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CultureLab: The best books of 2023, from joyful escapism to sobering reads

New Scientist Podcasts

26-12-2023 • 28 mins

Are you looking forward to catching up on some reading over the holiday season? Or perhaps you are on the prowl for book recommendations after receiving a few literary gift cards? If so, you are in luck – this episode is all about the books we think you’ll love to read.

In this episode of CultureLab, culture and comment editor Alison Flood appears in her role as professional bookworm to share some of her favorite reads of the year. From a sobering story of life in the human-polluted ocean (narrated by a dolphin) to science fiction that takes you to parallel worlds, to the real story of the world’s longest study of happiness.

The full list of Alison’s recommendations (and a few from host Christie Taylor) is below.

Non-fiction

The Good Life: lessons from the world’s longest scientific study of happiness by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz

Being Human: How our biology shaped world history by Lewis Dartnell

Of Time and Turtles: Mending the world, shell by shattered shell by Sy Montgomery

The Power of Trees: How ancient forests can save us if we let them by Peter Wohlleben

Enchantment: Reawakening wonder in an exhausted age by Katherine May

Elderflora: A modern history of ancient trees by Jared Farmer

The Possibility of Life: Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship with the cosmos by Jaime Green

Breathe: Tackling the climate emergency by Sadiq Khan

Wasteland: The dirty truth about what we throw away, where it goes, and why it matters by Oliver Franklin-Wallis

Fire Weather: A true story from a hotter world by John Vaillant


Fiction

In Ascension by Martin McInnes

The Ferryman by Justin Cronin

Bridge by Lauren Beukes

The Future by Naomi Alderman

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Pod by Laline Paull


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