100 books like She Has Her Mother's Laugh

By Carl Zimmer,

Here are 100 books that She Has Her Mother's Laugh fans have personally recommended if you like She Has Her Mother's Laugh. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Kevin Davies Author Of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing

From my list on CRISPR and genome editing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British science editor and author of a string of books on the scientific, medical, and social implications of advances in genetics research. I trained as a geneticist but found more personal satisfaction wielding a pen rather than a pipette. I’m especially drawn to science stories that have medical implications for the public and a strong narrative thread. Prior to writing Editing Humanity, I covered the race for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene (Breakthrough), the Human Genome Project (Cracking the Genome), and the rise of personal genomics (The $1,000 Genome). I’m currently writing a biography of sickle cell disease, arguably the most famous genetic mutation in human history.

Kevin's book list on CRISPR and genome editing

Kevin Davies Why did Kevin love this book?

I have seldom read a book with as much zeal as The Code Breaker, written by the famous biographer and historian, Walter Isaacson, whom I’d met on the CRISPR conference circuit.

Isaacson focuses on Doudna’s life and science, but also introduces the reader to a large cast of characters, including Doudna’s former colleague and fellow Nobelist, Emmanuelle Charpentier. He even has a crack at running a CRISPR experiment himself.

The success of this book has likely done more than anything to educate the public on the transformative promise of CRISPR.

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Code Breaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns.

In 2012, Nobel Prize winning scientist Jennifer Doudna hit upon an invention that will transform the future of the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA.

Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. It has already been deployed to cure deadly diseases, fight the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and make inheritable changes in the genes of babies.

But what does that mean for humanity? Should we be hacking our own DNA to make us less susceptible to disease? Should…


Book cover of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

K. Lee Lerner Author Of Biotechnology: In Context

From my list on biotechnology.

Why am I passionate about this?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

K.'s book list on biotechnology

K. Lee Lerner Why did K. love this book?

With both humor and scientific precision, Ed Yong takes us through the microscope lens into the world of microbes and microbiology that share our world and, in some cases, our bodies. Yong's book connects those worlds to show our interdependence. His book provides ample evidence that while disease-causing microbes grab most of the headlines, many others in the microbiome are essential allies for a healthy life and are critical to advancements in biotechnology.

By Ed Yong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Contain Multitudes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE WINNER OF THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE

Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It's an entire world, a colony full of life.

In other words, you contain multitudes.

They sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour, and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth.

In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.

You'll never think…


Book cover of Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech

K. Lee Lerner Author Of Biotechnology: In Context

From my list on biotechnology.

Why am I passionate about this?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

K.'s book list on biotechnology

K. Lee Lerner Why did K. love this book?

Sally Smith Hughes' highly readable tale of the genesis of Genentech provides a no-holds-barred look into the gritty details of how biotech firms are born. Hughes reveals how scientists, lawyers, and venture capitalists work together and collide in a crucible of competing disciplines and desires to produce transformative advances. For those interesting in biotech entrepreneurship or simply investing in biotech, this book offers key foundational insights into the industry.

By Sally Smith Hughes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Genentech as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1980, Genentech, Inc., a little-known California genetic engineering company, became the overnight darling of Wall Street, raising over $38 million in its initial public stock offering. Lacking marketed products or substantial profit, the firm nonetheless saw its share price escalate from $35 to $89 in the first few minutes of trading, at that point the largest gain in stock market history. Coming at a time of economic recession and declining technological competitiveness in the United States, the event provoked banner headlines and ignited a period of speculative frenzy over biotechnology as a revolutionary means for creating…


Book cover of How to Make a Vaccine: An Essential Guide for Covid-19 and Beyond

K. Lee Lerner Author Of Biotechnology: In Context

From my list on biotechnology.

Why am I passionate about this?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

K.'s book list on biotechnology

K. Lee Lerner Why did K. love this book?

John Rhodes, author of The End of Plagues: The Global Battle Against Infectious Disease now offers us a timely, concise, and easy-to-digest book that spans the history of vaccines, including the recent development of mRNA vaccines now on the frontlines of efforts to quell the COVID-19 global pandemic. Rhodes' experience and expertise in immunology and vaccine development show in his clear and easy-to-understand explanations of how vaccines work and why they are an essential public health tool.

By John Rhodes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Make a Vaccine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every corner of the world, changing our relationship to our communities, to our jobs, and to each other, the most pressing question has been-when will it end? Researchers around the globe are urgently trying to answer this question by racing to test and distribute a vaccine that could end the greatest public health threat of our time. In How to Make a Vaccine, an expert who has firsthand experience developing vaccines tells an optimistic story of how three hundred years of vaccine discovery and a century and a half of immunology research have come…


Book cover of The Voyage of the Beagle

David Horwell Author Of Galapagos Wildlife

From my list on the Galápagos Islands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up near Darwin’s house in Kent. Although only vaguely aware of his influence. My interest grew as I studied biology at school and geology at university. The evolutionary significance of Darwin’s finches stayed with me. I longed to sail in tropical waters like him and was fortunate enough to do so in the iconic Galápagos Islands. I was employed as a resident naturalist guide on yachts when tourism was just starting to take off. Instead of settling down to a regular job I became a tour leader. I wrote an educational book about the islands and then with a colleague Pete Oxford, the wildlife guide for Bradt.

David's book list on the Galápagos Islands

David Horwell Why did David love this book?

Darwin was chosen to accompany Captain FitzRoy on this voyage of exploration and science. Though Galápagos only represented five weeks of a five-year journey, it is the most significant chapter.

His journal takes us around the world as Darwin describes the natural history of the tropics and their relationship to the earth. He realised that isolated forms on archipelagos distil the process of natural selection. He was fascinated by the reptiles, especially the unique marine iguanas. Later the study of collected bird species brought him closer to his ideas on evolution.

Having lived on the islands, I am impressed by how much he observed in such a short time. He taught me how geology, climate and flora and fauna all play an important role in the natural world. It made me realise the value of patient observation.

By Charles Darwin,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Voyage of the Beagle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an Introduction by David Amigoni.

Charles Darwin's travels around the world as an independent naturalist on HMS Beagle between 1831 and 1836 impressed upon him a sense of the natural world's beauty and sublimity which language could barely capture. Words, he said, were inadequate to convey to those who have not visited the inter-tropical regions, the sensation of delight which the mind experiences'.

Yet in a travel journal which takes the reader from the coasts and interiors of South America to South Sea Islands, Darwin's descriptive powers are constantly challenged, but never once overcome. In addition, The Voyage of…


Book cover of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Yvonne Ventresca Author Of Pandemic

From my list on on pandemics published pre-COVID.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the author of short stories and novels including my young adult debut, Pandemic, which continues to be a timely read about surviving a widespread deadly virus. After the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 (commonly called Swine Flu), I was fascinated with the idea of a global illness that could be much, much worse. I researched historical diseases, interviewed public health officials, and the idea for my novel was born. Written and published before COVID-19, some of the details are eerily predictive of coronavirus. Pandemic won SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award the year after its publication, and a June 2022 reissue of the original novel includes updated resources and backmatter.

Yvonne's book list on on pandemics published pre-COVID

Yvonne Ventresca Why did Yvonne love this book?

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Quammen investigated the science behind “spillover”—the way that animal illnesses can mutate and infect humans. Given the grim subject matter, I found this nonfiction account of various diseases to be surprisingly engrossing and highly readable. Spillover was one of my inspirational resources when I created my fictional illness for my novel. Quammen shares information about Ebola, SARS, Lyme disease, AIDS, bird flu, and others in this well-researched book.

By David Quammen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Spillover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2020, the novel coronavirus gripped the world in a global pandemic and led to the death of hundreds of thousands. The source of the previously unknown virus? Bats. This phenomenon-in which a new pathogen comes to humans from wildlife-is known as spillover, and it may not be long before it happens again.

Prior to the emergence of our latest health crisis, renowned science writer David Quammen was traveling the globe to better understand spillover's devastating potential. For five years he followed scientists to a rooftop in Bangladesh, a forest in the Congo, a Chinese rat farm, and a suburban…


Book cover of The Gene: An Intimate History

David W. Ussery Author Of Computing for Comparative Microbial Genomics: Bioinformatics for Microbiologists

From my list on the history of heredity and DNA.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to hear stories about how people solve problems, and I have been curious about how science works since I was 12 years old. A decade later, when I was 22 years old, some of my friends joked that I "spoke DNA," and it’s true that I have been obsessed with trying to understand the physical structures of DNA for more than four decades now. I live my life vicariously through my students and help them to learn to tinker, troubleshoot, and recover from their failures.

David's book list on the history of heredity and DNA

David W. Ussery Why did David love this book?

I love to discuss this book with my students; this is a more recent (relative to the others) retelling of the story, with more details fleshed out through decades of scholarship in the area.

The author tells stories about his family and relates this to the discovery of the physical basis of heredity. This book was the inspiration for a Ken Burns series on PBS.

By Siddhartha Mukherjee,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Gene as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected as a Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Economist, Independent, Observer and Mail on Sunday

THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

`Dramatic and precise... [A] thrilling and comprehensive account of what seems certain to be the most radical, controversial and, to borrow from the subtitle, intimate science of our time... He is a natural storyteller... A page-turner... Read this book and steel yourself for what comes next'
Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

The Gene is the story of one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in our…


Book cover of A Guinea Pig’s History of Biology

Sam Kean Author Of The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science

From my list on the wonders of biology.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sam Kean is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including The Bastard Brigade, The Dueling Neurosurgeons, and The Disappearing Spoon. He edited The Best American Nature and Science Writing in 2018, and his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, and Slate. His work has been featured on NPR’s “Radiolab,” “Science Friday,” “All Things Considered,” and “Fresh Air,” and his podcast, The Disappearing Spoon, debuted at #1 on the iTunes charts for science podcasts.

Sam's book list on the wonders of biology

Sam Kean Why did Sam love this book?

A topsy-turvy look at biology from the point of view of the animals (and plants) that make it possible. Richly detailed and full of engrossing characters, from Darwin’s time up to the genetically engineered marvels of today.

By Jim Endersby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Guinea Pig’s History of Biology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved," Darwin famously concluded The Origin of Species, and for confirmation we look to...the guinea pig? How this curious creature and others as humble (and as fast-breeding) have helped unlock the mystery of inheritance is the unlikely story Jim Endersby tells in this book.

Biology today promises everything from better foods or cures for common diseases to the alarming prospect of redesigning life itself. Looking at the organisms that have made all this possible gives us a new way of understanding how we got here--and perhaps of thinking…


Book cover of The Logic of Life: A History of Heredity

David W. Ussery Author Of Computing for Comparative Microbial Genomics: Bioinformatics for Microbiologists

From my list on the history of heredity and DNA.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to hear stories about how people solve problems, and I have been curious about how science works since I was 12 years old. A decade later, when I was 22 years old, some of my friends joked that I "spoke DNA," and it’s true that I have been obsessed with trying to understand the physical structures of DNA for more than four decades now. I live my life vicariously through my students and help them to learn to tinker, troubleshoot, and recover from their failures.

David's book list on the history of heredity and DNA

David W. Ussery Why did David love this book?

I love François Jacob’s book. One of my favorite quotes from this is, "Evolution is a tinkerer."

I think that this is a great insight from one of the founders in the field, who shared the Nobel prize in 1965, for showing how genetic information flows from DNA to RNA to protein and that the control or regulation of this could come from proteins binding to regions of DNA upstream from genes.  

By Francois Jacob,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Logic of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The most remarkable history of biology that has ever been written."-Michel Foucault

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Francois Jacob's The Logic of Life is a landmark book in the history of biology and science. Focusing on heredity, which Jacob considers the fundamental feature of living things, he shows how, since the sixteenth century, the scientific understanding of inherited traits has moved not in a linear, progressive way, from error to truth, but instead through a series of frameworks. He reveals how these successive interpretive approaches-focusing on visible structures, internal structures (especially cells), evolution, genes, and DNA and other molecules-each have their own…


Book cover of The Truth Project

Deborah Crossland Author Of The Quiet Part Out Loud

From my list on YA that made me cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved story since I was little, and I’ve curated a life where it has always taken center stage in some or another. I was a high school English teacher for ten years, and have been a college professor for eight. But what really inspires me to write the books I do is my PhD in mythological studies. As a mythologist, I’m lucky enough to be able to see why stories resonate with us for so long and use those same themes and metaphors to write my own. 

Deborah's book list on YA that made me cry

Deborah Crossland Why did Deborah love this book?

This story is told in such an unusual way!

Medema writes in-verse as well as uses emails, texts, and Google searches to tell the story of a teen who finds out that yes, she really is the odd one out in her family because her dad is not actually her father. She and the heart-wrenching Kodiak Jones take us through what it means to find the people you love, whether they are actual blood-relations or not. If you’re not sobbing at the end of this book…

By Dante Medema,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth Project as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"A heart-wrenching quest for identity every YA reader will relate to, and a deep dive into the meaning of family." -Ellen Hopkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Debut author Dante Medema explores the emotional fallout after a teenage girl discovers she is the product of an affair. Told through a series of poems, text messages, and emails, this contemporary YA is perfect for fans of Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin.

Seventeen-year-old Cordelia Koenig intended to breeze through her senior project. While her peers stressed, Cordelia planned to use the same trace-your-roots genealogy idea her older sister used years prior.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in genetics, biotechnology, and Charles Darwin?

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