Cover courtesy of William Morrow

“My perfect pandemic book is ‘Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind,’ by Kermit Pattison. It is popular science/natural history at its finest. Cantankerous and feuding paleoanthropologists work in east Africa with the most fragile and hard-to-find evidence imaginable: ancient fossils that contain clues to human evolution. Pattinson is a master at drawing the character portraits of these fascinating and brilliant explorer-scientists while also explaining the delicate science to this non-scientist reader. It’s a page turner of geology, genomics, professional jealousies, academic publishing, ethnic conflict and skeletal reconstruction.

“What’s missing from this tome? COVID-19, Trump, white nationalism, divisive politics, isolation, Brexit, insurrection and all the other themes that have made this past year so stressful. The book is an escape from what ails us, all wrapped up in a super fun journey that makes the reader feel smart.” — JEANNE HEY, Saco

What are you reading?

Mainers, please email to tell us about the book on your bedside table right now. In a few sentences, describe the book and be sure to tell us what drew you to it as the pandemic – and its ripple effects – recede (at least we hope so). Was it a need to escape, a need to dig deeper? Something else? Send your pick to [email protected], and we may use it as a future Bedside Table.

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