Quantum Mechanics, by Jim Al-Khalili (Ladybird Expert, 2017)

An overview of quantum mechanics, taking a largely historical approach. Another excellent, clear, uncluttered primer on a key topic. Just enough information to challenge and to get the reader enthused about the topic so that they go and find out more: the useful bibliography of accessible texts helps too.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Big Bang, by Marcus Chown (Ladybird Expert, 2018)

An accessible introduction to the beginning of the universe. A straightforward and (just about) graspable account of how it all began, and of the ramifications of this for the ways that the cosmos works now, and where it might all be going. As with other entries in this series, there’s enough here to make your investment in time worthwhile, while encouraging a more in-depth look also.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat, by Tim Spector (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2016)

A systematic debunking of popular canards about eating, weight loss, and food lifestyle. A persuasive, detailed, accessible, and comprehensive overview of the territory. Twin focuses become apparent: that gut bacteria diversity is important, and that First World tendencies towards processed, refined foodstuffs laced with antibiotics are problematic. Lots to think about here.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by Michael Moss (WH Allen, 2013)

An exploration of processed foods, in product formulation and marketing terms, and the health implications of reliance on prepackaged convenience eating. This US-centric discussion is detailed and clear on the ways major companies structure desire (the “bliss points” of food) through chemistry and psychological manipulation. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Laika, by Nick Abadzis (First Second, 2007)

The story of Laika (AKA Kudryavka), the first dog in space, plus those of her lab tech Yelena and of Soviet space programme chief Korolev. Excellent, touching canine biography, blending fancy and fact in detailed and intricate ways. A love story and one of Cold War pride, balanced with a plea regarding unnecessary animal experimentation. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

We Have No Idea: a Guide to the Unknown Universe, by Jorge Cham & Daniel Whiteson (John Murray, 2018)

A layperson’s guide to astrophysics, from the presenters of Jorge and Daniel Explain the Universe podcast. And an excellent beast this is too, being both detailed and accessible, leavened with jokes and cartoons, and with enough explanatory reach and power to offer clarity and depth to their overview of some of the universe’s biggest questions. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Shoot for the Moon: How the Moon Landings Taught us the 8 Secrets of Success, by Richard Wiseman (Quercus, 2019)

A guide to positive thinking, stickability, and efficiency, filtered through lessons learned from the Apollo space missions. Genial pop psychology matched well with an overview of NASA problem-solving and lateral thinking approaches to life. Nothing revelatory here, but great for Moon mission completists and fans of Wiseman alike.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, by Greta Thunberg (Penguin, 2019)

A collection of short speeches made in 2018 and 2019 by the teen climate change activist. The same ideas, repeated in different ways; a series of pleas for meaningful action against global warming to be prioritised over pointless rhetoric or ignoring the issues. Clear, straightforward and accessible.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.