In The Life of Slang (Oxford University Press), Julie Coleman tells how slang begins and is sustained.
In The Castrato and His Wife (Oxford University Press), Helen Berry has told a strange, scandalous, and sad story.
The Dreyfus Affair: The Scandal That Tore France in Two (Bloomsbury Press) by Piers Paul Read is a fine narrative of important history.
How Not to Be Eaten: The Insects Fight Back (University of California Press) by entomologist Gilbert Waldbauer details the protective strategies evolution has given to insects.
In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World (Basic Books) by mathematician Ian Stewart shows how simple equations and complex ones run our world.
The Doctor Dissected: A Cultural History of the Burke and Hare Murders (Oxford University Press) by Caroline McCracken-Flesher examines the cultural life of the grave-robbers' story.
Michael Erard's Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (The Free Press) teaches lessons from the language geeks.