A fragile balance: New science books

Life tilts on a fragile balance and we as a society can impact this both for the good and the bad. A number of this month’s new science books delve into this delicate balance. In Hunt for the Shadow Wolf, Derek Gow takes a look at the history of wolves in Britain and the hope of their return, and in The Last of its Kind Gisli Palsson examines the extinction of the Great Auk bird. Browse below to see what else is new!

Hunt for the shadow wolf : the lost history of wolves in Britain : and the myths and stories that surround them / Gow, Derek
“Renowned rewilder Derek Gow has a dream: that one day we will see the return of the wolf to Britain as it has already returned elsewhere. With bitingly funny but also tender stories, Hunt for the Shadow Wolf is Derek’s quest to uncover the true nature of this creature because, as we seek to heal our landscape, we must reconcile our relationship with it. Before we can even begin to bring the wolf back, we need to understand it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The last of its kind : the search for the great auk and the discovery of extinction / Gísli Pálsson
“The Great Auk is one of the most tragic and documented examples of extinction. A flightless bird that bred primarily on the remote islands of the North Atlantic, the last of its kind were killed in Iceland in 1844. Blending a richly evocative narrative with rare, unpublished material, The Last of Its Kind reveals how the saga of the Great Auk opens a window onto the human causes of mass extinction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The ethnobotanical : a world tour of indigenous plant knowledge / Edwards, Sarah
The Ethnobotanical shines a spotlight on this traditional knowledge through the stories of plants from across the globe. The Ethnobotanical offers a unique perspective on plants and the interconnectedness of plants and culture, which benefits biodiversity, the natural world and humankind, too.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Hooting good reads: New science books

Owls are magnificent birds that have fascinated people for generations. The first documentation of birds was over 30,000 years ago in the Chauvet cave paintings in southern France. This month’s new science books have a great range of topics, including a couple of books on the world of owls, so sink your talons into one now!

What an owl knows : the new science of the world’s most enigmatic birds / Ackerman, Jennifer| ebook available
“What an Owl Knows is an awe-inspiring and spellbinding journey across the globe and through human history. An extraordinary glimpse into the mind of these brilliant animals, What an Owl Knows pulls back the curtain on the hidden and still undiscovered realities of our shared world. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Alfie & me : what owls know, what humans believe / Safina, Carl | ebook available
“A moving account of raising, then freeing, an orphaned screech owl, whose lasting friendship with the author illuminates humanity’s relationship with the world. When ecologist Carl Safina and his wife, Patricia, took in a near-death baby owl, they expected that she’d be a temporary presence. As Alfie grew and gained strength, Carl and Patricia began to realize that the healing was mutual.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Notes on complexity : a scientific theory of connection, consciousness, and being / Theise, Neil | ebook available | audiobook available
“An electrifying introduction to complexity theory, the science of how complex systems behave that profoundly reframes our understanding and illuminates our interconnectedness. Theise takes us to the exhilarating frontiers of human knowledge and in the process restores wonder and meaning to our experience of the everyday.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Travel through time and space: New science books

Come for a journey through the vast universe to galaxies and dimensions far, far away. Explore the limits of human knowledge this month with our brand-new scientific books. If keeping your feet firmly on the ground is more appealing, we also have books set here on Earth for you! Pick up one of these books to begin your next science expedition.

To infinity and beyond : a journey of cosmic discovery / Tyson, Neil deGrasse
“No one can make the mysteries of the universe more comprehensible and fun than Neil deGrasse Tyson. The book begins as we leave Earth, encountering new truths about our planet’s atmosphere, the nature of sunlight, and the many missions that have demystified our galactic neighbors. When we finally arrive in the blackness of outer space, Tyson takes on the spookiest phenomena of the cosmos: parallel worlds, black holes, time travel, and more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Deep sea : 10 things you should know : a deep dive into one of the most mysterious environments on our planet / Copley, Jon
“Uncover what lies at the deepest depths of our oceans… In ten brief and informative essays, Copley journeys to one of the most mysterious and fascinating environments on Earth, the deep sea. The Deep Sea: 10 things you should know is a brilliant guide to one of the most fascinating and curious places known to humankind.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Transient and strange : notes on the science of life / Greenfieldboyce, Nell
“An astonishing debut from the beloved NPR science correspondent: intimate essays about the intersection of science and everyday life. In this, her debut book, she delivers a wholly original collection of powerful, emotionally raw, and unforgettable personal essays that probe the places where science touches our lives most intimately. Transient and Strange captures the ache of ordinary life, offering resonant insights into both the world around us and the worlds within us.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Hidden stories of the universe: New science books

Science is about discovering the untold stories of the universe. Sometimes the most interesting stories come from unlikely places, a pocket calculator (in Empire of the Sun), the world of fungi (in Meeting with Remarkable Mushrooms) or how roads affect the world around them (in Crossings). When we look hard enough, everything has a story to tell! Discover great stories in our new science books.

Empire of the sum / Houston, Keith
“The hidden history of the pocket calculator — a device that ushered in modern mathematics, helped build the atomic bomb, and went with us to the moon — and the mathematicians, designers, and inventors who brought it to life.” (Catalogue)



Meetings with remarkable mushrooms : forays with fungi across hemispheres / Pouliot, Alison
“In this book, Pouliot uses visits around the world to show readers the diversity of this life-and makes the case that appreciating fungi is a key to understanding the power and fragility of our planet. Pouliot’s focus on the global community of fungus experts, the importance of local knowledge, and the historic and current contributions of women in mycology all reinforce her message that understanding fungi is fundamental for us all.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Crossings : how road ecology is shaping the future of our planet / Goldfarb, Ben
“An eye-opening and witty account of the global ecological transformations wrought by roads, from an award-winning author. In Crossings, Ben Goldfarb delves into the new science of road ecology to explore how roads have transformed our world. A sweeping, spirited and timely investigation into how humans have altered the natural world, Crossings also shows us how to create a better future for all living beings.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Rare species of New Zealand: Books from Te Pātaka

If the discovery of an ancient New Zealand dolphin species intrigues you, you might be interested in reading books about the unique and wonderful species of Aotearoa. Read stories about the fairy tern, Māui dolphin, yellow-eyed penguin, kakī, greater short-tailed bat, and tāiko; some of which are New Zealand’s most endangered species. These books come with beautiful photos, interesting stories, and scientific discoveries to take you on a journey, exploring the unique creatures of the wilderness.

Rare wildlife of New Zealand / Ballance, Alison
“This book contains 100 New Zealand endangered species of all kinds: plants, birds, insects, fungi, mammals. Organised by habitat forests, gardens, islands, wetlands, high country, and sea and shore, it gives an important snapshot of the critical state of the wildlife in our country. Beautifully photographed with accessible and informative text. At the same time, it contains many surprises: among our most endangered species are kiwi, tuatara, flax, grasshoppers, hebes, crabs, and dolphins.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Whio : saving New Zealand’s blue duck / Young, David
“The blue duck, or whio, is one of New Zealand’s ancient treasures, a beautiful torrent duck that once lived on clear, fast-flowing rivers throughout most of the country. Sadly the blue duck now belongs to the ‘second tier’ of endangered species (including kaka, kea, parakeets and North Island brown kiwi) whose numbers have dropped alarmingly in the last 15 years. A dedicated group of scientists, field workers and volunteers have set about saving the blue duck.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The handbook of New Zealand mammals
“This is the only definitive reference on all the land-breeding mammals recorded in the New Zealand region (including the New Zealand sector of Antarctica). It lists 65 species, including native and exotic, wild and feral, living and extinct, residents, vagrants and failed introductions. It describes their history, biology and ecology, and brings together comprehensive and detailed information gathered from widely scattered or previously unpublished sources.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

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Encourage your curiosity: New science books

Everything has a story to tell, from the big bang to the mushrooms growing in your garden. That is what science is all about, studying the world. It can be difficult to appreciate everything around us when our lives are so busy, but in Aotearoa and especially Wellington, we are lucky to have an abundance of nature to explore. Spending some time outside can open our minds to some immense questions about the complexities of the world. To begin to answer these questions and to further your curiosity, check out our recent picks for our new science books.

The universe in a box : a new cosmic history / Pontzen, Andrew
“This is the story of the technologies that allow us to look up, to learn and to discover our place in the cosmos. The Universe in a Box is Pontzen’s tribute to simulations that, over the last century, have allowed us to understand the distant past and far future of the universe. Illuminating, provocative and bold, this is the story of our home, the cosmos, through simulations- mini-universes inside computers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New Zealand’s biggest year / Boorman, Harry
“New Zealand’s biggest year is an epic birding tale of how two friends become rivals and set out to break the all-time record for the most Aotearoa New Zealand bird species seen in one year. Their rivalry results in more birds being spotted in a single year than ever before and two national records are broken. Full of twists and turns, pandemics and trip cancellations, Harry’s story gradually unfolds to its nail-biting conclusion.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A year in the woods : twelve small journeys into nature / Ekelund, Torbjørn Lysebo
“A Year in the Woods asks if the secret to communing with nature lies in small rituals and reflection. As Ekelund greets the same trees, rocks, streams, and soil each month, he describes his changing relationship to the landscape. The perfect book for readers who want a deeper connection with nature but are realistic about time and money.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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