2018 Summer Reading List: Popular Sciences Books

For some of us, summer break means almost three months away from anything resembling a textbook. For others, it’s a chance to catch up on the books we didn’t have time to read during the school year. The UCLA Science Libraries have compiled a list of twenty popular science books that are perfect for your summer break, with links to find the books in our collection, on Amazon, or in the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL). Happy reading!

For the zoologists, or simply those curious about quirky animal behavior:

The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife

by Lucy Cooke

For the planetary exploration nerds:

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

Book Jacket for: Chasing New Horizons : inside the epic first mission to Pluto

For those looking to gain a deeper insight into physics:

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

by Carlo Rovelli

A hybrid piece on natural sciences and the history of science:

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

by Kirk Wallace Johnson

For those interested in our scaly predecessors:

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World

by Steve Brusatte

Book Jacket for: The rise and fall of the dinosaurs : a new history of a lost world

For those nostalgic for the Apollo Days:

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who made Man’s First Journey to the Moon

by Robert Kurson

Book Jacket for: Rocket men : the daring odyssey of Apollo 8 and the astronauts who made man's first journey to the Moon

For those looking to understand what it biologically and consciously means to be human:

Think Tank: Forty Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience

edited by David J. Linden

A personal look at cosmologists on their race to obtain truth and prestige:

Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor

by Brian Keating

Book Jacket for: Losing the Nobel Prize : a story of cosmology, ambition, and the perils of science's highest honor

For hobbyist botanists:

The Book of Seeds

edited by Paul Smith

For those interested in the dark underbelly of todays healthcare landscape:

Doing Harm

by Maya Dusenbery

For those looking to go on a chilly adventure to the ends of the Earth:

To the Edges of the Earth: 1909, the Race for the Three Poles, and the Climax of the Age of Exploration

by Edward J. Larson

Book Jacket for: To the edges of the Earth : 1909, the race for the three poles, and the climax of the age of exploration

For those who look after lab flies and are dying for some recognition:

First In Fly

by Stephanie Elizabeth Mohr

For the budding physicist:

Atom Land

by Jon Butterworth

Book Jacket for: Atom land : a guided tour through the strange (and impossibly small) world of particle physics

For those that dream of Solar System colonization:

The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth

by Michio Kaku

Book Jacket for: The future of humanity : terraforming Mars, interstellar travel, immortality, and our destiny beyond Earth

For those interested in one of the fundamental forces of nature:

The Spinning Magnet

by Alanna Mitchell

For astrogeologists or those interested in the origins of the Solar System:

Catching Stardust

by Natalie Starkey

For those who love cool science applied to a great fictional narrative:

Leviathan Wakes

by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Book 1)

For those who love today's greatest science communicator:

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

by Neil deGrasse Tyson

For those who need to destress from the pressure of college:


by Carl Sagan

For those itching for a classic:

A Brief History of Time

by Stephen Hawking

Written by Hayley Bricker, Science Libraries Research Assistant