Other books by Mary Roach are also good, eg “Gut,” which is about digestion and our microbiome. “The Gene” is a comprehensive look at unraveling the history of genetic theory, also good.

  9. Renee says:

    I love all of Dava Sobel’s work! I just finished I Contain Multitudes and it was teriffic! I also love Bomb by Steve Shenkin – it’s for younger readers, but it’s fascinating! Oliver Sacks & Steven Pinker are two of my favorite science/social science writers.

  10. Dee says:

    Great list. I have to call out one grammar edit, not because I’m dying to catch Modern Mrs. Darcy in a mistake, but because it’s an error that has been spreading wider and wider.

    Your wrote about about The Making of the Atomic Bomb, “Brent found it captivating and page-turning, and his enthusiasm left Ashley and I eager to pick it up.” It should be “…left Ashley and me eager to pick it up.”

    I think kids are corrected so often when they say “John and me are going to…” that it becomes second nature to think it’s always John and I in every situation. But it’s only I if, when you take John away, I still makes sense. You would never say “…left I eager to pick it up.”

    My big pet peeve used to be less/fewer but I/me is steadily overtaking it and that is why you, my dear, wonderful Anne, are bearing the brunt of my grammar-Nazi-dom today! Sorry!

    • I’m with you!! The less/fewer thing drives me up the WALL! And I made a lot of I/me errors over the years, thanks to my mother drilling it into me all my life… you’d better believe that when I learned the true grammar rule, I called her straightaway and (I can’t think of a way to put it diplomatically) rubbed her face in it ?? You’re not alone!

    • Debi Morton says:

      Dee, I saw that grammar goof, as well, but frankly, I’m getting so used to people doing it that I’ve just given up. That’s not to say that I don’t still cringe every single time. My husband keeps telling me this is how language evolves, and I tell him these people are just wrong! The worst is when certain podcasters, not MMD fortunately, say “Me and her…” as the subject of the sentence. Aargh! I just can’t!?

      • Dee says:

        It is very common. I think commercials are the biggest offenders and cause the greatest harm – because it makes everyone think it’s acceptable.

      • Dee says:

        We have all been there! I cringe at the things that slip through the alumni magazine I produce, even with multiple eyes on it!

  11. Amanda Williamson says:

    “The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time” by John Kelly has stuck with me for years.
    And gave me a slight phobia of fleas and mice. 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, I have to read this! I still remember reading a National Geographic in the mid-eighties about the plague. I was completely absorbed. Years later I found a copy and shared it with my students.

  12. Liza says:

    I don’t remember authors (and am too lazy to look them up right now), but two that I enjoy are What Einstein Told His Cook and Proof. The Einstein book is about the chemistry involved in cooking and Proof is the science behind making alcoholic drinks. As a chemist turned homemaker, both are fascinating to me. I don’t read much nonfiction, but both of these are in the storytelling style that is a must in order for me to get through them.

  13. Trisha says:

    Another great science book is The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. This may be the first nonfiction read that convinced me it can be as engaging and page turning as fiction.

  14. Laura says:

    Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes who Fought Them was a great popular science read. The author has made it lighthearted and approachable (or at least sarcastic) for the topic!

  15. Rebecca W says:

    Highly recommend Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby and this book was fascinating Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan.

  16. Katy says:

    I would add The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
    Book by Denise Kiernan. This was the first book I read when I wanted to start to read more non-fiction. Also, loved Lab Girl and Rise of the Rocket Girls. I look forward to reading several of these new to me titles. Thanks!

  17. Katharine says:

    Highly recommend Longitude by Dava Sobel. I think the podcast episode mentioned another Sobel book, but this was my favorite. A teacher recommended it to me when I was in High School and I think it was the first non-fiction book I read voluntarily and enjoyed!

    • SoCalLynn says:

      I have to add Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements for Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. I found this book fascinating and at times, hilarious. So did my daughter, when I made her read it for high school chemistry (home school.) The old scientists were absolutely nuts.

  18. Noelle Tirapelli says:

    Hello, I enjoyed episode 155. I have it in my bullet journal as one to resource / follow comments for books to read with my son, Matthew. It was an answer to a prayer about ways for me to connect with my youngest son (20yrs), he has an amazing curiosity and depth of knowledge in the science field. I have read some of these on the list but look forward to reading many of them. More TBR-its a great thing.

  19. Rita says:

    I was fascinated reading Thoms Hager’s “The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield to Nazi Labs, One Doctor’s Heroic Search for the World’s First Miracle Drug” about the discovery of antibiotics.

  20. Erin says:

    I highly recommend The Emperor of All Maladies by Mukherjee and also Dreamland by Quinones. The first is a biography of cancer and was fascinating and surprisingly not depressing. The second is about the rise of the opiate epidemic in America. it was fascinating and rather disturbing.

  21. Suzy says:

    The Invention of Air, a Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and The Birth of America by Steven Johnson – about Joseph Priestly who discovered oxygen, and so much more. Also The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande – not sure if this is exactly scientific but so fascinating!

    • Katie says:

      Oh! Also his book “The Pluto Files” is s super fascinating look at Pluto being redefined to no longer being a planet and the reasons for it.

  22. Katrina says:

    I found Stiff fascinating! I think Mary Roach’s humor and sensitivity made it much less morbid to read.
    I would also recommend The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, all about the mysterious octopus.
    Another fun one I’m reading right now is The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean, with stories about elements and the creation of the periodic table. My son is reading the Young Reader edition with me, which isn’t dumbed down at all.

    • Heather says:

      Finally, someone says our family favorite— Dissapearing Spoon, AND Napoleons Buttons AND (for kids) Irresponsible Science. It’s really not as irresponsible as the title, but a lot of fun!

  23. Allyson says:

    In the fiction category, our book club had a great discussion on “Intuition” by Allegra Goodman. It concerned a medical research lab in Cambridge MA, the pressure to find a cure for cancer, and the temptation to falsify data.

  24. Amy says:

    It was on one of your summer reading lists years ago, but I loved The Remedy about trying to find a cure for Tuberculosis.

    I’m also currently reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, by Samin Nosrat. It’s technically a cookbook, but there are 200 pages of information before you get to the recipes. It’s the best book about food science I’ve read in a long time (probably since Michael Pollan’s Cooked).

  25. Karen P. Parnell says:

    Physics for Future Presidents is an informative read on how Physics impacts public policy. Very readable for the non-scientist, too!

  26. SoCalLynn says:

    I have to add Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements for Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. I found this book fascinating and at times, hilarious. So did my daughter, when I made her read it for high school chemistry (home school.) The old scientists were absolutely nuts.

  27. Gloria Drake says:

    “Broad Band” by Claire L. Evans. First, love the title. It is catchy and appropriate for a book about the origins of the Internet in general and especially the women who played a pivotal role.
    It is important history and women were largely shortchanged. This is a bit similar to “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly in its effort to give credit where credit is due.

  28. Ginger says:

    Wow, so many interesting titles here!! The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Bloom was really interesting (plus, that title keeps your housemates on their toes! ?).

    Another vote for Mary Roach, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

    The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins. This occasionally went over my head—no matter how many times carbon dating is explained to me, I still can’t quite make it all fit into the nooks and crannies of my brain—and Dawkins’ tone toward creationists can be pretty condescending; while I understand his frustrations, this is unfortunate. This would be a good book to put into curious folks’ hands, but the tone might turn them off from further reading/exploration. If you believe in evolution because there’s proof of it, but you can’t quite go much farther with specific examples than fossils and finches, this is a good book to pick up.

    This may be reaching a bit for “science” reads, but it involves a lot of cause and effect, observation, and a weather phenomenon, so I think it counts! ? The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan in conjunction with Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Both are good on their own, but together I think they tell a really compelling story about human effects on nature.

  29. I can’t wait to read Stiff, AND Radium Girls! Both sound like fantastic reads, and you’re nudging them higher up my TBR with your descriptions of them here 😉 I would also add to this list Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything (hands-down the best pop-science book I’ve ever read, I can’t recommend it highly enough for non-scientists) and also The Trauma Cleaner, which is far more niche but so touching and eye-opening!!

  30. Ginger says:

    Oh! One more! Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Their Tales. Definitely not for the squeamish—the whole point at The Body Farm is to dicover what happens to dead bodies under various conditions—but very interesting.

  31. CSmith says:

    I really loved the book, “Longitude” by Dava Sobel, which told the story of the struggle to find a way to reckon position on the open sea.
    Also, it has one of my favorite closing lines of any book.

  32. Deb says:

    I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier this summer and really enjoyed it. Ultimately it is a fictional novel, but it is based on the relationship between Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot and how they handle searching, selling and credit for their discoveries.

  33. Stephanie S says:

    Great list! I just added several to my TBR list. I’m currentky reading The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum and it’s good so far. The tag line is: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade For Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. It’s all about the poisonous food additives put into food before there was any regulation.

  34. Mary Rohrer says:

    The Great Influenza by John Berry
    Polio An American Story by David Oshinsky
    Anything by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Erik Larson or Candice Millard.
    Also I just finished Amity and Prosperity by Eliza Grizwold and enjoyed it. Currently on audio I am listening to Madeline Albright’s Fascism: A Warning and it is great too.

  35. Ellen Berkowitz says:

    Gathering Moss, by Robin Kimmerer. Beautifully written, it’s a fascinating book about moss and life. Who would have thought that moss would be so wonderful! I couldn’t put it down and now can’t help stopping to examine moss on my daily walks.
    Thanks for this great list!

  36. Christine says:

    Back in 2010, Tracy Chevalier wrote “Remarkable Creatures”, a wonderful novel about Mary Anning’s fossil hunting along the sea cliffs in England and her struggle to be recognized for her work. Loved it!

  37. Lauren says:

    This is an old title, but The World Without Us is an exploration of exactly how quickly the earth would reclaim itself if humans suddenly disappeared. It was fascinating, frightening and somewhat reassuring to know that the human race could disappear and life would go on.

  38. Karen says:

    The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration by Bernd Heinrich and The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human by Noah Strycker. We humans like to think we’re more intelligent than birds and other creatures, but more and less is a completely unhelpful way of looking at intelligence. It’s just completely, and amazingly, different, like comparing apples and oranges.

  39. Jennifer Shepard says:

    Scott Kelly’s Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery was fascinating. I also enjoyed Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars and Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick.

  40. I am not sure if it is “science” but I just DEVOURED The Feather Thief! It was a surprisingly fascinating read. Radium Girls is on my To Read pile right now – gotta go clear that out. 🙂

  41. Cheya Weber says:

    One of my favorite books of 2018 is Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright. It has a 4.5 star rating on amazon.com by over 4,000 readers. I listened to the audio which is read by the author. I loved the information and learning about the people involved in fighting the plagues and how they did it. Wright offers touches of humor that made me laugh out loud. Definitely a book for your list.

  42. Karrie says:

    I have to add “The Poisoner’s Handbook” to this list. About the start of forensic medicine – based on real crimes in the 1920’s. I couldn’t put it down.

  43. Elizabeth Super says:

    Recent book “Burn” by Herman Pontzer, written quite engagingly, presents new evidence about how humans really burn calories.

  44. Taylor B. says:

    Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness
    by Nathanael Johnson

    It was already mentioned above, but The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is also excellent… and I think it was mentioned in Unseen City and that’s how I found it!

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