Category Archives: Science

Planning Ahead: Summer 2012

Here’s a list of books I’m working on for our Summer 2012 season. I have a limited number of galleys but feel free to request. As review copies become available each title will have its own page. Please follow Books on Tap on Facebook for updates. Please email me at Gabrielle.Gantz [at] to be included on a book’s mailing list. More information about these titles will be posted as it becomes available.

As the Crow Flies
Craig Johnson
Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale: May 14, 2012
Category: Mystery / Western
Author’s website

In AS THE CROW FLIES, the eighth book in Craig Johnson’s Sheriff Walt Longmire series, Walt is forced, on the eve of hisdaughter’s wedding, to lead adarkly complex investigation into thedeath of Audrey Last Bull, an Iraqi war veteran, on the Cheyenne Reservation.

The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet
Robert M. Hazen
Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale: April 30, 2012
Category: Science / Earth Science

THE STORY OF EARTH: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet by Robert M. Hazen takes readers on an astonishing journey across space and time to bring to life the story of the only home any of us has ever known.

Jack’s Book: An Oral Biography of Jack Kerouac
Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee
Penguin Paperback
On Sale:  April 24, 2012
Category: Biography

Here, in what has become a classic of its kind since its publication in 1978, is the fascinating story of Jack Kerouac, “King of the Beats” and American literary legend, recorded through the voices of his friends and lovers.

The Obamians: How a Band of Newcomers Redefined American Power
James Mann
Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale: June 18, 2012
Category: Politics / Current Events

THE OBAMIANS is the definitive analysis of the events, ideas, personalities, and conflicts that have defined Obama’s foreign policy.

Witness the Night: A Novel
Kishwar Desai
Penguin Paperback Original
On Sale: May 29, 2012
Category: Fiction / Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Costa First Novel Award winner WITNESS THE NIGHT: A Novel by Kishwar Desai is adazzling mystery that takes readers into the heart of India.

Autobiographical Writings
Mark Twain
Penguin Classics
On Sale: May 29, 2012
Category:  Classics, Memoir, Autobiography, Essays

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WRITINGS is a curated collection of Mark Twain’s autobiographical writings with particular attention to texts reflecting his early life.

Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time
Carissa Phelps
Viking (Hardcover)
On Sale: July 9, 2012
Category: Memoir
Author’s website 

RUNAWAY GIRL is Carissa’s story, the tale of a girl who lost herself and survived, against all odds, through the generosity of strangers. It is an inspiring true story about finding the courage to run toward healing and summoning the strength to light the way for others.

Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools andBusiness for the 21st Century
Cathy N. Davidson
Penguin Paperback
On Sale: July 31, 2012
Category: Education / Technology
Author’s website

Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the Learned Pig
Russell Potter
Penguin Paperback Original
On Sale: July 31, 2012
Category: Fiction

Blending the sophisticated satire of Jonathan Swift with the charming exuberance of a Pixar film, PYG tells the story of Toby, a truly exceptional pig who lived in late eighteenth-centuryEngland.

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Filed under Classics, Current Events / Politics, Education, Fiction, Literary, Memoir, Mystery, Paperback Original, Politics, Science, Season Roundup, Technology

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn
Viking / On Sale: August 18, 2011

“Davidson offers a stunning new vision for the future, showing how the latest advances in brain research could revolutionize education and workplace management … Davidson has produced an exceptional and critically important book, one that is all-but-impossible to put down and likely to shape discussions for years to come.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A remarkable new book, Now You See It . . . offers a fresh and reassuring perspective on how to manage anxieties about the bewildering pace of technological change. . . . Her work is the most powerful yet to insist that we can and should manage the impact of these changes in our lives.”
—Anya Kamanetz, Fast Company

In 2003, Cathy Davidson, then Duke University’s Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, helped spearhead the school’s effort to provide free iPods to every member of the incoming freshman class. No one expected the uproar their decision provoked. Critics decried it as wasteful and irresponsible—what educational value could a music player have for college kids? Yet by the end of the year, and nearly 2,000 iPods later, Duke students had found academic uses for iPods in virtually every discipline, from environmental science majors who used them to conduct and edit interviews for documentaries, to medical students who used them to identify heart arrhythmias during patient’s exams. The iPod experiment proved to be a classic example of the power of disruption—a way of adopting changing technology, refocusing attention and exploring new possibilities.

This idea is at the heart of Davidson’s brilliant new book, NOW YOU SEE IT: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn . Using cutting-edge research on the brain, Davidson shows how the phenomenon of “attention blindness” shapes our lives, and how it has led to one of the greatest problems of our time: we have embraced technologies that have transformed our lives and our work, but our institutions remain unchanged. The result: while we handily blog, tweet, and text, many of us still toil in schools and workplaces designed for the Industrial Age and measure our success by standards that are no longer relevant.

Cathy N. Davidson served from 1998 until 2006 as the first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University, where she worked with faculty to help create many programs, including the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the program in Information Science + Information Studies (ISIS). She is the co-founder of Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, HASTAC (“haystack”), a network of innovators dedicated to new forms of learning for the digital age. She is also co-director of the $2 million annual HASTAC/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition.

Davidson is the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University.  She has published more than 20 books, including Revolution and the Word:  The Rise of the Novel in America,  Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory (with photographer Bill Bamberger) and The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (with HASTAC co-founder David Theo Goldberg). She blogs regularly on new media, learning and innovation on the website as “Cat in the Stack” as well as on and Psychology In December 2010, President Obama nominated her to the National Council on the Humanities.

For More Information: 
Press Release
Cover Image for Download
Now You See It website
Fast Company profile

For a review copy please contact gabrielle.gantz [at]


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Filed under Current Events / Politics, Education, Science, Technology

Planning Ahead: Summer and Fall 2011

Here’s a list of books I’m working on this coming Summer and Fall. Limited galleys are available where noted. As review copies become available each title will have its own page. Please follow Books on Tap on Facebook for updates. If you would like to be included on the review copy list, please email me at Gabrielle.Gantz [at]

Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry
Penguin Paperback Reprint / On Sale: July 26, 2011
Press Release
Cover Image
Q&A with Douglas
Author’s Website

Now You See It:  How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn by Cathy N. Davidson
Viking / On Sale: August 18, 2011
Penguin Group page
Author’s Website

Real State of America Atlas: Mapping the Myths and Truths of the United States by Cynthia Enloe and Joni Seager
Penguin Paperback Original / On Sale: July 26, 2011
Review Copies Now Available
Book’s page

The Magician King by Lev Grossman
Second book in the Magicians series
Viking / On Sale: August 9, 2011
Penguin Group page
Cover Image
If you need a copy of the first book, The Magicians, please contact me

The Postmortal by Drew Magary
Penguin Paperback Original / On Sale: August 30, 2011
Physical advance copies now available. Limited availability through Netgalley.
Press Release
Cover Image
Author on Twitter

A Man of Parts: A Novel of H. G. Wells by David Lodge
Viking / On Sale: September 19, 2011
Limited advance copies available
Penguin Group page
David Lodge on H.G. Wells (Guardian UK)
David Lodge’s top H.G. Wells books (Guardian UK)
Cover Image
H.G. Wells books available from Penguin Classics

Campus Trilogy: Changing Places / Small World / Nice Work
by David Lodge
Penguin / On Sale: September 27, 2011

A collection of three works by David Lodge
Press Release
Cover Image 

Gandhi: A Manga Biography by Kazuki Ebine
Penguin Paperback Original / On Sale: September 27, 2011
Penguin Group page
Cover Image 

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker Viking / On Sale: October 4, 2011
Now available on Netgalley with limited approval. Booksellers, librarians, and long lead magazine reviewers only until Wednesday, Aug. 24th.
Penguin Group page
Author’s website
Steven Pinker at TED on the myth of violence (opens with sound)

Charles Dickens: A Life by Jane Smiley
Penguin Lives Paperback / On Sale: November 29, 2011
Penguin Group page (hardcover edition)

James Joyce: A Life by Edna O’Brien
Penguin Lives Paperback / On Sale: November 29, 2011
Details to come

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Filed under Biography, Current Events / Politics, Fantasy, Fiction, History, Literary, Manga, Paperback Original, Science, Science Fiction, Season Roundup, Technology, True Crime

What Technology Wants

What Technology Wats by Kevin Kelly
Viking / On Sale: October 14, 2010 (Hardcover Edition)

How is technology like a living system?
Today no technology can stand alone. Each piece made is dependent on hundreds of other technologies, in either its manufacture or operation. The incredibly complex interdependencies between modern technologies resemble a rainforest more than a machine. Engineers create new technologies by recombining old technologies, much like sexual reproduction in genes. Innovations follow a pattern of improvement that is almost identical to natural evolution. Our technological system as a whole exhibits emergent behaviors and tendencies, just like all living systems do.

What does it “want”?  Where is technology taking us?
The emergent tendencies of interacting technologies tend to favor the very things life favors. High tech industries demand pure water, as animals do. Over time technologies tend toward energy efficiency, as living organisms do. Technologies begin as generalists (a simple camera) and evolve toward specialists (a panoramic camera, an underwater camera, a spy camera, an infrared digital camera) just as natural evolution does. Technology is taking us more towards life, or rather a more extreme form of life.

Is a modern life full of technology natural?  Is it good?
Every since we left Africa, we humans have been remaking ourselves. We long ago invented the technology of cooking, which serves as an external stomach, and has allowed our teeth and jaws to shrink, and altered our body chemistry. Without technology of any sort, humans would die in a few months. We are naturally technological because we are, in part, our own inventions.

You say technology is a positive force, yet people are constantly talking about how gadgets and the Internet are dumbing down culture – how do you reconcile those two viewpoints?
Both views are true. We are slaves to our own inventions. Complex modern inventions are self-inflating; they tend to make the world friendlier to more technology. For instance, TV is a device to sell more devices. We have to guard against that tyrannical tendency in our own personal lives by occasionally saying “no” to new stuff. (No Twitter for me!) At the same time technology’s self-enlargement keeps bringing us many new choices and endless possibilities. Progress is founded on these increased choices.

Many people say that every new possibility for good developed by technology is cancelled by a corresponding new possibility for harm, and therefore technology is simply neutral. But they forget that that the very choice between good and harm birthed by a new invention is itself a good, and that tiny unexpected advantage tips the balance – just a wee bit – away from neutral toward the good overall. Turns out that a wee bit is all you need. If you create just 1 percent more possibilities than you destroy, then that tiny advantage, compounded over centuries, is enough to make civilization and to reveal technology as the most positive force in the world.

For More Information:
Press Release (hardcover only)
Cover Image (hardcover only)
Author Q&A
Author’s Website

Please note: For paperback edition details and images (Penguin Paperback / On Sale: September 27, 2011), please contact Yen.Cheong [at]

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Filed under Science, Technology

The Calculus Diaries

The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse by Jennifer Ouellette 
Penguin Paperback Original / On Sale: August 31, 2010

A few questions for Jennifer Ouellette:

What can parents do to help their kids become interested in math?
This is a tough one, because I suspect many parents are also rather insecure in their grasp of math once their kids get to algebra and calculus, and feel a little lost about how to help and encourage their kids in this area. I think the most important thing is not to actively discourage their kids from math and science. I once heard a teenaged girl admit to being curious about physics. Her mother—who clearly had a very bad high school experience with physics and calculus—overheard and assured her daughter that no, she didn’t want to take a physics class! It’s not fun at all and anyway, “You don’t like math and wouldn’t be good at it.” Now, it’s true that our math and physics curriculum in high school isn’t as fun as encountering physics and math in the outside world. But when will this young girl ever get to discover that math and science can be amazing and reveal hidden patterns in how the world works, if she’s actively discouraged from being interested by her own mother, while still in high school?

What is the one thing you now see in everyday life that you didn’t notice before starting THE CALCULUS DIARIES?
The world is filled with hidden connections and recurring patterns. Math describes nature at a very fundamental level and those underlying patterns are mostly invisible to those who don’t speak the language of Nature. For instance, I never realized that an exponential decay curve can describe the rate at which a cup of coffee cools, or the rate at which wet clothing dries, as well as certain processes in astronomy, economics and even population dynamics. Those seemingly very different things nonetheless are related mathematically; if you don’t “speak math,” or at least have a conceptual understanding of how it works, it’s much more difficult to see those connections. And yet they are there!

For More Information:
A Conversation with Jennifer Oullette
Press Release
Cover Image for Download
Author’s Website

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Filed under Math, Paperback Original, Science