Album: JD Southern, Natural History (Entertainment One)

As the co-writer of huge hits for The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, JD Souther was one of the original architects of the Laurel Canyon sound so revered by Kalli.

The Horseman's Word: A Memoir by Roger Garfitt

Fancy and folly of the man who fell to earth

Portfolio: Sanna Kannisto

In the late 19th century, the English photographer Eadward Muybridge did much to enhance our knowledge of how we and other animals move with his studies of motion – most famously showing that a horse raises all four of its hooves simultaneously while galloping.

Pay attention, 007: Daniel Craig moves into Sir David Attenborough's territory

It will be hard to fill the mighty planet-traversing shoes of Sir David Attenborough, Britain's greatest broadcasting naturalist.

My Natural History, By Simon Barnes

A lucky encounter with an ugly bat can change a life

The Fetish Room: The Education Of A Naturalist, By Redmond O'Hanlon & Rudi Rotthier, trans. Jane Hedley-Prole

This is a very odd but also engaging book. For a start, it is not written by Redmond O'Hanlon, despite his name appearing as one of the authors. Rudi Rotthier has written a profile of O'Hanlon and the publishers have clearly decided it will get more attention if thought to be autobiographical. The book is quite revealing enough. Indeed, one of the attractions of O'Hanlon is that, while some English travel writers value discretion to the point of self-effacement, he has always been both candid and funny.

Ancient Britons used skulls as cups

Scientists have uncovered human skulls that were used by ancient Britons as drinking cups in some kind of ritual.

Steve Backshall: Where the wild things are

Raging hippos, angry tigers, killer worms... It's no wonder Steve Backshall's wildlife show Deadly 60 is a jungle-sized hit with the kids. Nick Harding explores why

Human Planet, BBC Books

Last Thursday marked the start of the BBC's lavish new natural history series, Human Planet – on this occasion the cameras are turned on those communities around the world who have gone to extraordinary lengths to adapt to their surroundings.

Darwin: A Life in Poems, By Ruth Padel

It is not easy to take on a real-life figure whose own voice dominates as much as Darwin's does, but Ruth Padel is an excellent listener, and she knows when to intrude and re-make, and when to leave well alone, to produce a magisterial, yet close and touching portrait of the man in this series of poems.

BBC Worldwide sells its stake in Animal Planet

The meerkat's second manor is coming under new ownership. So is the second home of monkeys, gorillas and various other creatures after the BBC's commercial subsidiary, BBC Worldwide, offloaded its 50 per cent stake in its joint venture with Discovery Communications to its partner for $156m (£97m).

Where Good Ideas Come From: a Natural History of Innovation, By Steven Johnson

Go for a walk, follow your hunches, note it all down, and you could be the next Archimedes (apparently)

The joy of rex: Are documentaries becoming sexed-up?

Tonight, dinosaurs' mating habits will be explored on our screens. Will we learn anything or is it just the latest in a long line of sexed-up documentaries?

Chris Packham: Born to be wild

He was the young gun who made nature TV cool. Now, as the presenter of Autumnwatch, Chris Packham has come of age. Nicholas Milton meets him

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: The missing contribution to the great debate of our age

Anyone who saw the Hollywood movie Gladiator will remember its villain: the demented young Roman emperor Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix. The most vivid historical picture we have of Commodus is by Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Gibbon hated him because he felt it was with Commodus that the Roman rot set in, after four emperors who had ruled wisely and well, the last being Commodus's own philosopher-father, Marcus Aurelius.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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