Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers is informative, scholarly, and unabashedly nerdy. It is also an exceedingly fun read. Author Matt Kaplan leaves no mythical stone unturned, encompassing the magic our ancestors believed in and the magic we believe in today.

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea is the new book from investigative journalist Jonathan Franklin chronicling the amazing true tale of fisherman Salvador Alvarenga, who cheated death as he survived on the open sea for longer than anyone in human history, inspiring the release of ‘The 33’ with Antonio Banderas.

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If you’ve ever been curious about elixirs of eternal life, fabled gateways to the underworld, the spells of witches that turn men into beasts or the oracles of ancient Greece, Matt Kaplan is your perfect armchair guide. Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers considers everything from the Biblical parting of The Red Sea and Viking exploration to the science behind the mutants of X-Men, to new studies regarding autism and modern medical advancements prolonging human life. Matt Kaplan is a science correspondent with The Economist and has contributed weekly articles to its science and technology section for a decade. He has also written for National Geographic, Nature, and The New York Times. When not chained to a desk in England, he travels the world exploring our most cherished myths and legends.

Salvador Alvarenga and a mate went out for a two-day fishing trip, but a storm knocked out their boat’s motor and heavy winds blew them far from shore. Fourteen months later, Alvarenga washed up on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, near Australia. He had traveled more than 6,000 miles and survived by eating turtles, catching fish and maintaining an unbreakable will to survive. This amazing true tale is chronicled in Jonathan Franklin‘s 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea. Franklin regularly reports for The Guardian, GQ, and Esquire, focusing on Latin America. He also works with the team at Retro Report producing documentaries broadcast by The New York Times.

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