A Place of Our Own: Six Spaces That Shaped Queer Women’s Culture, June Thomas

For as long as queer women have existed, they’ve created gathering grounds where they can be themselves. From the intimate darkness of the lesbian bar to the sweaty camaraderie of the softball field, these spaces aren’t a luxury – they’re a necessity for queer women defining their identities.

Blending memoir, archival research and interviews, journalist June Thomas invites readers into six iconic lesbian spaces over the course of the last sixty years, including the rural commune, the sex toy boutique, the holiday destination and the feminist bookstore. She also illuminates what is gained and lost in the shift from the exclusive, tight-knit women's spaces of the '70s toward today’s more inclusive yet more diffuse LGBTQ+ communities.

Mapmatics: How We Navigate the World Through Numbers, Paulina Rowinska

How does a delivery driver distribute hundreds of packages in a single working day? Why does remote Alaska have such a large airport? Where should we look for elusive serial killers? The answers lie in the crucial connection between maps and maths.

In Mapmatics, Paulina Rowinska embarks on a fascinating journey to discover the mathematical foundations of cartography and cartographical influences on mathematics.

From a 16th-century map that remains an indispensable navigation tool despite emphasising the North-South divide to public transport maps that both guide and mislead passengers, she reveals how maps and maths shape not only our sense of space and time but also our worldview.

The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops, and Feuds of Hollywood's Kings of Carnage, Nick de Semlyen

Charting Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s carnage-packed journey from enmity to friendship against the backdrop of Reagan’s America and the Cold War. It also reveals the untold stories of the colourful characters, from Steven Seagal to Bruce Willis, who ascended in their wake. These invincible action heroes used muscle, martial arts or the perfect weapon to save the day, becoming pop-culture titans.

Drawing on candid interviews with the action stars themselves, plus their collaborators, friends and foes, The Last Action Heroes chronicles how, as the 1990s rolled in, the glory days of these macho men began to fade, but how the mayhem they wrought on screen and off excites us still.

Love Triangle: The Life-changing Magic of Trigonometry, Matt Parker

Why can no two people ever see the same rainbow? What happens when you pull a pop song apart into pure sine waves and play it back on a piano? Why does the wake behind a duck always form an angle of exactly 39 degrees? And what did mathematicians have to do with the great pig stampede of 2012? The answer to each of these questions can be found in the triangle.

In Love Triangle, Matt Parker is on a mission to prove why we should all show a lot more love for triangles, along with the useful trigonometry and geometry they enable. To make his point, he uses triangles to create his own digital avatar, survive a harrowing motorcycle ride, cut a sandwich into three equal parts, and measure tall buildings while wearing silly shoes. But soon these hare-brained experiments begin to reveal a genuinely important truth: triangles are the hidden pattern beneath the surface of the contemporary world, used in everything from GPS to CGI via Spotify streaming, the play button and your best mate’s triangle tattoo.

The Light Eaters: The New Science of Plant Intelligence, Zoë Schlanger

Look at the green organism across the room or through the window: the potted plant, or the grass or a tree. Think how a life spent constantly growing yet rooted in a single spot comes with tremendous challenges. To meet them, plants have come up with some of the most creative methods for surviving for any living thing – us included. Many are so ingenious that they seem nearly impossible.

Did you know plants can communicate when they are being eaten, allowing nearby plants to bolster their defences? They move and that movement stops when they are anaesthetised. They also use electricity for internal communication. They can hear the sounds of caterpillars eating. Plants can remember the last time they have been visited by a bee and how many times they have been visited – so they have a concept of time and can count. Plants can not only communicate with each other, they can also communicate with other species of plants and animals, allowing them to manipulate animals to defend or fertilise them.

So look again at the potted plant, or the grass or the tree and wonder: are plants intelligent?

Or perhaps ask an even more fundamental question: are they conscious?

The Light Eaters will completely redefine how you think about plants. Packed with the most amazing stories of the life of plants it will open your eyes to the extraordinary green life forms we share the planet with.

The Heart That Fed: A Father, a Son, and the Long Shadow of War, Carl Sciacchitano

As a college dropout amidst the tumult of the 1960s and the Vietnam War, David Sciacchitano enlisted in the Air Force and volunteered to be sent overseas. An aircraft mechanic away from the front lines, David nevertheless experienced the chaos of war during the Tet Offensive and the 1975 evacuation. But although David returned home from the war with no physical injuries, it would be as if a part of him was forever left behind.

Set against one of the most tumultuous events of the 20th century, The Heart That Fed is a moving story of trauma and love – told by a son seeking to understand a father forever changed by PTSD and the horrors of war.