The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Science

At Home on an Unruly Planet by Madeline Ostrander

It’s no surprise that so many books are coming out addressing climate change or that distinguishing between them can get muddled. Ostrander offers a fine blend of practical and philosophical by following the current fates of towns and communities already deeply affected by flooding, chemical pollution, and land shifting under their feet. She finds no magical solutions while respectfully documenting the energy and resilience of those fighting to save a sense of home and community in the face of continuing change.

At Home on an Unruly Planet by Madeline Ostrander, (List Price: $28.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250620514, August 2022)

Reviewed by Jan Blodgett, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

The World As We Knew It by Amy Brady

A phenomenal collection of essays from fiction writers reflecting on the existential crisis that is climate change. It’s all excellent writing and full of the attention to the human condition you might expect from these literary powerhouses, but what really strikes me is how in every one of these essays I felt a deep sense of love, curiosity, and excitement about the natural world. These writers do not let their profession stop them from being interested in the natural sciences, and the inspiration they draw from them, even in the face of inevitable doom, is a gift to read.

The World As We Knew It by Amy Brady, (List Price: $16.95, Catapult, 9781646220304, June 2022)

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo

Wired For Love is part neuroscience and part memoir… but it is ultimately a love story between the world’s foremost authority on the brain’s response to love/loss and the world’s foremost authority on loneliness. Cacioppo includes a lot of scientific information and hard data pulled from years of her research, but she also guides the reader through her own personal story of falling in love and eventually her grief surrounding her husband’s death. She has a way of getting the reader to thoughtfully reevaluate the “common beliefs” surrounding incredibly complex (but purely human) emotions. This book is fantastic.

Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo, (List Price: $28.99, Flatiron Bookss, 9781250790606, April 2022)

Reviewed by Stuart McCommon from Novel in Memphis, Tennessee

An Immense World by Ed Yong

Like many readers, I was introduced to Ed Yong’s clear and measured writing during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I was instantly drawn to his deep-thinking approach. An Immense World is (thankfully) not about Covid-19, but it does hold true to Yong’s journalistic method: big questions, acknowledgements of what we don’t know, and a sense of wonder at the complexity of life. This is such a beautiful exploration of the world as experienced by other animals—here you will learn that there are so many more senses on Earth (and in humans!) than just the Aristotelian basic five (Nociception! Magnetoreception! Proprioception! And so many more!), and Yong’s conversational, wide-eyed tone wriggles readers free of their human Umwelt, even if just for a moment. This is a transformative book, essential for anyone looking open windows in their mind to a wider, more empathic world.

An Immense World by Ed Yong, (List Price: $30.00, Random House, 9780593133231, June 2022)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Stiff by Mary Roach

I absolutely love Mary Roach – the way she breaks down complex topics is second to none. I borrowed a copy from a friend and was done with it in two days. I love the way she can take a really complex and delicate topic, and break it down from a variety of perspectives to come to a wonderfully fascinating conclusion.

Stiff by Mary Roach, (List Price: 16.95, W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393324822, May 2004)

Reviewed by Kate Wilder, Story On the Square in McDonough, Georgia

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