Snapper by Brian Kimberling (Tinder Press, £7.99)
Kimberling's amusing and gentle debut novel, set in Indiana, reads more like non-fiction, partly because his protagonist, ornithologist Nathan Lochmueller, is in first person, making it sound like a memoir, but also because he has a colloquial, informative style, giving his narrative a self-deprecating quality closer to confession. An easy read but an enjoyable one.
1912: The Year The World Discovered Antarctica by Chris Turney (Pimlico, £16.99)
Although 1912 wasn't the first year that men had ventured to Antarctica, it was the culmination of previous privately funded, exploratory efforts, and heralded what Turney calls a new "Heroic Age". The big names - Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton - are all here, but there are also some lesser-known figures whose work, Turney successfully argues, tends to be overlooked.
Grimm Tales For Old And Young by Philip Pullman (Penguin, £8.99)
Pullman has retold the Grimm brothers' most famous fairy tales in his own voice simply to return to them as stories, but he's being a little disingenuous here. His retellings are beautifully aware ("in the olden days, when wishing still worked") and he adds details of his own, which he explains at the end of each tale.
Inventing The Enemy: Essays On Everything by Umberto Eco (Vintage, £10.99)
Eco's essays begin with what makes an enemy and why we need one ("we can recognise ourselves only in the presence of an Other") and move through gastronomy to Wikileaks (a "false scandal"). But all of them pay tribute to history, giving his work their characteristically accessible weight and depth, often conveying some new nugget of information.