Daniel Chamovitz is a biologist and the director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University. You can find Chamovitz’s website here and follow him @DanielChamovitz. His book What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses will be published in June 2012 under the Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
True and respectful to the science, sensitive to the history and fluid cultural norms of the time, and excellent presentation. I especially loved the intermingling of first-person storytelling.
Makers by Cory Doctorow
A slight tweak of the present makes for great science fiction with excellent hacker technology and Disney as the Evil Empire.
The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell
Excellent well-researched, intelligent murder mystery that spans continents and centuries.
A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
Can literature really be transformative? Apparently yes, at least for Deresiewicz, who uses Jane Austen to reassess and rebuild his stagnant life. Great mix of memoir and CliffsNotes of Austen’s works.
Married to Bhutan: How One Woman Got Lost, Said “I Do,” and Found Bliss by Linda Leaming
Having traveled in Nepal and India, I was always fascinated by the closed-off Bhutan. This lovely book is a sensitive and compelling tale of life in this mountain paradise.