Holiday Recommendations from Our Staff

Science & Nature

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Bryson’s book is an attempt to answer the question “How did we get here?” Bryson begins his survey from the biggest of bangs to the world of atoms and microbes. Throughout, the author makes accessible copious anecdotes and factoids through delightful prose. This newly released illustrated edition is further enhanced by superb pictures. An excellent gift for the inquisitive mind. –Alex


The Curious World of Bugs: The Bugman’s Guide to the Mysterious and Remarkable Lives of Things That Crawl by Daniel Marlos (2010 Holiday Gazette)

For ten years, the Daniel Marlos has been edifying people by identifying bugs through his website, Focusing on the most often-requested topics, his book describes many astounding facets of insect life, from scientific classifications to life cycles and remarkable habits, and from appealing, benign species to those that truly repel, or “bug,” us!

Delicate ink drawings enhance this encyclopedic but thoroughly engaging guide to the insect universe, which explores also the interactions we have, to our dismay or delight, with these strange, ubiquitous creatures. For those who find insects intriguing, this book is a fun, concise entomological treasure. –Erica


Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees by Cedric Pollet (2010 Holiday Gazette)

Mesmerizing: a word not usually associated with tree bark and, yet, one that sums up the entire compilation of photographs in this stunning book. Nature lovers, artists, and photographers will be inspired by Pollet’s passion. Ten years of globetrotting, research, and a love for the beauty of bark are contained within the pages of this book, and it is truly an homage to the tree. Find out why the scribbly gum got its name, or see what happens when the rainbow eucalyptus sheds its bark. Just open to any page in this gorgeous book and you will become an instant naturalist. –Tracy


To commemorate the Royal Society’s 350th year, Bill Bryson (author of A Short History of Nearly Everything) has compiled twenty edifying essays by Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, Neal Stephenson, and Martin Rees, among others. Seeing Further’s essays take the reader on a journey through the RS’s humble beginnings and its rise as the premier international society for scientific inquiry and discuss the purview of science and the scientist. Richly illustrated and very well written, Seeing Further is a perfect holiday gift for those interested in the history of science and its applications. –Alex


Amaze your friends! Amuse your in-laws (even if you’re not old enough to have in-laws)! Be the hit of every party with your finite understanding of physics. Let University of California professor of physics Richard Muller teach you why a liquid hydrogen vehicle would be more efficient but would require a tank four times as large as a gas tank (not to mention the giant thermos). Discover how antimatter is used in medical diagnosis and why geothermal power will never run your appliances. Clever single-frame cartoons by Joey Manfre help illustrate (literally) the concepts behind the science. –Tracy