Considering Nonfiction: Science, Writing, and Travel | Wyatt’s World

Spring marks the arrival of some great nonfiction works, from Roxane Gay’s Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture to Lorrie Moore’s See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary and Sloane Crosley’s Look Alive Out There: Essays. Here are five more, focused on science, writing, and travel.

  • The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte (Morrow).
    Great dinosaur books for adults are rare and wonderful events. This exquisitely packaged volume offers accessible research mixed with the glee and detail readers love. Consider it a core title for nonfiction collections.
  • The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli (Riverhead).
    Rovelli, author of the best-selling Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, here returns with a lyrical meditation and explanation of time. The Guardian anoints Rovelli with the highest praise, recently calling him “a worthy heir to Stephen Hawking.”
  • The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life by Richard Russo (Knopf). Novelist Russo–turned–essayist offers wisdom and warmth in pieces about literature, life, and writing. Selections address the authors and works Russo values, include a commencement address he once delivered, and consider topics of change, choice, and creativity.
  • Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern & David Grinspoon (Picador).
    Story-based and gripping, this excellent popular science winningly details the process of making science. It unpacks NASA’s New Horizons mission, which peaked in 2015 when a probe reached the icy realms of Pluto and sent back blockbuster images.
  • Figures in a Landscape: People and Places by Paul Theroux (Houghton Harcourt). Offering another kind of exploration altogether, Theroux’s latest book centers on his travels from Asia to Zimbabwe and delves into his own life as well. Landscape and literature take on a great deal more in these appealing and illuminating entries.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at

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