A science book recommendation: Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places by Anna Pavord

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cyjfOU.
An American reader ends up wanting to invite Pavord, obviously a very thoughtful companion, on a trip to the Alaskan wilderness or the California desert.
Book description from Google Books:
In Landskipping, Anna Pavord explores some of Britain’s most iconic landscapes in the past, in the present, and in literature. With her passionate, personal, and lyrical style, Pavord considers how different artists and agriculturists have responded to these environments. Like the author’s previous book The Tulip, Landskipping is as sublime and picturesque as its subject. Landskipping features an eclectic mix of locations, both ecologically and culturally significant, such as the Highlands of Scotland, the famous landscapes of the Lake District, and the Celtic hill forts of the West Country. These are some of the most recognizable landscapes in all of Britain. Along the way, Pavord annotates her fascinating journey with evocative descriptions of the country’s natural beauty and brings to life travelers of earlier times who left fascinating accounts of their journeys by horseback and on foot through the most remote corners of the British Isles.
The book is rated 3.35/5 at goodreads.com, from 34 ratings. See 8 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1TEfdnE.
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A science book recommendation: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2truUs2.
…it is lively, provocative and sure to be another hit among the pooh-bahs. But readers ought to be prepared: Almost every blithe pronouncement Harari makes (that “the free individual is just a fictional tale concocted by an assembly of biochemical algorithms,” for instance) has been the exclusive subject of far more nuanced books…
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.
The book is rated 4.34/5 at goodreads.com, from 17093 ratings. See 1863 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2fmPMtw.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2truUYL.

A science book recommendation: Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology by Eric H. Cline

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wwG2RN.
Cline is fortunate to be a leader in this remarkable profession and readers are lucky that he knows how to write about it with precision and joy.
Book description from Google Books:
From the bestselling author of 1177 B.C., a comprehensive history of archaeology–from its amateur beginnings to the cutting-edge science it is today. In 1922, Howard Carter peered into Tutankhamun’s tomb for the first time, the only light coming from the candle in his outstretched hand. Urged to tell what he was seeing through the small opening he had cut in the door to the tomb, the Egyptologist famously replied, “I see wonderful things.” Carter’s fabulous discovery is just one of the many spellbinding stories told in Three Stones Make a Wall. Written by Eric Cline, an archaeologist with more than thirty seasons of excavation experience, Three Stones Make a Wall traces the history of archaeology from an amateur pursuit to the cutting-edge science it is today by taking the reader on a tour of major archaeological sites and discoveries, from Pompeii to Petra, Troy to the Terracotta Warriors, and Mycenae to Megiddo and Masada. Cline brings to life the personalities behind these digs, including Heinrich Schliemann, the former businessman who excavated Troy, and Mary Leakey, whose discoveries advanced our understanding of human origins. The discovery of the peoples and civilizations of the past is presented in vivid detail, from the Hittites and Minoans to the Inca, Aztec, and Moche. Along the way, the book addresses the questions archaeologists are asked most often: How do you know where to dig? How are excavations actually done? How do you know how old something is? Who gets to keep what is found? Taking readers from the pioneering digs of the eighteenth century to the exciting new discoveries being made today, Three Stones Make a Wall is a lively and essential introduction to the story of archaeology.
The book is rated 4.08/5 at goodreads.com, from 49 ratings. See 10 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xafqtx.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wwwuWI.

A science book recommendation: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2txuIre.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last Hermit may not appeal to everyone. But for those who desire an amazing true story that is told with immeasurable depth and compassion, it is an extraordinary glimpse into a world that defies much of what we think we know about people.
Book description from Google Books:
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.  A New York Times bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 12355 ratings. See 2015 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2paTfvV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2paTU0h.

A science book recommendation: Thank You for Being Late: Pausing to Reflect on the Twenty-First Century by Thomas L. Friedman

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2p2EzSY.
You do have a coherent narrative — an honest, cohesive explanation for why the world is the way it is, without miracle cures or scapegoats. And that is why everybody should hope this book does very well indeed.
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times Bestseller A field guide to the twenty-first century, written by one of its most celebrated observersWe all sense it—something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once—and it is dizzying. In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike anything he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman’s original analysis. Friedman begins by taking us into his own way of looking at the world—how he writes a column. After a quick tutorial, he proceeds to write what could only be called a giant column about the twenty-first century. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. Why is this happening? As Friedman shows, the exponential increase in computing power defined by Moore’s law has a lot to do with it. The year 2007 was a major inflection point: the release of the iPhone, together with advances in silicon chips, software, storage, sensors, and networking, created a new technology platform. Friedman calls this platform “the supernova”—for it is an extraordinary release of energy that is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world—or to destroy it. Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It’s also an argument for “being late”—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and to reflect on its possibilities and dangers. To amplify this point, Friedman revisits his Minnesota hometown in his moving concluding chapters; there, he explores how communities can create a “topsoil of trust” to anchor their increasingly diverse and digital populations. With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is Friedman’s most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.
The book is rated 3.98/5 at goodreads.com, from 3748 ratings. See 608 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2pKEWQf.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pKF0iX.

A science book recommendation: The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future by Joselin Linder

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2wyNg7G.
In her crisply written, deeply informed memoir, “The Family Gene,” Joselin Linder captures the dread and fatigue that accompanies such an odyssey, how it ripples out to engulf multiple branches of a family.
Book description from Google Books:
A riveting medical mystery about a young woman’s quest to uncover the truth about her likely fatal genetic disorder that opens a window onto the exploding field of genomic medicineWhen Joselin Linder was in her twenties her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Struggling to find  an explanation for her unusual condition, Joselin compared the medical chart of her father—who had died from a mysterious disease, ten years prior—with that of an uncle who had died under similarly strange circumstances. Delving further into the past, she discovered that her great-grandmother had displayed symptoms similar to hers before her death. Clearly, this was more than a fluke. Setting out to build a more complete picture of the illness that haunted her family, Joselin approached Dr. Christine Seidman, the head of a group of world-class genetic researchers at Harvard Medical School, for help. Dr. Seidman had been working on her family’s case for twenty years and had finally confirmed that fourteen of Joselin’s relatives carried something called a private mutation—meaning that they were the first known people to experience the baffling symptoms of a brand new genetic mutation. Here, Joselin tells the story of their gene: the lives it claimed and the future of genomic medicine with the potential to save those that remain. Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with relatives and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with the Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write a gripping and unforgettable exploration of family, history, and love. A compelling chronicle of survival and perseverance, The Family Gene is an important story of a young woman reckoning with her father’s death, her own mortality, and her ethical obligations to herself and those closest to her.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 333 ratings. See 69 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xcYYIL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wyj4Ka.

A science book recommendation: Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology by Eric H. Cline

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wwG2RN.
Cline is fortunate to be a leader in this remarkable profession and readers are lucky that he knows how to write about it with precision and joy.
Book description from Google Books:
From the bestselling author of 1177 B.C., a comprehensive history of archaeology–from its amateur beginnings to the cutting-edge science it is today. In 1922, Howard Carter peered into Tutankhamun’s tomb for the first time, the only light coming from the candle in his outstretched hand. Urged to tell what he was seeing through the small opening he had cut in the door to the tomb, the Egyptologist famously replied, “I see wonderful things.” Carter’s fabulous discovery is just one of the many spellbinding stories told in Three Stones Make a Wall. Written by Eric Cline, an archaeologist with more than thirty seasons of excavation experience, Three Stones Make a Wall traces the history of archaeology from an amateur pursuit to the cutting-edge science it is today by taking the reader on a tour of major archaeological sites and discoveries, from Pompeii to Petra, Troy to the Terracotta Warriors, and Mycenae to Megiddo and Masada. Cline brings to life the personalities behind these digs, including Heinrich Schliemann, the former businessman who excavated Troy, and Mary Leakey, whose discoveries advanced our understanding of human origins. The discovery of the peoples and civilizations of the past is presented in vivid detail, from the Hittites and Minoans to the Inca, Aztec, and Moche. Along the way, the book addresses the questions archaeologists are asked most often: How do you know where to dig? How are excavations actually done? How do you know how old something is? Who gets to keep what is found? Taking readers from the pioneering digs of the eighteenth century to the exciting new discoveries being made today, Three Stones Make a Wall is a lively and essential introduction to the story of archaeology.
The book is rated 4.08/5 at goodreads.com, from 49 ratings. See 10 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xafqtx.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wwwuWI.

A science book recommendation: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2txuIre.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last Hermit may not appeal to everyone. But for those who desire an amazing true story that is told with immeasurable depth and compassion, it is an extraordinary glimpse into a world that defies much of what we think we know about people.
Book description from Google Books:
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.  A New York Times bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 12164 ratings. See 1993 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2paTfvV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2paTU0h.

A science book recommendation: A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2uRbvx8.
…if everyone could adopt the level of healthy statistical scepticism that Mr Levitin would like, political debate would be in much better shape. This book is an indispensable trainer.
Book description from Google Books:
From The New York Times bestselling author of The Organized Mind and This is Your Brain on Music, a primer to the critical thinking that is more necessary now than ever. We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process–especially in election season. It’s raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports revealing the ways lying weasels can use them. It’s becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin groups his field guide into two categories–statistical infomation and faulty arguments–ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. Infoliteracy means understanding that there are hierarchies of source quality and bias that variously distort our information feeds via every media channel, including social media. We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct, but they so often aren’t. We need to think critically about the words and numbers we encounter if we want to be successful at work, at play, and in making the most of our lives. This means checking the plausibility and reasoning–not passively accepting information, repeating it, and making decisions based on it. Readers learn to avoid the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin’s charming, entertaining, accessible guide can help anyone wake up to a whole lot of things that aren’t so. And catch some lying weasels in their tracks!  
The book is rated 3.74/5 at goodreads.com, from 1140 ratings. See 223 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uzpmgc.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uyW1mp.

A science book recommendation: Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uPFINb.
Butter: A Rich History is the pastry chef and food writer’s ode to the humble pantry staple and edifying look at how an accidental dairy byproduct has endured time, criticism and outright legal persecution.
Book description from Google Books:
“Edifying from every point of view–historical, cultural, and culinary.” –David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes   It’s a culinary catalyst, an agent of change, a gastronomic rock star. Ubiquitous in the world’s most fabulous cuisines, butter is boss. Here, it finally gets its due. After traveling across three continents to stalk the modern story of butter, award-winning food writer and former pastry chef Elaine Khosrova serves up a story as rich, textured, and culturally relevant as butter itself. From its humble agrarian origins to its present-day artisanal glory, butter has a fascinating story to tell, and Khosrova is the perfect person to tell it. With tales about the ancient butter bogs of Ireland, the pleasure dairies of France, and the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet, Khosrova details butter’s role in history, politics, economics, nutrition, and even spirituality and art. Readers will also find the essential collection of core butter recipes, including beurre mani�, croissants, p�te bris�e, and the only buttercream frosting anyone will ever need, as well as practical how-tos for making various types of butter at home–or shopping for the best. “A fascinating, tasty read . . . And what a bonus to have a collection of essential classic butter recipes included.” –David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes “Following the path blazed by Margaret Visser in Much Depends on Dinner, Elaine Khosrova makes much of butter and the ruminants whose milk man churns. You will revel in dairy physics. And you may never eat margarine again.” –John T.  Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South “Butter proves that close study can reveal rich history, lore, and practical information. All that and charm too.” –Mimi Sheraton, author of 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die “Irresistible and fascinating . . . This is one of those definitive books on a subject that every cook should have.” –Elisabeth Prueitt, co-owner of Tartine Bakery “The history of one of the most delectable ingredients throughout our many cultures and geography over time is wonderfully churned and emulsified in Khosrova’s Butter . . . Delightful storytelling.” –Elizabeth Falkner, author of Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 226 ratings. See 62 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uPBWmT.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uPpSSx.