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The 41 best books and podcasts on health and science to check out this summer

0 2 years ago

With the arrival of summer comes a chance to relax, reflect, and escape the day to day. It’s also a perfect time to dig into a new book or podcast, and we have you covered with our annual list of health, medicine, and science titles.

Read on for recommendations from the likes of WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, author Michael Pollan, and reproductive justice scholar Monica McLemore. Plus, STAT readers from California to the U.K. share their picks, in addition to our staff. Enjoy!

NOTABLE FIGURES

“Being You: A New Science of Consciousness”

By Anil Seth

The most exciting science book I’ve read recently is Anil Seth’s “Being You,” a fascinating look at consciousness that argues the phenomenon is a “controlled hallucination” generated by our brains. Seth is a fine writer as well as a leading consciousness researcher, and he is as clear as he is rigorous.

— Michael Pollan, author of several science books including “How to Change Your Mind” and Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley

“Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers and the Fate of Populations”

By Anthony McMichael with Alistair Woodward and Cameron Muir

This book tells the story of the historical interplay between climate change, human health, disease, and survival throughout the 200,000-year odyssey of the human species. Now that we have moved from the relative stability of the Holocene to the Anthropocene era, looking back and learning from how human societies adapted (or did not) to climatic crises could help us both anticipate likely future events and think about adaptation strategies. Building on a lifetime of research and scholarship, McMichael discusses many opportunities for individuals, communities, cities, and countries to act.

— Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist

“Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals”

By Alexis Pauline Gumbs

This book is beautifully written and has the recipe to move toward health equity. Gumbs masterfully weaves together facts about marine mammals, their adaptations due to human intervention and climate change, to teach important lessons about how to retrofit, reform, and reimagine how we engage with ourselves, each other, and the other species that inhabit Earth. She also lifts up essential (and sometimes complex) Black feminist concepts in an accessible way that elucidates multiple paths toward justice and joy.

— Monica McLemore, associate professor of family health care nursing at UCSF, reproductive justice scholar, and editor-in-chief of Health Equity Journal

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