We know the universe began. We can even narrow down when and how it began. The end is a bit harder. Dr. Katie Mack takes us through five possible endings theoretical astrophysics has come up with. With warm humor, she gives the reader an overview of major theories in quantum mechanics, cosmology, and other fields of astrophysics. For a book about the possible ends of the universe, this is surprisingly upbeat and reassuring! The science is easy to follow, without the explanations becoming condescending. I would recommend this to those who have an interest in science, especially astrophysics, and anyone who wants an overview of the history and theoretical future of our universe.
No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks. A true classic, considered by many the first science fiction novel, Frankenstein is the story of scientific hubris. Victor Frankenstein is a brilliant young scientist meddling in things beyond his understanding. He is set against both conventional science and against his own creation, known only as The Creature. The story takes inspiration from the science of the early 19th century and poses philosophical questions of nature vs nurture and the necessity of compassion contrasted with the results of its lack. The story combines beautiful prose with a compelling story that still resonates today. This is great for anyone who likes classic science fiction, philosophy or 19th century literature.
An adorable bedtime story! Froggies have much better things to do than sleep at bedtime. From singing opera to belching contests with aliens, will they ever go to bed? Read and find out!
Everyone knows the classic story of the fall of Troy, or at least parts of it. Stephen Fry has collected the scattered sources to synthesize a coherent story of Troy, from its earliest beginnings to its fall. With his signature humor, Fry brings new life to the characters and events that are simultaneously familiar and millennia distant. Even as a lifelong mythology nerd, there were new things for me to learn while being highly entertained. If you like mythology, Stephen Fry, or want to read the Iliad but feel daunted by the prospect, then this is the book for you!
A dark, gothic retelling of Red Riding Hood that brings in elements from other fairy tales (mostly Beauty and the Beast). As the Second Daughter, Redarys is by tradition fated to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Woods both as appeasement and in hopes that the gods will be released. She is willing to go to protect those she loves, especially from the powers within herself. However, all is not as it seems in the woods. Red must learn to control her abilities if the world is to have a chance of surviving. This book is beautifully written dark fantasy woven with horror elements and political scheming. The characters swiftly become people you car e about and the story pulls you in. If you like fantasy with elements of both horror and romance, then this is the story for you!
Many years after a galactic rebellion, the fallout from the Stavenger Empires revenge on the rebellious stations is still felt by the people left. Generational ships are the norm, as are stations run by genetic bloodlines. Into this situation the main character, Pendt Harland, is born. Identified at a young age as having an undesirable genetic mutation, she is neglected and abused by her family. Pendt bides her time until she gets the chance to escape on Brannick Station. Teaming up with the twin heirs, the three teens hatch a plot to take control of their lives. This book combines fantastic character interactions with important ethical quest ions tied together with an exciting plot and amazing world building. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys E. K. Johnston's other work and fans of sweeping space opera.
The Anthropocene is a proposed term for the current geological age in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. This book, based on John Green's podcast of the same name, collects his essays reviewing certain aspects of human experience and the way we interact with the world through the lens of his own life. It covers a wide range of subjects from the Lascaux Cave Paintings to Diet Dr. Pepper and even some negative experiences like Viral Meningitis. The essays are part memoir and part personal analysis of each experience. This book is filled with humor, an amazing amount of optimism, and a joy in life that comes th rough, even with difficult topics. This book is a must read for fans of his previous books as well as anyone who wants to consider our impact and place on this planet.
The Morrison Formation...it's beneath your feet. This book is a fantastic overview of the geology, and the important fossil discoveries of the formation which sprawls over Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and parts of other states; even up into Canada. This book is full of gorgeous color photographs and illustrations; as well as some historical B&W photos, maps and charts. This is written for the layman, but it has enough detail to engage any enthusiast. It is a wonderful resource for paleontology nerds as well as anyone with an interest in the prehistory of the west.
How did we get here? is one of the most important questions humanity can ask itselves. The evolution of our brain is an important part of this. Stetka takes the reader from our earliest, nonvertebrate beginnings through hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary change. He also explains how we came to understand what we do about our own brains, as well as our similarities to and differences from our nearest ape relatives. Using easily accessible language, Stetka relates how our ancestors changing environment and their response to these changes shaped us. He gives an overview of how our brains work before speculating on possible future evolution. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in evolutionary science or who wants to know why humans are the way we are.
When a British ship captures a struggling French ship, the crew is only thinking of the prize money that will be allocated, not that they will find a dragon egg that could change the life of one of their officers and possibly the entire war. Naomi Novik has created a world where one change (the existence of sentient dragons) has had widespread effects on the world. Cleverly writing and well thought out world-building make the characters feel as real and compelling as those of Patrick OBrian or Bernard Cornwell. The implications of pre- and early industrial societies having airforces is fascinating, and the action and character interactions d rive this series forwards in an absorbing manner. I would recommend this book (and the entire series) to anyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars and alternate histories, or anyone who still loves dragons!
This is one of my favorite takes on time travel. Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in his own timeline. He bounces around experiencing different parts of his life, from WW2 and a prison camp to encounters with the Tralfamadorians, who experience reality in four dimensions rather than three. Told through a series of flashbacks and flash forwards, the reader is given a view of an alternate America through Vonnegut's signature irony and black humor. It contrasts Christian philosophy with the more fatalistic Tralfamadorian mindset. It shows the struggle between free will and determinism. The unreliable narrator is key in this. If you like explorations of philosophy, science fiction, and irreverent humor, I would recommend this book to you.
Lucy is the hominid ancestor everyone knows about. Ardi was an even earlier ancestor that doesn't get nearly as much publicity, but who is equally important in the story of human prehistory. This book is the story of the team that found and scientifically described Ardi (or Ardipithecus ramidus. It is a loving, though not always flattering, look at Tim White and his team, as well as his allies and rivals and a look at the politics of the paleoanthropology community as a whole throughout the mid to late 20th century. The discussions of ethics (especially lack of transparency versus possibly over-haste to publish) is fascinating. This book also takes you through early hominid history, describing various adaptations and explaining why living primates may not be the best lens to view our ancestors through. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of scientific discovery, or an interest in where we, as a species, came from.
Have you ever finished a story and desperately wanted more? Thankfully JRR Tolkien wrote many other fragments in his world spanning the First through the Fourth Ages. His son, Christopher gathered some of these into Unfinished Tales. From the founding of Rohan to a description of the origins of the Istari (like Gandalf), these stories are left as JRR Tolkien left them after his death with minimal editing. After each are notes to explain any inconsistencies or obscure facts. This is written in a style closer to The Lord of the Rings, so it is more accessible for some than The Silmarillion was without alienating those who loved it. This edition has many beautiful illustrations by Lee, Howe and Nasmith as well! I would recommend this to anyone who loves The Lord of the Rings and wants to spend some more time in Middle Earth.
Hwaet! So starts one of England's earliest epics. Seamus Heaney brings a story of monsters, dragons and battles into the modern age. He balances meaning with poetical rhythms to allow a peek into the Viking mind and heart. When you read it, you almost feel as if you were listening to an ancient skald reciting on a winters night. The story is brought to life as Beowulf fights Grendel and others. This is the definitive translation! Its especially nice that this edition has the original text side by side with the translation. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Tolkien, poetry, or epic fantasy.`
Starting with the greatest extinction Earth has ever seen, Steve Brusatte combines vivid descriptions of the Mesozoic Era with personal (sometimes hilarious) anecdotes from his career as a paleontologist. He gives an overview of each Period and describes the evolution of the various groups of dinosaurs as they rose to prominence and then dominance. He clears up some misconceptions of what is and is not a dinosaur, as well as defending the argument that birds ARE dinosaurs. He closes with an account of the end of the Cretaceous and the fall of the non-avian dinosaurs, before looking ahead to the rise of mammals. I would recommend this absorbing book for anyone with an interest in paleontology and especially the world's favorite reptile!