New and forthcoming

Tweet of the Day

BBC Natural History Radio (and others)

The complete first series of Tweet of the Day, with introductions by Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham, Kate Humble and many others.

First heard every weekday morning at 5.58am on BBC Radio 4, Tweet of the Day captured the imagination of early risers and bird lovers, proving so popular that it was named Radio Programme of the Year 2014. Each episode begins with a bird call or song, followed by fascinating ornithological detail about its owner.

This collection contains every edition from the first series, British Birds. The songs of over 160 birds can be heard over the course of a year, from the Cuckoo's call in spring to the summer seaside sound of the Herring Gull, the autumn song of the Robin and the Song Thrush's voice of hope in the depths of winter.

Featuring a mix of native birds, such asthe Blackbird and Tawny Owl, and migrant visitors including the Icterine Warbler and Ortolan Bunting, the series provides memorable insight into their behaviour and habits, explains their literary or folkloric associations, and tells stories of scientific or conservation success.

Presented by wildlife experts including Miranda Krestovnikoff, Steve Backshall,Michaela Strachan, Brett Westwood,Chris Watson, Martin Hughes-Games, John Aitchison and Bill Oddie, Tweet of the Day is a treat for the ears. Duration: 6 hours approx.

The Robin

Stephen Moss

No other bird is quite so ever-present and familiar, so embedded in our culture, as the robin. With more than six million breeding pairs, the robin is second only to the wren as Britain’s most common bird. It seems to live its life alongside us, in every month and season of the year. But how much do we really know about this bird?

In The Robin Stephen Moss records a year of observing the robin both close to home and in the field to shed light on the hidden life of this apparently familiar bird. We follow its lifecycle from the time it enters the world as an egg, through its time as a nestling and juvenile, to the adult bird: via courtship, song, breeding, feeding, migration – and ultimately death. At the same time we trace the robin's relationship with us: how did this particular bird – one of more than 300 species in its huge and diverse family – find it’s way so deeply and permanently into our nation’s heart and its social and cultural history? It’s a story that tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the robin itself.

Realtime

Kevin Fong

Within minutes of the crash, you land at the scene. But nothing can prepare you for what you now find. So what do you do?

Professor Kevin Fong flies with the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, making split-second, life-or-death decisions in the most extreme circumstances. In this gripping blend of memoir and reportage, he confronts a disturbing truth: sometimes even the best trained expert cannot know the right thing to do.

Telling stories of astonishing skill and catastrophic error, he shows that our ability to move at ever greater speeds in ever greater safety comes with a bitter irony: when something goes wrong – as it must – reacting quickly and effectively enough is now beyond human capability. Reflecting on his own dramatic experiences and those of war medics, pilots and surgeons, Fong considers he we might come to terms with the mess and blur of real decisions made in realtime.

A Map of the Invisible

Jon Butterworth

What is the universe made of? How do we know? And what don't we know yet?

Over the last sixty years, scientists around the world have worked together to explore the fundamental constituents of matter, and the forces that govern their behaviour. The result, so far, is the ‘Standard Model’ of elementary particles: a theoretical map of the basic building blocks of the universe. With the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012, the map as we know it was completed, but also extended into strange and wonderful new realms.

A Map of the Invisible is an explorer’s guide to the Standard Model and the extraordinary world of particle physics. In words and pictures, pioneering physicist Jon Butterworth charts the terrain of atoms and quarks, electrons and neutrinos, and the forces that shape the universe. Step by step, discovery by discovery, we journey into the world of the unseen, from everyday physics to the latest research, from the smallest particle to black holes and dark matter, and beyond, to the outer reaches of the cosmos and the frontiers of human knowledge.

Beautifully illustrated, with charts and maps offering an inventive visual glossary as the journey progresses, A Map of the Invisible provides an essential introduction to our world, and to particle physics. It is a landmark work of non-fiction by one of the great scientists and science writers of today.

The Vacation Guide to the Solar System

Olivia Koski (and others)

Imagine taking a hike along the windswept red plains of Mars to dig for signs of life, or touring one of Jupiter’s sixty-four moons where you can take photos of its swirling storms. For a mini-break on a tight budget, the Moon is quite majestic and very quiet if you can make it during the off-season.

Beautifully illustrated and packed with real-world science, The Vacation Guide to the Solar System is the essential planning guide for the curious space adventurer, covering all of the essentials for your next voyage, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive. Written by an astronomer from The American Museum of Natural History and one of the creators of the Guerilla Science collective, this tongue-in-cheek reference guide is an imaginative exploration into the ‘What if’ of space travel, sharing fascinating facts about the planets in our solar system and even some moons!

For fans of fun science books like What If? and AsapSCIENCE, as well as space adventures like Doctor Who, The Martian and Interstellar.

Caesar's Last Breath

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.

The One Device

Brian Merchant

We know the iPhone as the device that transformed our world, changing everything from how we talk to each other and do business, to how we exercise, travel, shop, and watch TV. But packed within its slim profile is the fascinating, untold story of scientific, technological, and business breakthroughs - global in scope, sometimes centuries in the making and coming from vastly different disciplines - that enabled Apple to create the most profitable product in history.

For all the time we spend swiping, tapping, and staring at iPhones, you think there would be few things we didn't know about these gadgets. But think again.

The One Device is a Magic School Bus trip inside the iPhone - traveling into its guts, peeling back its layers, and launching explorations that take us to the driest place on earth and a Mongolian lake of toxic sludge, down the Silk Road, into nineteenth-century photography and all the way back to Cupertino, California, where members of the original design team reflect on the earth-shattering work they did.

As multifaceted as the invention it follows, The One Device is a roving, wide-lens approach to tech history that engages the imagination as it explores the marvel of engineering that millions of us use each day.

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.

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.

A Crack in Creation

Jennifer Doudna (and others)

A handful of discoveries have changed the course of human history. This book is about the most recent and potentially the most powerful and dangerous of them all.

It is an invention that allows us to rewrite the genetic code that shapes and controls all living beings with astonishing accuracy and ease. Thanks to it, the dreams of genetic manipulation have become a stark reality: the power to cure disease and alleviate suffering, to create new sources of food and energy, as well as to re-design any species, including humans, for our own ends.

Jennifer Doudna is the co-inventor of this technology, known as CRISPR, and a scientist of worldwide renown. Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, here she provides the definitive account of her discovery, explaining how this wondrous invention works and what it is capable of.

A Crack In Creation also asks us to consider what our new-found power means: how do we enjoy its unprecedented benefits while avoiding its equally unprecedented dangers? As Doudna argues, every member of our species is implicated in the answers to these questions. Somehow we must consider and act together.

The future of humankind – and of all life on Earth – is at stake. This book is an essential guide to the path that now lies ahead.

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.

Science in the Soul

Richard Dawkins

Science in the Soul is a kaleidoscopic argument for the power and the glory of science. Breathtaking, brilliant and passionate, the essays, journalism, lectures and letters in this new collection make an unanswerable case for the wonder of scientific discovery and its power to stir the imagination; for the practical necessity of scientific endeavour to society; and for the importance of the scientific way of thinking – particularly in today’s ‘post-truth’ world.
More than forty pieces are gathered here, with an introduction and new commentary by the author in dialogue with himself across the years. They range over subjects from evolution and Darwinian natural selection to the role of scientist as prophet, whether science is itself a religion, the probability of alien life in other worlds, and the beauties, cruelties and oddities of earthly life in this one. Alongside the explications, the celebrations and the controversies are wonderfully funny ventures into satire and parody, and moving personal reflections in memory and honour of others.
A sparkling showcase for his rapier wit, the clarity, precision and vigour he brings to an argument, the beauty of his prose, the depth of his feeling and his capacity for joy, Science in the Soul is further evidence of Richard Dawkins’ status as one of science’s all-time great communicators.

Pale Rider

Laura Spinney

With a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people and a global reach, the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 was the greatest human disaster, not only of the twentieth century, but possibly in all of recorded history. And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I.

In Pale Rider, Laura Spinney recounts the story of an overlooked pandemic, tracing it from Alaska to Brazil, from Persia to Spain, and from South Africa to Odessa. Telling the story from the point of view of those who lived through it, she shows how the pandemic was shaped by the interaction of a virus and the humans it encountered; and how this devastating natural experiment put both the ingenuity and the vulnerability of humans to the test.

Drawing on the latest research in history, virology, epidemiology, psychology, and economics, Laura Spinney narrates a catastrophe that changed humanity for decades to come, and continues to make itself felt today. In the process she demonstrates that the Spanish flu was as significant – if not more so – as two world wars in shaping the modern world; in disrupting, and often permanently altering, global politics, race relations, family structures, and thinking across medicine, religion and the arts.

Collecting the World

James Delbourgo

Hans Sloane was a young doctor from Northern Ireland who made his way in London and eventually become physician to the king and much of London society. In his youth he made a defining visit to Jamaica, where he began collecting 'curiosities' of all kinds. He eventually became the centre of a worldwide network which allowed him to assemble the collections which became the core of the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the British Library. This is the first major biography of Sloane in 60 years. It explores not just the impact of an extraordinary man, but allows us a window onto the moment when the meaning of collections and collecting changed.

Mysteries of the Quantum Universe

Thibault Damour (and others)

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

'Tintin for nerds' (Stylist, France)

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 discover that the universe is bouncy, 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 Plant Messiah

Carlos Magdalena

From the world's tiniest waterlily to the 'Coral Tree', Carlos Magdalena has an uncanny ability to bring rare, breathtakingly beautiful plants back from the brink of extinction.

As botanical horticulturist at London's famous Kew Gardens - the most biodiverse place on the planet - he has over 7,000 species under his care in his 'Noah's Ark' plant nursery. He is highly regarded around the world for his pioneering work with waterlilies, battling to save rare specimens against man-made ecological destruction and even thieves hunting for wealthy collectors.

Carlos travels to remote and dangerous locations - from the jungles of Mauritius to the most remote areas of the Australian outback - and develops groundbreaking, leftfield techniques to encourage weird and wonderful plants to propagate and prosper.

In The Plant Messiah, Carlos shares his thrilling adventures, telling the stories of these incredible plants and his lifetime spent racing to save them.

Non-fiction

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