Carl Zimmer is a master at describing the sort of shiny objects that obsess the sci-curious: children that leave neurons behind in their mother’s brain, mice that pass memories down in their sperm, his own Neanderthal DNA. But the heft and depth of his new book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh (and it is a hefty tome!) is that the shiny objects are merely the way in to big, complicated stories told in straightforward, engaging prose. So the tale about the giant’s bones turns into a discussion of the thorny topic of calculating heritability. And that crazy mouse experiment? Carl bravely tackles the contentious debate between epigenetic researchers and their naysayers.