Advance Copy: Backstories on books by NASW members

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit to submit your report.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Lisa Selin Davis Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare To Be Different

Until the mid-20th century, boys often wore pink, & girls, blue. Mamie Eisenhower's love for pink in the 1950s reinforced its use for girls. Some girls & boys reject gender stereotypes—colors, toys, clothes, activities, & behaviors—Lisa Selin Davis reports in Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare To Be Different. They typically become well-rounded, self-confident adults.

Christopher Wanjek: Spacefarers — How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond

Imagine vacationing at a hotel in low-earth orbit, within 200 miles of the Earth’s surface—a genuine out-of-this-world experience. Though daunting challenges remain, the potential for scientific advances, mining profits, and the thrill of space tourism likely will stimulate heightened space exploration, Christopher Wanjek writes in Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

Emily Willingham: Phallacy — Life Lessons from the Animal Penis

The notion that the penis is the throbbing obelisk of all masculinity is a fallacy, Emily Willingham asserts in Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis. Willingham, a PhD in biological sciences who writes and teaches about how gonads and penises develop and work, provides an entertaining survey of flabby studies with a patriarchal perspective, supporting her conclusions with hard science.

Cheryl Pellerin: Healing with Cannabis

Cannabis, approved for medical use in at least 35 states, also is available without a prescription in 11 states, Washington DC, and 2 US territories. These stats suggest it’s high time for Cheryl Pellerin’s guidebook on why & how cannabis works in the body, Healing with Cannabis: The Evolution of the Endocannabinoid System and How Cannabinoids Help Relieve PTSD, Pain, MS, Anxiety, and More.

Linda Zajac: Four Unofficial Guides to Minecraft

In the twilight, your enchanted bow and boots shimmer. No need to swim across the lake. Just walk on water. Elementary school-age children who enjoy the computer game Minecraft can master this skill and more with the aid of Linda Zajac’s Unofficial Guide to Minecraft Enchantments. The book is one of four new guides to different facets of Minecraft play Zajac created in only three months.

Steve Olson: Apocalypse Factory

The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, August 9, 1945, contained nuclear material manufactured at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state. Histories of the Manhattan Project and the Cold War generally neglect Hanford, an oversight Steve Olson, who grew up in the nearby town of Othello, aims to correct in The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age.

Susan D’Agostino: How to Free Your Inner Mathematician

If the mathematical properties of wallpaper patterns, the best way to stack oranges, or the fairness of voting methods stir your curiosity, this book is for you. In How to Free Your Inner Mathematician: Notes on Mathematics and Life, Susan D’Agostino aims to help readers discard resistance to tackling mathematical concepts and explore new ways to master these ideas. She includes 300+ sketches.

Emily Anthes: The Great Indoors

Even before COVID-19 lockdowns, most of us spent 90 percent of our time indoors. Not only do thousands of microbes live alongside us but light and noise exposure, outdoor views, and other environmental factors affect both our mental and physical well-being, Emily Anthes reports in The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness.

John Farrell: The Clock and the Camshaft

Although nailing a bent strip of iron to a horse’s hoof dates to Roman times, widespread use of horseshoes arose only at the end of the 800s. Horseshoes provided better traction and boosted draft horses’ endurance, helping foster greater agricultural productivity, John Farrell reports in The Clock and the Camshaft and Other Medieval Inventions We Still Can’t Live Without.