Look, we're not saying that the required reading for classes can't be fun – but now that it's summer, it's nice to create your own reading list, right? No matter what you're into, there's a fun and interesting new science book you won't want to put down. Try one of these books to step up your beach-read game this summer!
Into Animals and Biology?
Summer's the best time to get outside and get hands-on learning about nature. But if the weather's not cooperating, these reads will help you explore the natural world from the comfort of your home.
Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson
When it comes to animal intelligence, whales are near the top. Some scientists even think they could be smarter than humans! But exactly how whales think, act and evolved remains a mystery – one that Smithsonian paleontologist Nick Pyenson starts to unravel in this book, thanks to the help of the Smithsonian's impressive collection of fossils. This one's a must-read into you're into evolution – or you're taking a beach vacation and want to learn more about ocean wildlife!
Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson
If you've followed biology and climate change over the past few years, chances are you've heard one word over and over: pollinators. And as one of the biggest pollinator species, bees are responsible for keeping tons of essential crops – like almonds, apples and more – going, which makes them crucial for our food supply. Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees walks you through exactly why bees are so important for the planet, and it'll inspire you to plant some bee-friendly flowers in your garden.
Wanna Read About Climate and the Environment?
Okay, climate reading might not exactly be fun (unfortunately, it's all a little scary) – but these page-turners will give you expert insight into what might be the most important scientific issue of our time.
If it seems like every climate scientist is warning of natural disasters, well, that's not far off. This book goes into some of the biggest natural disasters (from the volcanic eruption in ancient to Pompeii to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina) with a focus on how they've changed society – and what it might mean for the future.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells
Speaking of the future, The Uninhabitable Earth goes into exactly what Earth's future might look like – and, as you can probably guess from the title, it looks a little grim. We'll be honest, this book is a bleak look into how climate change will affect the planet – but it's also an inspiring call to action. You'll be passing this one on to your friends and family after you're done!
Let's Learn Human Behavior
Feeling a little introspective this summer? Take a deep dive into the human brain! Try these reads to keep up with the latest research in where we came from and why we act the way we do.
Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
We'll let you in on a little secret – race is a social construct, and it has no real basis in biology. So what's up with the resurgence in race science recently? Journalist Angela Saini walks you through the scary history of race science – think Hitler and the Holocaust – and talks about the lack of real science behind the concept of "race." This one's a must-read for thinking critically about the race "science" you'll find online.
It's easy to think of human's evolutionary tree as, well, a tree with defined branches that separate us from our ancestors, right? But it turns out the truth is more complicated. In Who We Are and How We Got Here, scientist David Reich walks you through the genetics of how humans evolved, and what those genetics reveal about human behavior throughout history.
Explore Space (from the Beach)
If your ideal summer destination is the cosmos, we've got the perfect reads for you.
The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport
It's been 50 years since man first landed on the moon. And, now that climate change threatens to make part of the world uninhabitable, some of the richest people on Earth are planning to make space colonization a reality. This book looks at the new space race, and how billionaires might shape space exploration in the future.
So, do aliens really exist? We still don't know – but astrophysicist Adam Frank thinks it's highly likely that many of the planets in our universe hosted (and may currently host!) advanced alien species. Whether you're a skeptic or you want to believe, you won't want to put this one down.
- Forbes: Ten Of The Best Books About Astronomy, Physics And Mathematics Of 2018
- New York Times: Two New Books Dramatically Capture the Climate Change Crisis
- Scientific American: Recommendations
- Book Authority: 9 Best New Science Books To Read In 2019
- Forbes: Twelve Of The Best Books About Biology Of 2018
- Science News: These are our favorite science books of 2018