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Get up to speed with the most popular developments in science, with everything from the tiniest atom to the farthest flung findings of the universe, and every scientific discovery in between. Our selection of books in this category will keep you up to date.
An absolutely fascinating and all-consuming read. Step into the past, and look to our future. Ross Barnett shows us some of the mammals that used to call Britain home but have since disappeared from our landscape. He features ten species that are extinct in the UK (and sometimes world), from the Sabretooth Cat, to Grey Wolves. He also discusses whether we could see some of these animals returning. I really enjoyed the tone set by the author. He is a palaeontologist with a PhD in Zoology and specialises in “seeking, analysing and interpreting ancient DNA”. Do take a look at the author section, he clearly knows his stuff, and discusses his thoughts with a straightforward, engaging, and often humorous way. He set my awareness buzzing by stating that we (humans) are usually the reason for extinction, “we can never appreciate what we are losing, even as we are losing it”, “lifespans are so short in comparison to the timescale of the effects that humans have”. Sobering indeed, yet this isn’t an exploration of doom and gloom. It is instead, a celebration of these animals, and an enticing look at what we could have. Backing his thoughts are case studies, beautiful photos, pictures, poetry, and quotations. Chosen as a Liz Pick of the Month, The Missing Lynx is a really special book I can wholeheartedly recommend.
The Vanity of Humanity is an entertaining look at anthropology and our perception of ourselves as different and special in comparison to the other creatures that inhabit the earth. I found this book to be very interesting and enjoyable. Throughout the author refers to his experience as a prison officer as well as wider reading that impacted his studies and worldview. Although you don’t have to read or be familiar with any of the other titles he mentions to enjoy this book, they and the bibliography serve as a list of recommendations for further reading. The Vanity of Humanity flowed quite seamlessly from topic to topic, handling evolution, communities, prison and the justice system, celebrity, death, money and God to name just a few. The author’s arguments are written in a clear and concise way, with humour and anecdotes throughout that help to make the abstract subject matter more enjoyable to read and easier to understand and digest. I enjoy reading books that focus on human nature and behaviour and I enjoy them even more when I’m not left struggling to concentrate on the language. This book uses understandable references and avoids jargon in order to make The Vanity of Humanity a really accessible book. I particularly liked the comparison of the creation of humanity to Frankenstien. The handling of more scientific concepts by equating them to simpler scenarios such as lego blocks was skilfully done. Part autobiographical, part popular science, this book calls into question humanity’s place in the world and the concept that we are any less animalistic than our primate relatives. This is a book that I enjoyed and would recommend.
This is a totally unique and breathtaking introduction to what lies beneath us, to the earth below our feet. Let this very special and beautiful book take you by the hand and lead you through the sunlit fields to the place where the underland begins, a place most human thoughts shy from in fear and confusion. This is a sequel to The Old Ways, yet you can begin here without concern, you can trust and join Robert Macfarlane as he explores the underland. I will admit that I am in love with the writing, the words, the vision that allows you to see and feel in darkness. I haven’t ever considered our deep connection to this stunning underworld in the way you are encouraged to here. Robert Macfarlane meets and shares experiences with people who have chosen to explore, to look beyond the obvious. I absolutely adored how much he shares, how accessible Underland is, his words reached out and connected with my thoughts and feelings, altering, reshaping, transforming. While there is plenty to fear for our future, all the time there are humans with this amount of love for our natural world, there is also hope. Underland is one of my picks of the month, and also one of our star books - it is quite simply stunning.
Knowing Your Mind explains what the human mind is, how human intelligence differs from computer intelligence, and where our minds appear to be taking us, drawing upon the latest developments in neuroscience and artificial intelligence. This scientific, academic work also manages to be approachable. The writing style makes it understandable for those who may not have a scientific background (like myself). I like that this book uses a wide range of analogies throughout. I found it helped me to understand the concepts being discussed. The ideas in the book develop gradually, from an understanding of human development and the human brain to the development of AI and the discussion of Super Intelligences and other intelligent life forms (e.g. aliens). Anybody who enjoyed Sapiens (by Yuval Harari), or Life 3.0 (by Max Tegmark), will almost certainly enjoy this book. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Diving through history and soaring across borders this truly fascinating book about birds was winner of the readers’ vote in Poland’s most prestigious literary prize, the Nike Award. Author Stanislaw Lubienski first began to observe birds as a child, he explores how people and art (stories, paintings, music, and dance) interact with birds. While he has always lived in and around his home town of Szczesliwice, his love for birds has taken him in person and in his thoughts around the world and back in time. I picked up my love for birds through my father, at home as a child we looked after some blind pheasants he had rescued, once he even nursed a particularly ill-tempered seagull back to health. So, I smiled at the story of James Bond, winced in sympathy as I heard how the photo of the eagle owl was taken, and my heart ached at the Last of the Curlews. A little bit different and a lot lovely, The Birds they Sang has crept into my heart to become a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.
Imagine a world where... Your phone is too big for your hand Your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body In a car accident you are 47% more likely to be injured. If any of that sounds familiar, chances are you're a woman. From government policy and medical research to technology, workplaces, and the media. Invisible Women reveals how in a world built for and by men we are systematically ignoring half of the population, often with disastrous consequences. Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the profound impact this has on us all. Discover the shocking gender bias that affects our everyday lives.
From the world-renowned physicist and best-selling author of The Elegant Universe comes this captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose In both time and space, the cosmos is astoundingly vast, and yet is governed by simple, elegant, universal mathematical laws. On this cosmic timeline, our human era is spectacular but fleeting. Someday, we know, we will all die. And, we know, so too will the universe itself. Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to understand it. Greene takes us on a journey across time, from our most refined understanding of the universe's beginning, to the closest science can take us to the very end. He explores how life and mind emerged from the initial chaos, and how our minds, in coming to understand their own impermanence, seek in different ways to give meaning to experience: in story, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and our longing for the timeless, or eternal. Through a series of nested stories that explain distinct but interwoven layers of reality-from the quantum mechanics to consciousness to black holes-Greene provides us with a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed. Yet all this understanding, which arose with the emergence of life, will dissolve with its conclusion. Which leaves us with one realization: during our brief moment in the sun, we are tasked with the charge of finding our own meaning. Let us embark.
Welcome home. A place 200 million years in the making. Long ago, our planet had only one gigantic land mass. Then something monumental happened. That supercontinent ruptured and seven different worlds were born. Each of those worlds - or continents - evolved, and continues to evolve, its own way of life. From the jungle of the Congo or the majestic Himalayas to the densely populated wilds of Europe or the comparatively isolated Australasia, Seven Worlds, One Planet explores the natural wonders that give each of our continents its distinct character. Following the animals that have made these iconic environments their home, it discovers spectacular wildlife stories that reveal what makes each of these seven worlds unique. With a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, Seven Worlds, One Planet is a stunning exploration of the planet, and the worlds within it, that we call home.
A stimulating, fresh, and thoughtful read that ponders and wanders through some of the big questions in philosophy. When I initially picked this book up, I did wonder whether it was a quirky guide to training your dog, I very quickly realised that it is in fact an interesting introduction to philosophy (for humans). The author Anthony McGowan is an award winning writer for children and young adults, and has lectured widely on creative writing and philosophy (he has a BA, Mphil and PhD in philosophy). He has joined the two together to produce the most fabulous book for anyone who has questions about the way we humans think and act. The author and his dog Monty chat about philosophy on their daily walks. And so we join them as they take a humorous light stroll through some really pretty big subjects, including happiness and ethics. It made me consider and think about some of the things I take for granted, the discussion between the two helps stimulate thoughts. There is one part where I simultaneously wanted to berate and hug the pair, you’ll know what I mean when you get there! At the end there are suggestions for further reading, including on logic, and the meaning of life. If you’re at all curious about philosophy and want a fascinating introduction, then look no further than How To Teach Philosophy to Your Dog as it is a wonderfully inspiring read.
The highly anticipated new book from Malcom Gladwell, host of the chart-topping podcast Revisionist History. With original archival interviews and musical scoring, this enhanced audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers brings Gladwell's renowned storytelling to life in his unparalleled narrating style. The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger's motives? Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings - from history, psychology and infamous legal cases - Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences. No one challenges our shared assumptions like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he uses stories of deceit and fatal errors to cast doubt on our strategies for dealing with the unknown, inviting us to rethink our thinking in these troubled times.
'Operation Sustainable Human' by Chris Macdonald is a frightening, frank and forceful description of the state of our planet but the author does offer hope if only we would all take action now. The book examines in turn the four main culprits which have caused our present dire predicament, namely our methods of food production, our penchant for travel, our throwaway society and the unholy alliance between politics and big business. It then goes on to recommend four actions we can all take to counteract each of these. We should adopt a much more plant-based diet, avoid fossil fuel powered modes of travel whenever possible, buy less 'stuff' and vote more responsibly. None of these is easy but we have to stop thinking that it makes no difference what any single person does...if enough people do it, it does make a difference. This book comes at a time when it seems that our young people are growing increasingly disillusioned with the progress towards halting climate change being made by their elders. The recent global climate strike will hopefully make more people in positions of power sit up and take notice and do something as time is rapidly running out. Chris Macdonald's book is cogent, concise and compelling. It should be compulsory reading for every person in every country, especially a certain president I don't need to name. I would urge anyone who loves Planet Earth to buy a copy and spread the ideas it contains because, to quote the author, there is no Planet B. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador Available on Amazon
This really is the most gorgeously scrumptious book, showcasing some truly beautiful and awe-inspiring skies. 365 photographs and paintings, information, science, poetry and quotations all sit inside this rather lovely cover. The book is a great size, not too unwieldy, and after the introduction, which also gives some handy page numbers of some of the highlights, every single page is adorned with clouds. Did you know there was a Cloud Appreciation Society? I didn’t, but of course it makes complete sense! Gavin Pretor-Pinney started the society and says: “Having your head in the clouds, even for just a few moments each day, is good for your mind, good for you body and good for your soul. This book aims to show you why.” It certainly does show you why, you can open it at random, return again and again, and just soak up the images. The next time you head out, you can look up and know a little bit more about our beautiful skies. A Cloud A Day is a stunner, visually and mentally stimulating, it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book.
Do you ever think you're the only one making any sense? Or tried to reason with your partner with disastrous results? Do long, rambling answers drive you crazy? Or does your colleague's abrasive manner get your back up? You are not alone. After a disastrous meeting with a highly successful entrepreneur, who was genuinely convinced he was 'surrounded by idiots', communication expert and bestselling author, Thomas Erikson dedicated himself to understanding how people function and why we often struggle to connect with certain types of people. Originally published in Swedish in 2014 as Omgiven Av Idioter, Erikon's Surrounded by Idiots is already an international phenomenon, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide, of which over 750,000 copies have been sold in Sweden alone. It offers a simple, yet ground-breaking method for assessing the personalities of people we communicate with - in and out of the office - based on four personality types (Red, Blue, Green and Yellow), and provides insights into how we can adjust the way(s) we speak and share information. Erikson will help you understand yourself better, hone communication and social skills, handle conflict with confidence, improve dynamics with your boss and team, and get the best out of the people you deal with and manage. He also shares simple tricks on body language, improving written communication and advice on when to back away or when to push on, and when to speak up or indeed shut up. Packed with 'aha!' and 'oh no!' moments, Surrounded by Idiots will help you understand and influence those around you, even people you currently think are beyond all comprehension. And with a bit of luck you can also be confident that the idiot out there isn't you!
When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is. The positive change in Joe's wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street. In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves.
Science has never been more popular. You don’t have to understand it to love it. We live in a golden age where we know more about the world and its origins than ever before. Here, some of the biggest questions ever asked find answers, as well as some of the smallest. This is a section bursting from its nucleus with protons of knowledge especially compiled for the lay enthusiast and the curious. Accessible science is no longer the domain of the scientist. We can all have a go at broadening our minds … and what’s more, we can do it from the relative comfort of our favourite chair. Relative comfort, because the chair is merely a mass of vibrating particles on a planet, hurtling through space and time, bending both as it goes in a Universe that may itself just be one of an infinite number of possible universes in an undefinable dimension of matter.
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