Popular Science

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.

The End of Bias

The End of Bias

Author: Jessica Nordell Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/09/2021

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.

Rebugging the Planet

Rebugging the Planet

Author: Vicki Hird Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

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 to the festival to talk about Rebugging the Planet. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, watch this event and understand how important insects and other inverterbrates are for us, why we need to love them more and do more to help them thrive and survive. Check out a preview of the event here.  

Science Fictions

Science Fictions

Author: Stuart Ritchie Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

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. 

Entangled Life

Entangled Life

Author: Merlin Sheldrake Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

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.

Star Books
Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Author: Tom Kerss Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

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.

The Power of Your Senses

The Power of Your Senses

Author: Russell Jones Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/07/2021

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.

Breath

Breath

Author: James Nestor Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

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

How to Make Good Things Happen

Author: Marian Rojas Estape, M. D. Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/2021

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.

eBooks of the Month
Wild Nights Out

Wild Nights Out

Author: Chris Salisbury Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

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.    

The Last Stargazers

The Last Stargazers

Author: Emily Levesque Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

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.

Your Mental Health Workout

Your Mental Health Workout

Author: Zoë Aston Format: Ebook Release Date: 13/05/2021

Your Mental Health Workout focuses on giving your mind some attention, in the same way you might change your eating or exercise habits to get physically fitter. Think of it as the mental health equivalent of a five-week gym membership, focusing on your thoughts and feelings and how you respond to them. The book was very easy to navigate, with weekly checklists and planners at the beginning to keep me on track (printable copies are available from the author’s website). Everything in the book is very practical and explained in simple terms and a friendly tone. I loved the way Zoe Aston, a psychotherapist, approaches a mental health workout in the same way we would approach a physical one – setting goals, warming up, weekly workouts and daily workouts – with easy exercises to build ‘mental muscle’. There’s even an additional chapter on ‘Physio for your feelings’. A fun and informative way to look after my mental health and keep stress and anxiety at bay. 

eBooks of the Month
Empire of Ants

Empire of Ants

Author: Olaf Fritsche, Susanne Foitzik Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/05/2021

What a fabulously readable and eye-opening book this is. With experts guiding your way, visit the amazing world of ants as they build, raise, grow, and hunt, raid and devour. I’ve always been enthralled by ants and have watched in fascination as they purposefully march their way through life. I’ve also wondered what happens to the lone lost explorer who ends up on your clothing potentially miles away from home, well I found out the answer to this and learned a whole host of other interesting facts in Empire of Ants. Yet this isn’t a data and statistic gala, the writing duo of Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche have ensured an engaging and absorbing read. One of the first things we are told is that: “If all the ants suddenly disappeared, terrestrial ecosystems across the word would be on their knees… Without ants, the natural world would suffer a long period of instability and would never look the same again”. They’re important then, these bustling ants who exist and create and invent, there’s plenty to learn as we are introduced to them by biologist Susanne. There are so many similarities with humans, and yet their structure could quite easily sit in the realms of fantasy. Empire of Ants is an intensely satisfying and entertaining read that opens up a whole new world.