Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson
Ex-Wired editor Anderson explores how open-source design and 3D printing are changing the face of manufacturing – with tinkerers improving technology from their sheds, and the manufacturing industry set to be rocked by the "long tail of things." Compelling stuff.
Available for both Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet (each costs £9.99), this iPad app from Cambridge University Press aims to inject the Bard’s works with some extra life through a truckload of additional goodies, ranging from images and commentary to full audio performances featuring a bevy of talented thesps such as Michael Sheen and Kate Beckinsale. Perfect for anyone studying either of the plays or just looking to develop a better understanding of them (makes you look more clever, innit?).
The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
New York Times columnist Silver recently hit the headlines for forecasting the results of the US presidential election with an eerie degree accuracy, and here he explains the art of prediction: the ability to pick a clear signal out of a mass of noise. With data all around us, the book might just help you predict your own future all the more successfully.
Inside The Centre: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Ray Monk
A weighty, authoritative look at the life of “the father of the Bomb” (Oppenheimer led the Manhattan Project and thus was a key figure in the development of atomic weapons), Inside The Centre isn’t just a tale for science nuts – it’s a look at a man who had a vital role in shaping one of the most important, compelling periods of human history.
Dominion by C.J. Sansom
Sansom has followed up his Reformation-set Shardlake thrillers with this compelling alternative history novel which asks, "What if Britain had surrendered during WWII?" The answer is, a totalitarian state by the early 1950s. A smoggy, scary spy story that matches – or even bests – Robert Harris’s Fatherland in its vision of a Fascist-controlled Britain.
1,227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
With a ridiculously low price on Kindle at time of writing, this book is a classic stocking filler that does very much what it says on the tin. Followers of the QI TV show will lap it up, but you don’t have to be a Stephen Fry fanboy to appreciate its truckload of knowledge nuggets. Did you know that Scotland, for example, has twice as many pandas as it does Tory MPs?
Arcadia by Lauren Groff
Lovers of novels depicting a dark, dystopian future will lap up Groff’s exploration of the American hippie dream, which starts in a 1970s commune and winds up somewhere very, very different in 2018.
Osama by Lavie Tidhar
Winner of this year’s World Fantasy Award, Osama isn’t one of the many semi-fictionalised retellings of Bin Laden’s killing, but a pulpy (all the tropes are here, including a private detective protagonist hired by a mysterious woman) alternative history tale set in a world without global terrorism – a world in which Osama Bin Laden is not a bogeyman figure but the star of a series of popular graphic novels.
This Is Improbable by Marc Abrahams
Guardian columnist Abrahams delves headlong into the weird, wonderful world of unlikely scientific research in this funny tome, which is guaranteed to provide reams of pub conversation fodder.
I’m Starved For You by Margaret Atwood
Canada’s most celebrated author has embraced the ebook concept fully with Positron, her new collection of short stories exploring life in the near future. Each story is to be released as a separate, affordable ebook – and the erotically-charged I’m Starved For You is the first. At a mere 46 pages, it could be the ideal post-Christmas alternative to watching yet another Bond film.
The Big Screen by David Thomson
Thomson, one of the giants of film writing, embarks on an epic journey to chronicle the history of cinema through the movies and artists that have meant the most to him. Managing to be both deeply personal and wide-ranging, The Big Screen is a must for any fan of top drawer film criticism.