A science writer, Ackerman here explores the myths, mysteries, and magnificence of owls. Throughout human history, she writes, owls have been present in the human experience—in our art, language, stories, myths, omens, and emblems. Today, advances in technology and science--from DNA analysis to cutting-edge imaging technology, from nest cams to drones to satellite transmitters--are enabling researchers to discern more about the planet’s 260 species of owls than ever before. This book is a primer on how owls see, hear, fly, hunt, nest, court, mate, play, think and, yes, feel. It is up to humans, Ackerman says, to do more to protect the environment and creatures like owls who are so essential to our ecosystems.
I love Australian writer and ex-journalist Jane Harper’s mysteries and was excited that Exiles, the final installment of her Falk trilogy, would once again feature Detective Aaron Falk. As with Harper's other books, this one unfolds in a uniquely Australian setting: the country's well-known wine country, and the plot centers on a shocking event—in this case the disappearance of a young mother who has left her baby in a pram at a carnival. To solve the mystery, Falk must unearth secrets kept by old friends and admit some of his own. As usual, Harper keeps the reader guessing through unexpected twists and turns that culminate in a believable and satisfying ending. My only regret is that finishing the book meant having to say farewell to the beloved Aaron Falk.
Zernike, a journalist, tells a story familiar to women with professional ambitions in the mid-20th century. Nancy Hopkins, a molecular biologist who attended Radcliffe, winds up working in the lab of Nobel prize-winner James Watson. Naïve at first about the discrimination she is subjected to—Watson’s Nobel co-winner, Francis Crick, once groped her breasts—Hopkins’s eyes slowly open as events of the 1960s awaken women to their rights. Hopkins's experiences as a researcher and scholar at Harvard and MIT make you want to pound the wall and scream with outrage. But, wait! Eventually, Hopkins and 15 MIT women scientists force the institution to acknowledge a history of pervasive gender discrimination and promise changes. An overdue win for women.