She Writes: Science

This month's collection of titles for our “She Writes” series focuses on the topic of science. We're featuring nonfiction science all written by women. Below you'll find available formats, but we also have a curated list with additional titles in OverDrive that you can checkout here. Find last month's post on graphic novels here.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
“The charm of this book (inasmuch as a book about extinction can have charm) lies in Kolbert's hands-on approach to her subject–searching for Panamanian frogs in the dark, hunting for graptolite fossils in Scotland, and observing coral spawning at Australia's Great Barrier Reef. This solid, engaging, multidisciplinary science title should appeal to a broad range of science enthusiasts, particularly those interested in environmental conservation.”–Library Journal

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Library Collection: Print, large print, and CD audiobook
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
“Shetterly, founder of the Human Computer Project, passionately brings to light the important and little-known story of the black women mathematicians hired to work as computers at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Va., part of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NASA's precursor)…Exploring the intimate relationships among blackness, womanhood, and 20th-century American technological development, Shetterly crafts a narrative that is crucial to understanding subsequent movements for civil rights.”–Publishers Weekly

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
“Award-winning scientist Jahren (Geology and Geophysics/Univ. of Hawaii) delivers a personal memoir and a paean to the natural world…Jahren's journey from struggling student to struggling scientist has the narrative tension of a novel and characters she imbues with real depth.”–Kirkus

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs From Outer Space by Janna Levin
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“This timely book enlarges the much-covered story of the proof of gravitational waves uncovered by LIGO in 2015. Levin relates a complicated subject conversationally in a way that will appeal to those interested in current events and scientific discovery.”–Library Journal

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“In her first book, Czerski entertainingly mixes reports of her anyone-can-do-this experiments with serious questions about the world in which we live. Throughout, she urges readers to use critical thinking by applying knowledge of physics to evaluate statements made by advertisers or politicians.”–Booklist

The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“Drawing on the wisdom of a variety of pioneering physicists, the author delivers a sleek narrative of discovery. Mack's pleasing writing style makes speculating about the death of the universe unexpectedly entertaining.”–Kirkus

Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us by Ruth Kassinger
Library: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“Gardening and botany writer Kassinger (A Garden of Marvels) mingles ecology and 3.7 billion years of Earth’s history to explain the importance and ubiquity of algae, from the cyanobacteria, which first released oxygen into the atmosphere, to the invasive azolla, cherished by organic rice farmers. In chirpy prose chock-full of homespun metaphors—'With pyrenoids, microalgae were cooking on a professional range instead of a hot plate'—Kassinger turns an obscure subject into delightful reading.”–Publishers Weekly

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
Library: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“The ever-curious Montgomery (author of Temple Grandin), a naturalist who writes books for children and adults alike, sets out on a quest to learn what it's like to be an octopus after she meets an octopus named Athena at the New England Aquarium…Montgomery's deep love of these creatures often causes her to excessively anthropomorphize them, but her depictions of her intimate experiences with her cephalopod friends ring true, allowing readers to see them in an entirely new light.”–Publishers Weekly

The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth's Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams
Library: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
New Yorker staff writer Williams uses the story of fossil enthusiast Eric Prokopi to illuminate the murky world of modern fossil hunting in this fascinating account…Williams provides just the right amount of context, from the long-standing tensions between paleontologists and commercial fossil dealers, to Mongolia’s hardscrabble history since the days of Genghis Khan.”–Publishers Weekly

Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“Exploring varied species of whales, Giggs shares how their anatomy, uniquely suited for their lives as sea-faring mammals, proves lethal when they are on land…In lyrical language, Giggs leads readers on a journey through underwater cultures and the place of whales in the chain of life.”–Library Journal

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Library Collection: Print, large print, and CD audiobook
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
“What Skloot so poignantly portrays is the devastating impact Henrietta’s death and the eventual importance of her cells had on her husband and children…Letting people and events speak for themselves, Skloot tells a rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society’s most vulnerable people.”–Publishers Weekly

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks by Amy Stewart
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“The history of fermentation and distillation, the origins of plant-based medicines, tips on growing your own plants and more than 50 cocktail recipes add multiple layers to an already vast amount of information on botanicals. Gardeners, nature lovers and mixologists will find themselves reaching frequently for this volume; the hard part will be deciding what to try next as they discover that a liquor store is really ‘a fantastical greenhouse, the world's most exotic botanical garden, the sort of strange and overgrown conservatory we only encounter in our dreams.'”–Kirkus

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
“When it first came out…Silent Spring ignited a firestorm of concern about pesticide and herbicide use, and the chemicals' long-term effects on global ecology. Widely credited with ensuring the ban of DDT, the book's warning of consequences remains fresh today.”–AudioFile

Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“There are profiles of special individuals: Goblin, who was determined to rise to the top and stay there; Jomeo, without social ambition; Gigi, a sterile female; Melissa, mother of successful offspring. Other stories of the chimpanzees include a brutal war between troops; a gruesome affair of cannibalism; incidents of injury, death and grief.”–Publishers Weekly

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
“A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize…With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: ‘I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.'”–Kirkus

Gulp by Mary Roach
Library Collection: Print and CD audiobook
OverDrive and Libby: eBook and audiobook
“Filled with witty asides, humorous anecdotes, and bizarre facts, this book will entertain readers, challenge their cultural taboos, and simultaneously teach them new lessons in digestive biology.”–Library Journal

Stiff: The Curious Live of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: Audiobook
“‘Uproariously funny' doesn't seem a likely description for a book on cadavers. However, Roach, a Salon and Reader's Digest columnist, has done the nearly impossible and written a book as informative and respectful as it is irreverent and witty.”–Publishers Weekly

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“Casey, O magazine editor-in-chief, travels across the world and into the past to confront the largest waves the oceans have to offer. This dangerous water includes rogue waves south of Africa, storm-born giants near Hawaii, and the biggest wave ever recorded, a 1,740 foot-high wall of wave (taller than one and a third Empire State Buildings) that blasted the Alaska coastline in 1958.”–Publishers Weekly

Figuring by Maria Popova
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“The ever-curious thinker behind the celebrated website Brain Pickings, Popova brings her hunger for facts and zeal for biography to this exhilarating and omnivorous inquiry into the lives of geniuses who bridged the scientific and poetic…Writing with an ardor for language and musing on chance, affinity, and our fear of change, Popova constructs an intricate biographical cosmos that is intellectually scintillating, artistically wondrous, and deeply affecting.”–Booklist

A Big Bang in a Little Room: The Quest to Create New Universes by Zeeya Merali
Library Collection: Print
OverDrive and Libby: eBook
“It's a mind-boggling concept fraught with implications about our own universe's origin, but scientists argue that it may someday be possible to create a new universe not so unlike our own in a lab. In her elegant and perceptive book, Merali unpacks the science behind what we know about our universe's beginnings and traces the paths that many renowned researchers have taken to translate these insights to new heights: the creation of a brand-new ‘baby' universe, and not an empty one, either, but one with its own physics, matter, and (possibly) life.”–Kirkus

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