Nonfiction Roundup: July 2024

Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in July. All of the mentioned titles are available to put on hold in our catalog and will also be made available via the library’s Overdrive website on the day of publication in eBook and downloadable audiobook format (as available). For a more extensive list of new nonfiction books coming out this month, check our online catalog.

Top Picks

Secret History of Sharks book coverThe Secret History of Sharks: The Rise of the Ocean’s Most Fearsome Predators” by John Long (Jul 2)
Sharks have been fighting for their lives for 500 million years and today are under dire threat. They are the longest-surviving vertebrate on Earth, outlasting multiple mass extinction events that decimated life on the planet. But how did they thrive for so long? By developing superpower-like abilities that allowed them to ascend to the top of the oceanic food chain. John Long, who for decades has been on the cutting edge of shark research, weaves a thrilling story of sharks’ unparalleled reign. “The Secret History of Sharks” showcases the global search to discover sharks’ largely unknown evolution, led by Long and dozens of other extraordinary scientists. They embark on digs to all seven continents, investigating layers of rock and using cutting-edge technology to reveal never-before-found fossils and the clues to sharks’ singular story. As the tale unfolds, Long introduces an enormous range of astonishing organisms: a thirty-foot-long shark with a deadly saw blade of jagged teeth protruding from its lower jaws, a monster giant clams crusher, and bizarre sharks fossilized while in their mating ritual. The book also includes startling new facts about the mighty megalodon, with its 66-foot-long body, massive jaws, and six-inch serrated teeth.

Meet the Neighbors book cover
Meet the Neighbors: Animal Minds and Life in a More-Than-Human World” by Brandon Keim (Jul 16)
Honeybees deliberate democratically. Rats reflect on the past. Snakes have friends. In recent decades, our understanding of animal cognition has exploded, making it indisputably clear that the cities and landscapes around us are filled with thinking, feeling individuals besides ourselves. But the way we relate to wild animals has yet to catch up. “In Meet the Neighbors,” acclaimed science journalist Brandon Keim asks: what would it mean to take the minds of other animals seriously? In this wide-ranging, wonder-filled exploration of animals’ inner lives, Keim takes us into courtrooms and wildlife hospitals, under backyard decks and into deserts, to meet anew the wild creatures who populate our communities and the philosophers, rogue pest controllers, ecologists, wildlife doctors, and others who are reimagining our relationships to them. If bats trade favors and groups of swans vote to take off by honking, should we then see them as fellow persons — even members of society? When we come to understand the depths of their pleasures and pains, the richness of their family lives and their histories, what do we owe so-called pests and predators, or animals who are sick or injured? Can thinking of nonhumans as our neighbors help chart a course to a kinder, gentler planet? As Keim suggests, the answers to these questions are central to how we understand not only the rest of the living world, but ourselves.

Women in the Valley of Kings book coverWomen in the Valley of the Kings: The Untold Story of Women Egyptologists in the Gilded Age” by Kathleen Sheppard (Jul 16)
The history of Egyptology is often told as yet one more grand narrative of powerful men striving to seize the day and the precious artifacts for their competing homelands. But that is only half of the story. During the so-called Golden Age of Exploration, there were women working and exploring before Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tut. Before men even conceived of claiming the story for themselves, women were working in Egypt to lay the groundwork for all future exploration. In “Women in the Valley of the Kings,” Kathleen Sheppard brings the untold stories of these women back into this narrative. Sheppard begins with some of the earliest European women who ventured to Egypt as travelers: Amelia Edwards, Jenny Lane and Marianne Brocklehurst. Their travelogues, diaries and maps chronicled a new world for the curious. In the vast desert, Maggie Benson, the first woman granted permission to excavate in Egypt, met Nettie Gourlay, the woman who became her lifelong companion. They battled issues of oppression and exclusion and, ultimately, are credited with excavating the Temple of Mut. As each woman scored a success in the desert, she set up the women who came later for their own struggles and successes. Emma Andrews’ success as a patron and archaeologist helped to pave the way for Margaret Murray to teach. Margaret’s work in the university led to the artists Amice Calverley’s and Myrtle Broome’s ability to work on site at Abydos, creating brilliant reproductions of tomb art, and to Kate Bradbury’s and Caroline Ransom’s leadership in critical Egyptological institutions. “Women in the Valley of the Kings” upends the grand male narrative of Egyptian exploration and shows how a group of courageous women charted unknown territory and changed the field of Egyptology forever.

More Notable Releases for July

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