The Making of the Fittest
By Sean B. Carroll
For more than a century, we were restricted to studying evolution from the outside, observing its progress only through the fossil record. No longer. We can now also read the DNA record. As well as containing the operating instructions for everyday existence and for making the next generation, DNA contains a vast and detailed history of the three-billion-year development of life on Earth. It is a living chronicle of evolution, pinpointing the precise changes that have enabled Earth's marvelous creatures to inhabit the planet's shifting environments, from the freezing waters of the Antarctic to the lush canopy of the rainforest. Captivating and lucid, The Making of the Fittest delves deep into the DNA record to reveal not just how the fittest survive but also how they are made.
The Museum of Dr Moses
By Joyce Carol Oates
A superb collection of crime and mystery stories from one of America's literary giants.In 'The Man Who Fought Roland LaStarza' a woman's world is upended when she learns the brutal truth about a family friend's death - and what her father is capable of. Meanwhile, a businessman desperate to find his missing two year old grandson in 'Suicide Watch' must determine whether the horrifying tale his junky son tells him about his whereabouts is a confession or a sick tease. In the title story, 'The Museum of Dr Moses' an estranged daughter returns to find her mother remarried to the sinister Dr Moses, the local pathologist now retired...or has he? In these and other stories Oates explores with chilling insight the ties that bind - or worse. Another bloodcurdling masterpiece from one of the greatest short story writers of our time.
Measuring the World
By Daniel Kehlmann
Measuring the World recreates the parallel but contrasting lives of two geniuses of the German Enlightenment - the naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt and the mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss. Towards the end of the 18th century, these two brilliant young Germans set out to measure the world. Humboldt, a Prussian aristocrat schooled for greatness, negotiates savannah and jungle, climbs the highest mountain then known to man, counts head lice on the heads of the natives, and explores every hole in the ground. Gauss, a man born in poverty who will be recognised as the greatest mathematician since Newton, does not even need to leave his home in Göttingen to know that space is curved. He can run prime numbers in his head, cannot imagine a life without women and yet jumps out of bed on his wedding night to jot down a mathematical formula. Measuring the World is a novel of rare charm and readability, distinguished by its sly humour and unforgettable characterization. It brings the two eccentric geniuses to life, their longings and their weaknesses, their balancing act between loneliness and love, absurdity and greatness, failure and success.