Dorling Kindersley: Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy

 Published by DK March 2017

902aA decade-by-decade history celebrating the much-loved Marvel characters, the Guardians of the Galaxy. This beautiful book, illustrated with Marvel comic art, covers everything you need to know about the popular anti-heroes – from their first appearance in 1969 to their reincarnation in 2008. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Cosmic Outlaws examines iconic Guardians of the Galaxy characters like Groot, Gamora and Star-Lord, while showcasing key Marvel Comics issues and exploring iconic storylines. Packed with information on allies, like Captain America and The Thing, enemies, such as the Badoon and the Universal Church of Truth, locations, and much more, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Guide to the Cosmic Outlaws is a must-have for fans of Marvel comics.

The only thig missing from this superb book about the Guardians of the Galaxy is anything whatsoever to do with their screen personas, the brilliant actors who brought the characters to life in the Marvel movies. Otherwise, it’s a treasure trove of information, beautifully illustrated and presented in the way only D can do it..


Dorling Kindersley: Natural Wonders of the World

 Published by DK October 2017

902bA continent by continent exploration of planet Earth’s most amazing natural wonders and captivating landscapes, with a foreword by Chris Packham.

From Iceland’s Skógafoss to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, discover which of the world wonders should definitely make it onto your bucket list with this unparalleled survey of the world’s incredible natural treasures.

Natural Wonders of the World combines breathtaking landscape photography with 3D terrain models and other explanatory artworks to reveal what lies beneath the surface and show how geographical features are formed. From South America’s Amazon River to Asia’s Himalayas and Australia’s Ninety Mile Beach, this is a truly unrivalled exploration of Earth’s most amazing places.

To complete the picture, the plants and animals that inhabit these remarkable environments are also included, making Natural Wonders of the World a unique celebration of our world as well as the most accessible-ever guide to Earth’s geological processes and features.

Led You don’t have to have a background in Earth sciences or geography to appreciate the stunning presentation of the natural wonders of the planet we inhabit. This is almost like a David Attenborough programme in book form – it’s a coffee table book, but it’s also readable. Superb.


Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind The Songs

 Published by Carlton March 2019

902cThis is the first book to cover every officially released track, from hits to obscurities, from 1974’s Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. to 2014’s High Hopes. Packed full of insightful stories from Springsteen’s long career, Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind the Songs takes a detailed look at each and every one of Springsteen’s album tracks, providing a unique look at this rock legend’s method, and includes many anecdotes and insights into the great American singer/songwriter. Hiatt provides an exhaustive, meaningful and unique look at the writing, recording and significance of Springsteen’s singular catalogue of songs. He draws on previously unseen interview material with Bruce himself, as well as many important people involved in the recording process over the years, including Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, David Sancious, Mike Appel, Bob Clearmountain, Ron Aniello, Jimmy Iovine, Louis Lahav, Chuck Plotkin, Tom Morello and Larry Alexander.

…A super-duper encyclopedia of the Boss’s songs, although there’s nothing in it about the Sessions band that wowed everyone (and still wow me every time I play my DVDs and CDs) with their magnificent renderings of Skiffle and Folk-rock standards. Springsteen is a giant amongs performers and makes most of today’s wailers and moaners look like what they are – talentless. This magnificent book pays tribute to a performer who puts his heart and soul into every concert he undertakes.


Puzzles to Unwind

 Published by Carlton February 2019

902dWhen you need to unwind, the last thing you want is to have to wrap your head around an intricate new puzzle type. Overworked and Underpuzzled: Puzzles to Unwind is the puzzle book for you. With 200 all-time favourite puzzles, you’ll have all the fun of puzzling, and still be able to decompress after a long day. Conundrum favourites included inside are crosswords, logic grids, jig words, Sudoku, spot the difference, riddles and more, and each challenge has been designed at a level to massage your mind when you need it most.

Superb collection of Only Connect type word puzzles and Sudoku classics that will have you scratching your head as you try to puzzle them out.



Rod Pyle: Mars

 Published by Carlton March 2019

902eAll eyes are on Mars. NASA’s new lander, InSight, has touched down on the red planet, and in two years Mars 2020 rover will depart Cape Canaveral bound for the red planet. The ultimate challenge is to enable crewed missions to Mars by the 2030s – the next giant leap for mankind. In Mars: A Journey of Discovery, NASA historian and award-winning space writer Rod Pyle takes us through previously uncharted territory to experience the unravelling of the mysteries of Mars first-hand and as they happened. With unparalleled access to NASA’s archives, he traces the exploration of the red planet from fleeting telescopic examinations of the first flybys in the 1960s, through the landers of the 1970s, to the increasingly sophisticated rovers and orbiters now exploring every region of the planet. Insider documents from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including newly found hand-drawn renderings of mission designs and personal annotations, illustrate every aspect of 50 years of discovery. The elaborate plans for the human explorations of Mars are also shown in exquisite detail, including NASA’s ambitious designs for crewed missions and some compelling alternative mission plans by experts such as Buzz Aldrin.

…A fascinating and comprehensive look at the US, Soviet, Asian and European missions sent to study Earth’s nearest planetary neighbour. The pictures are amazing, the stories behind them equally amazing. A brilliant look at the Red Planet that has fascinated us for such a long, long time.


Annette Conn: The Dog

 Published by Carlton March 2019

902fDogs are the most popular pets in the world. Their friendliness, loyalty and adorability is legendary. This sumptuous book celebrates the sheer variety of dogs, with beautiful photography accompanied by a lyrical and expertly-written text that describes the key characteristics and personality traits of each of over 50 species. It also features paper press-outs, enabling you to view the dogs in relief and create the most spectacular book art. Press out the dogs, fan out the pages, and display your copy as a treasure on a shelf or mantelpiece.

…An amazing example of paper engineering – packed with information about fifty or so species. The task of actually removing the waste cardboard in order to complete the sculptured fanfare of dogs seems like sacrilege to me, so my copy stays intact…



Fitzroy Maclean: Scotland – A Concise History

 Published by Thames & Hudson January 2019

902g‘The Scots’, said a censorious English member of Parliament in 1607, ‘have not suffered above two kings to die in their beds these two hundred years.’ He may have exaggerated, but undeniably Scotland has had a rough and bloodstained history. It is a complex one, too, but the late Fitzroy Maclean and Magnus Linklater disentangle the threads, and enliven their brisk account with both wit and scholarship. Pictures from authentic contemporary sources illuminate the story – its romantic figures and bloody battles, its politics and religion – and provide a record of Scotland’s art, craftsmanship and intellectual life.

In this revised edition of this classic work, Magnus Linklater brings the story of Scotland right up to date, examining how the Scots identity is faring since the momentous Scottish referendum of 2014, and discussing the fate of the United Kingdom.

I’ve never paid that much attention to the history of Scotland – until now. This amazing little book looks at the key figures and events in the nation’s past and presents a coherent and eminently readable account of a proud and fascinating nation.


Nicholas Reeves: Akhenaten – Egypt’s False Prophet

 Published by Thames & Hudson January 2019

902hOne of the most compelling and controversial figures in history, Akhenaten has captured the imagination like no other Egyptian pharaoh. Known today as a heretic, Akhenaten sought to impose upon Egypt and its people the worship of a single god – the sun – and in so doing changed the country in every way.

In this immensely readable re-evaluation, Nicholas Reeves takes issue with the existing view of Akhenaten, presenting an entirely new perspective on the turbulent events of his seventeen-year reign. Reeves argues that, far from being the idealistic founder of a new faith, Akhenaten cynically used religion for purely political ends in a calculated attempt to reassert the authority of the king. Backed up by abundant archaeological and documentary evidence, Reeves’s closely written narrative also provides many new insights into questions that have baffled scholars for generations – the puzzle of the body in Tomb 55 in the Valley of the Kings; the fate of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s beautiful wife, and the identity of the mysterious successor, Smenkhkare; and the theory that Tutankhamun, Akhenaten’s son and true heir, was murdered.

The perfect follow-up to Thames and Hudson’s Tutankhamun (see the home page of this issue) – and a terrific story at the same time…


James Como: C S Lewis A Very Short Introduction

 Published by OUP January 2019

902iBeloved by children and adults worldwide, the writings of C.S. Lewis have a broad and enduring appeal. Although he is best known for the iconic Chronicles of Narnia series, C. S. Lewis was actually a man of many literary parts. Already well-known as a scholar in the thirties, he became a famous broadcaster during World War Two and wrote in many genres, including satire (The Screwtape Letters), science fiction ( Perelandra), a novel (Till We Have Faces), and many other books on Christian belief, such as Mere Christianity and Miracles. His few sermons remain touchstones of their type. In addition to these, Lewis wrote hundreds of poems and articles on social and cultural issues, many books and articles in his field of literary criticism and history, and thousands of letters. At Oxford University he became a charismatic lecturer and conversationalist. Taken together his writings have engaged and influenced, often very deeply, millions of readers. Now Lewis societies, television documentaries, movies, radio plays, and theatrical treatments of his work and life have become common, and he is frequently quoted by journalists, critics, and public thinkers.

This Very Short Introduciton delves into the vast corpus of C. S. Lewis’ work, discussing its core themes and lasting appeal. As James Como shows, C. S. Lewis’ life is just as interesting as his work. A complex man, he came to his knowledge, beliefs, and wisdom only after much tortuous soul-searching and many painful events. Moving chronologically through Lewis’ life, Como provides throughout a picture of the whole man, his work, and his enduring legacy.

So much fascinating information about one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors packed into such a sall book. James Como has done C S Lewis proud… the perfect introduction to an amazing writer.


Trailblazer Cleveland Way

 Published by Trailblazer January 2019

902jAll-in-one, practical guide to walking the Cleveland Way National Trail, in the beautiful, wild countryside of the North York Moors National Park in northern England. The 110-mile route runs from Helmsley near Thirsk around the western edge of the park to reach the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. It then continues along the eastern edge of the park south down the coast through Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay and Scarborough to finish in Filey. Combining moorland and coast there’s wonderful scenic variety to this walk, with crumbling castles and idyllic fishing villages to explore. The guide includes:

* 48 large-scale walking maps – at just under 1:20,000 – showing route times, places to stay, places to eat, points of interest, and 8 town plans.

* 10 colour stage maps to help plan your walk, including hills and descents, and two colour overview maps.

* Places to stay with reviews – campsites, bunkhouses, hostels, B&Bs, pubs and hotels.

* Places to eat with reviews – cafes, teashops, pubs, takeaways, restaurants.

* What to see from the path – history, culture, natural history.

* Comprehensive public transport information – for all access points on the Way.

* Flora and fauna – four page full colour flower guide, plus an illustrated section on local wildlife.

* Itineraries for all walkers – whether walking the route in its entirety over two weeks or sampling the highlights on day walks and short breaks.

* Green hiking – understanding the local environment and minimizing our impact on it.

* GPS waypoints – also downloadable from the Trailblazer website page.

Trailblazer Guides are brilliant, and this new one about the Cleveland Way is a grand addition to the collection – superb maps, comprehensive public transport, accommodation information, and a handful of stunning flora and fauna photographs make this the perfect companion.


Philip Matysak: Ancient Magic in Greece and Rome

Published by Thames & Hudson February 2019

902kMagic was everywhere in the ancient world. The supernatural abounded, turning flowers into fruit and caterpillars into butterflies. Magic packed a cloud of water vapour with energy enough to destroy a house with one well-aimed thunderbolt. It was everyday magic, but it was still magical. Philip Matyszak takes readers into that world. He shows us how to make a love potion or cast a curse, how to talk to the dead and how to identify and protect oneself from evil spirits. He takes us to a world where gods, like humans, were creatures of space and time; where people could not just talk to spirits and deities, but could even themselves become divine; and where divine beings could fall from – or be promoted to – full godhood.

Ancient Magic offers us a new way of understanding the role of magic, looking at its history in all of its classical forms. Drawing on a wide array of sources, from Greek dramas to curse tablets, and lavishly illustrated throughout, and packed with information, surprises, lore and learning, this book will offer an engaging and accessible way into the supernatural for all.

…An engaging and accessible way into the supernatural for all… there was atime in my youth when I believed in magic, I was a huge fan of Dennis Wheatley and loved reading about Satanism etc., but those days are long gone, and I wonder if the person who wrote this book really believes that summing up of quite a strange book? It’s as though Matsyak is trying to persuade his readers that there is something real about magic, when in fact, the purpose of the book is to tell the story of how magic was viewed and practiced in the ancient world. This is not a handbook for would-be magicians, it’s a history book. As I said, it’s rather strange.


Nick Forshaw & William Exley: Explorer Mammals!

Published by What On Earth Books March 2019

902nfaBe on the look-out for the wildest of mammals with Agent Osprey as she explores the animal kingdom in search of all things fierce and friendly!

Mammals! includes a six-foot-long timeline, featuring over 100 mammals from their first known forms through to their living descendants, and looks into how they have survived and thrived. Join our explorer on her quest to find out as much as possible about these amazing creatures in her fascinating journal. Find out key discoveries, how they manage our environment, and more! Explorer: Mammals! by Nick Forshaw and William Exley is latest to join the Explorer series from What on Earth Books. Bugs! and Dinosaurs! are winners of a Parents’ Choice Silver Award 2018.

This and the book below on Plants are perfect examples of how to engage young readers – in each title there is a brief comic strip adventure, then the actual information children need to understand about mammals and plants, and then a one and a half meter long fold-out chart – all brilliantly illustrated and presented. Absolutely superb – they didn’t produce books like this for children when I was that age!


Nick Forshaw & William Exley: Explorer Plants!

Published by What On Earth Books March 2019

902nfbStop and smell the roses with Agent Osprey as she works to uncover the mysterious world of plants! Plants! includes a 1.8-metre-long timeline, featuring over 100 plants from their first known forms through to their living descendants and a fascinating journal that looks into how they have survived and thrived. Plants! is the latest entry in the Explorer series from What on Earth Books. Bugs! and Dinosaurs! are winners of a Parents’ Choice Silver Award 2018.