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.

Why We Eat (Too Much), by Dr Andrew Jenkinson (Penguin Books, 2020)

An overview on current thinking on diet and nutrition. A clear, comprehensive and accessible account of contemporary science related to diet, obesity, and weight control. As might be expected, there’s a lot of bad advice/science to overcome, and a radical rethinking of nutrition advice given made, so the Western obesity epidemic might be approached. Recommended.

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

An Illustrated History of Filmmaking, by Adam Allsuch Boardman (Nobrow Books, 2018)

An overview of the development of motion pictures, from pre-photographic days to the present. Good-looking but insubstantial introduction: the scope of the subject renders this patchy despite its intentions. A sense of Boardman working towards something: the follow-up volume (on UFOs) is a more focused beast. The images are great though.

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.

Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales, by Penn Gillette (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

A stage magician’s account of his weight loss, and the unorthodox methods used to achieve this. A forceful, loquacious, funny and quite possibly at times too-salty-for-some diet memoir. Interesting and a fun read into the bargain, even if the approach used might not translate. As the author notes, though, this is a case study, not a recipe to follow.

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

Downsizing, by Tom Watson & Jo Lake (Kyle Books, 2020)

The former Labour politician’s account of his eight-stone weight loss, and the reversal of Type 2 diabetes. A scrappy book: equal parts name-droptastic autobiography, diet book (keto, basically), and Big Sugar polemic. While the core messages are sound, the scattershot approach – which reads as padding –  might be frustrating for some looking for focus.

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.