New and forthcoming

Letters to a Beekeeper

Alys Fowler (and others)

This the story of how, over the course of a year, Alys, the Guardian gardening writer, learns how to keep bees; and Steve, the urban beekeeper, learns how to plant a pollinator-friendly garden.

Part beautifully designed coffee-table book, part manifesto, this collection of engaging letters, emails, texts, recipes, notes and glorious photos creates a record of the trials, tribulations, rewards and joys of working with, rather than against, nature. And along the way, you will pick up a wealth of advice, tips and ideas for growing food and keeping pollinators well fed.

Letters to a Beekeeper is for lazy gardeners, novice beekeepers and everyone in between. It is the best rule-breaking, wildlife-friendly, guerilla, urban gardening, insect-identifying, honey-tasting, wax-dripping, epistolary how-to book you could ever hope to own.

Caesar's Last Breath - the Epic Story of the Air we Breathe

Sam Kean

It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.

In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.

With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.

Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

Hands

Darian Leader

How much do you really know about your own hands?

Throughout history , civilisations have been defined by the work of human hands: inventing tools, writing records, operating machinery, typing, texting, swiping. But beneath this known history is another, secret story: our hands are not the obedient servants that they seem to be. Through conscious and unconscious gesture, they reveal our deepest psychology, our weaknesses and obsessions, our personal history and our social conditioning.

Why do zombies walk with their hands outstretched? How does a new-born baby 'talk' with his hands? What is the connection between prayer beads, snuff boxes and cell phones? And most importantly, can we unlock the mystery of our hands in order to truly know ourselves?

The key to understanding everything around you - and everything within you - is staring you in the face. Take a journey through fascinating anecdotes and brilliant psychoanalytic research, through a legacy of ideas from da Vinci to Dickens to Die Hard. With wit and dexterity, Darian Leader reveals that there's much more to your hands than meets the eye.

Weapons of Math Destruction

Cathy O'Neil

New York Times Bestseller

'Fascinating and deeply disturbing' - Yuval Noah Harari, Guardian Books of the Year

'A manual for the 21st-century citizen... accessible, refreshingly critical, relevant and urgent' - Federica Cocco, Financial Times

A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life - and threaten to rip apart our social fabric

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.

And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort CVs, grant or deny loans, evaluate workers, target voters, and monitor our health.

O'Neil calls on modellers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.

Mysteries of the Quantum Universe

Thibault Damour (and others)

The bestselling French graphic novel about the mind-bending world of quantum physics

Famous explorer Bob and his dog Rick have been around the world and even to the Moon, but their travels through the quantum universe show them the greatest wonders they've ever seen. As they follow their tour guide, the giddy letter h (also known as the Planck constant), Bob and Rick have crepes with Max Planck, talk to Einstein about atoms, visit Louis de Broglie in his castle, and hang out with Heisenberg on Heligoland.

On the way, we find out that a dog - much like a cat - can be both dead and alive, the gaze of a mouse can change the universe, and a comic book can actually make quantum physics fun, easy to understand and downright enchanting.

The One Device

Brian Merchant

The secret history of the invention that changed everything and became the most profitable product in the world.

Odds are that as you read this, an iPhone is within reach. But before Steve Jobs introduced us to 'the one device', as he called it, a mobile phone was merely what you used to make calls on the go.

How did the iPhone transform our world and turn Apple into the most valuable company ever? Veteran technology journalist Brian Merchant reveals the inside story you won't hear from Cupertino - based on his exclusive interviews with the engineers, inventors and developers who guided every stage of the iPhone's creation.

This deep dive takes you from inside 1 Infinite Loop to nineteenth-century France to WWII America, from the driest place on earth to a Kenyan pit of toxic e-waste, and even deep inside Shenzhen's notorious 'suicide factories'. It's a first-hand look at how the cutting-edge tech that makes the world work - touch screens, motion trackers and even AI - made its way into our pockets.

The One Device is a road map for design and engineering genius, an anthropology of the modern age and an unprecedented view into one of the most secretive companies in history. This is the untold account, ten years in the making, of the device that changed everything.

Collecting the World

James Delbourgo

'Nothing so fully displays the grandeur of his mind as his immense and rare collections ... perhaps the fullest and most curious in the world', National Gazette, 1753

Hans Sloane (1660-1753) was the greatest collector of his time, and one of the greatest of all time. His name is familiar today through the London streets and squares named after him on land he once owned (Sloane Square, Hans Place), but the man himself, and his achievements, are almost forgotten.

Born in the north of Ireland, Sloane made his fortune as a physician to London's wealthiest residents and through investment in land and slavery. He became one of the eighteenth century's preeminent natural historians, ultimately succeeding his rival Isaac Newton as President of the Royal Society, and assembled an astonishing collection of specimens, artefacts and oddities - the most famous curiosity cabinet of the age.

Sloane's dream of universal knowledge, of a gathering together of every kind of thing in the world, was enabled by Britain's rise to global ascendancy. In 1687 he travelled to Jamaica, then at the heart of Britain's commercial empire, to survey its natural history, and later organised a network of correspondents who sent him curiosities from across the world. Shortly after his death, Sloane's vast collection was then acquired - as he had hoped - by the nation. It became the nucleus of the world's first national public museum, the British Museum, which opened in 1759.

This is the first biography of Sloane in over sixty years and the first based on his surviving collections. Early modern science and collecting are shown to be global endeavours intertwined with imperial enterprise and slavery but which nonetheless gave rise to one of the great public institutions of the Enlightenment, as the cabinet of curiosities gave way to the encyclopaedic museum. Collecting the World describes this pivotal moment in the emergence of modern knowledge, and brings this totemic figure back to life.

I Can’t Believe You Just Said That

Danny Wallace

Passive aggression. Road rage. Snarky tweets. Queue-jumpers. Idiots who are #justsaying. Fat shamers. Victim blaming. Furious waitresses who refuse to sell you a hot dog… We are ruder than we’ve ever been.

In this incisive and very funny book, Danny Wallace investigates the new wave of rudeness that threatens to overwhelm us. He travels the world, visiting our rudest critics, interviewing psychologists, psychiatrists, bell boys, cab drivers, bin men, barristers, politicians, a limo driver called José and at least one expert in cooked meat production. In doing so he uncovers the hidden truths behind what makes us rude, whether it can be caught, and how one small moment of rudeness—like being declined a hotdog—can snowball into disaster.

From the jihadist who launched a blistering attack on the “bad manners” of his fellow ISIS militants, to the mayor in Bogota who recruited an army of mimes to highlight inconsiderate driving—this is a very funny and powerful exploration into the way humans work and why it is surely time for an anti-rudeness revolution.

Infinite Monkey Cage

Brian Cox (and others)

The complete series 1-5 of the Sony Award Winning BBC Radio 4 show, The Infinite Monkey Cage, presented by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince.

Described by Judges of the Sony Award as; 'A brilliant way of being both innovative and instructive, bringing humour to what some will see as a dull subject. It's listenable, educational and brings a whole new audience to both the subject and the station'.

The duo, assisted by a panel of experts and entertainers, tackle subjects such as biology, cosmology, physics and why Brian’s hair is always so perfect. Guest include Dara O'Brian, Jon Ronson, Stephen Fry and Dave Gorman, amongst many more. The Infinite Monkey Cage is an engaging, entertaining and educational show that puts the fun back into science.

Insects

Stefan Gates

Ever been tempted by the thought of trying juicy deep fried mealworms, proteinrich cricket flower, or swapping your Walkers for salt and vinegar flavoured grasshoppers? If so then you are not alone! Over 2 billion people regularly eat insects as part of their diet, and the world is home to around 1,900 edible insect species.

For adventurous foodies and daring dieters comes the newest way to save the planet, eat more protein, and tickle taste buds. But this isn’t an insect cookbook. Instead it’s an informative field guide: exploring the origins of insect eating, offering tips on finding edible bugs and serving up a few delicious ideas of how to eat them once you’ve tracked them down!

It includes a comprehensive list on edible insects and where to find them, how to prepare them, their versatile usage and nutritional value as well as a few recipes. A bug-eating checklist covering all known edible bugs so readers can mark off the ones they’ve eaten and seek out new delicacies concludes the book.

This is a perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful, and adventurous side of entomophagy.