POSITIVE SIDE OF WAR? ... Ian Morris, the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics, professor of history and a fellow in the Archaeology Center at Stanford University, has written "War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots" (Profile Books Ltd., London). While working on his previous book, "Why the West Rules — for Now," he found "that every time there was a big turning point in the story, mass violence was always involved." But afterward, societies were made safer and richer. "War" delves into why war drives progress and questions what future wars might lead to. The book is available at amazon.com.
A KILLER TOPIC ... Palo Alto resident Alan Wu, a professor of lab medicine at University of California, San Francisco, and director of the Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratories at San Francisco General Hospital, has published the second of three books based on his 30 years as a practicing toxicologist. "Toxicology! Because What You Don't Know Can Kill You," a collection of stories based on real events in which people faced unusual and life-threatening situations, was released in January through amazon.com. The second book, "The Hidden Assassin: When Clinical Lab Tests Go Awry" was released in April, and the third, "Microbiology! Because What You Don't Know Will Kill You," is now being written.
AUTHOR TALKS ... Upcoming authors speaking at Books Inc., #74 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, include John Rosengren, "The Fight of Their Lives" (July 2, 7 p.m.); and Karen Rizzo, "Famous Baby," in conversation with Lisen Stromberg and presented by Peninsula Parlour (July 9, 7 p.m., with a portion of sales benefiting Abilities United). And at 300 Castro St., Mountain View, these authors will speak: Kim Stolz, "Unfriending My Ex: And Other Things I'll Never Do" (July 9, 7 p.m.); Erika Johansen, "The Queen of the Tearling" (July 11, 7 p.m.); and M.P. Cooley, "Ice Shear" (July 22, 7 p.m.). Information: booksinc.net
MORE TALKS ... Upcoming authors at Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, include K.D. Keenan, "The Obsidian Mirror" (June 28, 2 p.m.); Lee Kravetz and David Feldman, "Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success" (July 10, 7:30 p.m.); and Ellen Sussman, "A Wedding in Provence" (July 15, 7:30 p.m.). Information: keplers.com