Melvyn Bragg's Twelve Books that Changed the World listed no novels (Principia Mathematica; Married Love; Magna Carta; Book of Rules of Association Football; On the Origin of Species; On the Abolition of the Slave Trade; A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Experimental Researches in Electricity; Patent Specification for Arkwright’s Spinning Machine; The King James Bible; An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations; and Shakespeare's First Folio). It was an, erm, intriguing list, but perhaps not what most folk expected to be served up. A more obvious list comes in the shape of a new series of "short biographies of world-changing books" from Atlantic Books. Whether we need a new series on introductory books notwithstanding, these are a handsome lot and include Simon Blackburn on Plato's Republic, Janet Browne on Darwin's Origin of Species, Christopher Hitchens on Thomas Paine's Rights of Man, Bruce Lawrence on The Qur'an and Francis Wheen on Karl Marx's Das Kapital. The series continues with books on the Bible, Smith's Wealth of Nations, Machiavelli's The Prince, Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey and von Clausewitz's On War.