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Fall preview 2014: international books

SCIENCE AND NATURE

TheEmergentAgricultureSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Signal/M&S, $34.95 cl., Oct.) spans the cognitive, agricultural, and scientific breakthroughs of homo sapiens. University of Oxford historian Yuval Harari goes so far as to include the future of our species in this expansive history. • Human nature goes under the microscope in Being Mortal (Doubleday Canada, $29.95 cl., Oct.), in which New Yorker contributor and practising surgeon Atul Gawande examines the experience of death and dying.

With the rise of community gardens and farmers’ markets in urban hubs, the relationship between agriculture and local economies has made a return to public consciousness. Biology professor and agriculturalist Gary S. Kleppel explores the phenomenon in The Emergent Agriculture (New Society Publishers, $17.95 cl., Oct.). • Stargazers need no longer flee to the countryside for ideal conditions. Robin Scagell’s Urban Astronomy (Firefly Books, $19.95 pa., Aug.) instructs readers on how to view the stars from the city.

POP CULTURE

SoWeReadOnMusician Amanda Palmer expands on her controversial TED Talk about the extravagantly successful crowd-funding campaign for her latest solo album. The Art of Asking ($30 cl.) arrives from Hachette imprint Grand Central Publishing in November. • In September, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening will release the ultimate viewers’ guide to the longest-running animated television show in history. In The Simpsons (Abrams/Manda, $40 cl.), the pop-culture hero reflects on events inside the studio and offers unaired background about central storylines. • Another centrepiece of American culture gets full treatment this fall. Maureen Corrigan, of NPR’s Fresh Air, presents a critical reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (and its often misremembered cultural legacy) in So We Read On (Little, Brown and Company/Hachette, $29 cl., Sept.).

SPORTS

From the creator of the webcomic The Oatmeal comes yet another set of humorous explanations for everyday curiosities. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances (Andrews McMeel/S&S, $19.99 pa., Sept.) explores Matthew Inman’s experience as a runner, and all the hilarious sacrifices and struggles that come along with the pursuit. • Former NHLers recall how it felt to face off against the Great One in a collection edited by sportswriter Brian Kennedy. Facing Wayne Gretzky (Sports Publishing/Thomas Allen & Son, $31.95 cl.) appears just in time for the puck to drop in October.

Q&Q’s fall preview covers books published between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2014All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time