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.
After years of experiencing depression himself – during which was prescribed anti-depressants and underwent therapy – award-winning science writer Alex Riley began to question the effectiveness of the available treatments for what has become “one of the world’s most prevalent disorders”. In A Cure for Darkness, Riley tells his own story before delving into centuries of science and treatments, illuminating past and present methods, as well as new hopes, for the future of mental health. It's a fascinating look at the treatment of depression that blends popular science, narrative history, and memoir.
‘The End of the World and the Last God’ by Pierre-Henri d'Argenson is an idea-based book that explores the reasons why space exploration seems to have captured the human imagination once again. Looking at a range of difficult and philosophical questions about evolution and modern life, this book questions whether our aims to reach for the stars come from our innate desire to explore or a boredom with life on Earth. I found the arguments in this book to be well written, and well translated by James Christie. Taking us through human history, our complete exploration of the world and development from hunters to more sedentary work, to consumerism and the part that religion could possibly play in any future interstellar life. Within these pages you will find intelligent arguments and plenty of food for thought as to what a life among the stars would look like. With journeys into space coming in to the forefront of our minds and the media in recent years, ‘The End of the World and the Last God’ looks into what could be driving us as a species to head to space and what some of the realities of space living may be. I found the section looking at religion to be particularly interesting, as an atheist I’d never thought of the contradiction of space travel and a God who we usually depict as living among the stars and how our aims for space travels and looking for other hospitable planets is potentially a “rejection” of what a God has provided us.
Unconscious bias: persistent prejudiced behaviour that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. Its effects can be corrosive, even lethal. It robs organizations of talent, science of breakthroughs, politics of insight, individuals of their futures and communities of justice. So what real-world steps can we take to counteract it? Drawing on ten years' immersion in the topic, Jessica Nordell digs deep into the cognitive science and social psychology that underpin efforts to create change, and introduces us to the people who are practising a range of promising methods: the police using mindfulness to regulate high-stress situations; the doctors whose diagnostic checklists help eliminate bias in treatment; the lawyers and educators striving to embed equality all the way from the early-years playroom to the boardroom. Biased behaviour can be ended. This path-breaking, inspiring and indispensable book shows us how.
Imbued with infectious personal passion as it shares expert information and plenty of practical guidance, Vicki Hird’s Rebugging the Planet is a brilliant book for bug-lovers of all ages and, given bugs’ vital importance to the upkeep and well-being of Planet Earth (let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge the fact that bees contribute more to the UK economy than the Queen), it deserves to be enjoyed and implemented far and wide - at home, and in classrooms too. In fact, this is perfect for reading and implementing during longer holidays from school, or over the course of a term, especially chapter four which presents an extensive range of how-to ideas for re-bugging your own patch of the world. But back to the beginning. The book sets out its inspirational stall in the opening chapters by explaining all the vital things bugs do for us, among them pollinating plants, feeding birds, feeding humans, defending our food crops, cleaning our water, controlling pests, and healing us. Maggots, for example, can remove (munch) and disinfect rotting flesh, leeches can stop clots, and the honey made by bees has anti-inflammatory properties. To play a role in the author’s re-bugging initiative, readers might find themselves inspired to build a bug palace, buy bug-friendly food from bug-buddy farmers, and much more. This is packed with plenty of ways to live a bug-better life, which in turn means living on a better planet. The LoveReading LitFest invited Vicki Hird to the festival to talk about Rebugging the Planet. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member.
Medicine, education, psychology, economics - wherever it really matters, we look to science for guidance. But what if science itself can't always be relied on? In this vital investigation, Stuart Ritchie reveals the disturbing flaws in today's science that undermine our understanding of the world and threaten human lives. With bias, careless mistakes and even outright forgery influencing everything from austerity economics to the anti-vaccination movement, he proposes vital remedies to save and protect science - this most valuable of human endeavours - from itself.
Truly fascinating, this is one of the most surprising books I’ve read in a while. Seriously, I could rave on and on about it! Journey to what feels like an entirely different planet and explore the wonder of fungi. “Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live...Yet they live their lives largely hidden from view , and over 90% if their species remain undocumented.” Author Merlin Sheldrake caught and held my attention from the outset. I had to stop reading every so often just to contemplate the world that was opening up in front of me. I still feel gobsmacked days after reading it. Fungi has shaped our history and “the ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in breakthrough technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘wood wide web’, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems.” Entangled Life made me reconsider established thoughts and opened my eyes to new ones. I want to recommend it to everyone, for me it’s a genuine must-read and just had to be included on my list of Liz Picks of the Month and as a LoveReading Star Book.
Tom Kerss is an astronomer, astrophotographer and night sky explorer who has previously worked at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and now runs world-class courses on astronomy. The more adventurous will want to avoid paying a premium to an aurora adventure travel business or resort, and find their own path. This book doesn’t simply list destinations and access, but offers scientifically-backed advice on timings with respect to lunar and solar cycles and practical tips such as how best to position yourself with respect to towns and cities. Not being a scientist myself, it was great to read the science behind auroras explained in an accessible and entertaining manner. The book even explores the history of the lights and their interpretation and impact on our earthly cultures. The Northern Lights are out of this world, and they are here for us to enjoy and marvel at. Northern Lights provides everything that is required to take your trip to another level. *** Don't miss Tom Kerss in conversation at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September when he shares the magic, mystery and the science of the Northern Lights.
AS HEARD ON THE CHRIS EVANS SHOW Which scents can lower stress? What music can make you more productive? And why does coffee taste better from a red cup? Our senses have a powerful effect on how we think, feel and behave; yet we don't use them to anywhere near their full potential. Using his extensive knowledge of sensory science, multisensory expert Russell Jones shows you how to make small changes to your day and experience life like you never have before. So, whether you want to feel energised in the morning, get the most from your exercise, be efficient at work, really enjoy your food or have the most restful night's sleep possible, read this book and discover the real power of your senses. Previously published as Sense.
No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you're not breathing properly. There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. In Breath, journalist James Nestor travels the world to discover the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can: - jump-start athletic performance - rejuvenate internal organs - halt snoring, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disease, and even straighten scoliotic spines None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of ancient wisdom and cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.
How to Make Good Things Happen is a well-researched book on managing your stress and anxiety levels, and how our mental health influences our physical health and day-to-day lives. Written by an American psychiatrist, it’s not a quick read or self-help book, but is more of a scientific look at our hormones and how our brain works in relation to our emotions – love, sadness, happiness, guilt – especially at times of stress. To combat stress, we need to train ourselves to see positivity in all situations, rather than focusing on negativity, and we also need to learn how to stop overthinking. The book uses practical approaches based on science, including the evidence for mindfulness and omega-3 foods in brain health. I loved the case studies dotted around the book – short stories about people the author has met over the years, some as patients and others just in passing. The book seeks to help its readers see the good in everything so that they can lead a healthier, more fulfilling life. An interesting read.
Calling all outdoor adventurers who want to walk on the wild side by the light of the moon! While there’s no shortage of brilliant books to inspire and guide nature exploration in young adventurers, Chris Salisbury’s Wild Nights Out is the first nature guide to focus on night-time activities, which gives both the book and its activities a distinct and decidedly magical edge. With a foreword by Chris Packham, this is a brilliant book for grown-ups to use with 7+-year-olds who share their passion for the great outdoors. The text addresses adults, as opposed to chattily speaking to children direct, but with a background in theatre and environmental education, and currently working as professional storyteller alongside directing the Call of the Wild Foundation programme for educators-in-training, the author is well-placed to advise on how to engage young explorers. As for the activities, the book covers a blend of games, walks and sensory experiences, the latter of which form an excellent foundation from which to explore the world at night, with exercises designed to focus and enhance one’s sensory perceptions. Then there are practical activities covering the likes of learning to call for owls, detect bats and understand the night sky alongside immersive theatrical activities, such as hosting nocturnal animal performances and fireside storytelling. With black-and-white illustrations throughout and activities to last the entire summer holidays, this certainly shines an inspiring and informative light on night-time nature. You can find more recommended adventure reads in our curation for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2021 FINALIST FOR THE PEN/E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD AN AMAZON BEST BOOK OF 2020 To be an astronomer is to journey to some of the most inaccessible parts of the globe, braving mountain passes, sub-zero temperatures, and hostile flora and fauna. Not to mention the stress of handling equipment worth millions. It is a life of unique delights and absurdities ... and one that may be drawing to a close. Since Galileo first pointed his telescope at the heavens, astronomy has stood as a fount of human creativity and discovery, but soon it will be the robots gazing at the sky while we are left to sift through the data. In The Last Stargazers, Emily Levesque reveals the hidden world of the professional astronomer. She celebrates an era of ingenuity and curiosity, and asks us to think twice before we cast aside our sense of wonder at the universe.