Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in September. 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.
“What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions” by Randall Munroe (Sep 13)
The millions of people around the world who read and loved “What If?” still have questions, and those questions are getting stranger. Thank goodness xkcd creator Randall Munroe is here to help. Planning to ride a fire pole from the moon back to Earth? The hardest part is sticking the landing. Hoping to cool the atmosphere by opening everyone’s freezer door at the same time? Maybe it’s time for a brief introduction to thermodynamics. Want to know what would happen if you rode a helicopter blade, built a billion-story building, made a lava lamp out of lava, or jumped on a geyser as it erupted? Okay, if you insist. Before you go on a cosmic road trip, feed the residents of New York City to a T. rex, or fill every church with bananas, be sure to consult this practical guide for impractical ideas. Unfazed by absurdity, Randall consults the latest research on everything from swing-set physics to airplane-catapult design to clearly and concisely answer his readers’ questions. As he consistently demonstrates, you can learn a lot from examining how the world might work in very specific extreme circumstances. Filled with bonkers science, boundless curiosity, and Randall’s signature stick-figure comics, “What If? 2” is sure to be another instant classic adored by inquisitive readers of all ages.
“Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization” by Neil deGrasse Tyson (Sep 20)
In a time when our political and cultural views feel more polarized than ever, Tyson provides a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us, while making a passionate case for the twin chariots of enlightenment — a cosmic perspective and the rationality of science. After thinking deeply about how science sees the world and about Earth as a planet, the human brain has the capacity to reset and recalibrates life’s priorities, shaping the actions we might take in response. No outlook on culture, society or civilization remains untouched. With crystalline prose, “Starry Messenger” walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently. From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.
“The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves” by Alexandra Horowitz (Sep 20)
Few of us meet our dogs at Day One. The dog who will, eventually, become an integral part of our family, our constant companion and best friend, is born without us into a family of her own. A puppy’s critical early development into the dog we come to know is usually missed entirely. Dog researcher Alexandra Horowitz aimed to change that with her family’s new pup, Quiddity (Quid). In this scientific memoir, she charts Quid’s growth from wee grub to boisterous sprite, from her birth to her first birthday. Horowitz follows Quid’s first weeks with her mother and ten roly-poly littermates, and then each week after the puppy joins her household of three humans, two large dogs, and a wary cat. She documents the social and cognitive milestones that so many of us miss in our puppies’ lives, when caught up in the housetraining and behavioral training that easily overwhelms the first months of a dog’s life with a new family. In focusing on training a dog to behave, we mostly miss the radical development of a puppy into themselves — through the equivalent of infancy, childhood, young adolescence and teenager-hood. By slowing down to observe Quid from week to week, “The Year of the Puppy” makes new sense of a dog’s behavior in a way that is missed when the focus is only on training. Horowitz keeps a lens on the puppy’s point of view — how they (begin to) see and smell the world, make meaning of it, and become an individual personality. She’s there when the puppies first open their eyes, first start to recognize one another and learn about cats, sheep and people; she sees them from their first play bows to puberty. Horowitz also draws from the ample research in the fields of dog and human development to draw analogies between a dog’s first year and the growing child — and to note where they diverge. “The Year of the Puppy” is indispensable for anyone navigating their way through the frustrating, amusing, and ultimately delightful first year of a puppy’s life.
More Notable Releases for September
- “American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper” by Daniel Stashower (Sep 6)
- “Solito: A Memoir” by Javier Zamora (Sep 6)
- “Uncultured: A Memoir” by Daniella Mestyanek Young (Sep 20)
- “Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less” by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz (Sep 20)