Deceptive Beauties: The World of Wild Orchids
by Christian Ziegler. University of Chicago Press, 2011

Orchids are experts in the art of seduction. They have acquired all manner of adaptations aimed at tricking insects into helping them propagate. Photographer Christian Ziegler captures these sex symbols of the plant world in 150 portraits taken on five continents in environments ranging from tropical cloud forest to semidesert. 

World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement
by Robert P. Crease. W. W. Norton, 2011

Philosopher Robert B. Crease of Stony Brook University charts the evolution of measurement from the regional systems developed to serve local needs to the universal system adopted by nearly every country on earth—a shift “as startling as if the entire world came to speak one language.”

How the Dog Became the Dog: From Wolves to Our Best Friends
by Mark Derr. Overlook, 2011

Thousands of years ago, probably somewhere in the ancient Near East, Fido got his start. Mark Derr, author of two previous books on dogs, traces the origin and evolution of man’s best friend from its wild wolf ancestors and explores how the bond between humans and dogs was forged.

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True
by Richard Dawkins. Free Press, 2011

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins teams up with illustrator Dave McKean to create a graphic science book addressing questions ranging from “Who was the first person?” to “What is a rainbow?” For each phenomenon, Dawkins details both the mythologies people initially developed to make sense of it and the actual explanation, as revealed by science. 


Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans,
by Charles Moore, with Cassandra Phillips. Avery, 2011

But Will the Planet Notice? How Smart Economics Can Save the World,
by Gernot Wagner. Hill and Wang, 2011

The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds among Brothers and Sisters Reveal about Us,
by Jeffrey Kluger. Riverhead, 2011

America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare,
by Joel Brenner. Penguin Press, 2011

Galileo’s Muse: Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts,
by Mark A. Peterson. Harvard University Press, 2011

The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean,
by David Abulafia. Oxford University Press, 2011

The End of the Beginning: Cosmology, Time and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang,
by Adam Frank. Free Press, 2011

The Fossil Chronicles: How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution,
by Dean Falk. University of California Press, 2011

The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age,
by Nathan Wolfe. Times Books, 2011

Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future,
by Harriet A. Washington. Doubleday, 2011

Lifeblood: How to Change the World One Dead Mosquito at a Time, by Alex Perry.
Public Affairs, 2011