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Summer Reading List 2019 for Adults

Emily McIntosh

The official start to Summer is just around the corner, and with it brings the perfect opportunity to get in some good reads. In the spirit of the Collaborative Summer Library Program's theme "A Universe of Stories," here's ten suggestions to get started. Ready? 3...2...1...blastoff! Also, check out our blog post on young adult reading recommendations!

1. Scientific American Inventions from Outer Space: Everyday Uses for NASA Technology

by David Baker

Ever wonder what everyday items were invented by NASA for space? According to this book, more than you think. From Dustbuster vacuums to home water filters to even the paint on the Golden Gate Bridge, learn about the common items used everyday developed by NASA (and maybe pretend you’re an astronaut when you use them).

2. Ender's Game

by Orson Scott Card

Looking for a little sci-fi action this Summer? Consider launching into the world of Andrew Wiggin and hostile alien races attacking planet Earth. With a page-turning combination of futuristic action and thoughtful humanity, follow the story of the Ender family and find out if they can take on the aliens and remake the world.

3. Leviathan Wakes

by James S. A. Corey

Ever feel like you were born in the wrong generation, the one where we’ve colonized outer space and your passport includes “planet of origin?” You may want to include Leviathan Wakes, the first in the series The Expanse. Taking place two hundred years after migrating into space, join a ship captain and washed-up detective as they search for a missing girl (and perhaps find a bit more than they were looking for).

4. Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages

by Andrew Fazekas

For you Trekkies out there who have often wondered if the Star Trek universe could ever become reality, this book could answer that question. Astronomy educator Andrew Fazekas guides readers into specific Star Trek voyages and explains the real-world science behind the voyages and scientifically compares the fictional universe to our real one.

5. Women in Space: 23 Stories of First Flights, Scientific Missions, and Gravity-Breaking Adventures

by Karen Bush Gibson

We know women played a huge role in the world of space. And the stories of their triumphs and struggles are “out of this world.” Learn about the astronauts of Mercury 13, who matched (and sometimes surpassed) their male counterparts in space training but were ultimately denied their chance to reach the launching pad, plus the fearless women and pioneers who ultimately made the journey. We also can’t forget the many scientists, pilots, and doctors who did their part to reach the Final Frontier.

6. Smithsonian Atlas of Space Exploration

by Roger D. Launius and Andrew K. Johnston

Reading about space, both real and fictional, is great and all. But where are the pictures? Well, this book has you covered: high-quality photographs of the moon and Mars in all their glory, illustrations of a possible lunar surface base, and maps of objects in low Earth orbit, just to name a few things. And, okay, there may be some text in there, but only to supplement the pictures, promise!

7. Cosmos

by Carl Sagan

You can’t talk about space-related books without mentioning one of the most popular pieces of science literature of all time! Carl Sagan, in this popular 13 chapter book (and corresponding 13 episode TV series), brings the complexities of outer space and makes them a little more down to earth. And, if you need a little extra reason to give this a read: the Library of Congress one of eighty-eight books “that shaped America.”

8. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

by Neil deGrasse Tyson

You could perhaps be a cosmos-lover on the go. While you love all things outer space-related science, who has time to be totally fluent in the quirks and intricacies of the universe? Enter Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson keeps things clear and easy to understand so you can be ready to chime in at the water cooler when someone starts talking about that new picture of the black hole, or even find some time to be still and appreciate the cosmos when you have a chance to look up.

9. The Martian

by Andy Weir

Many people are familiar with this piece of work thanks to the award-winning film starring Matt Damon (and the heart-wrenching scene where he has to live on nothing but potatoes WITHOUT ketchup). But believe us when we say, the book is equally as excellent. Join Mars colonist Mark Watney as he uses his smarts, determination, and wit to survive every obstacle the red planet throws at him.

10. The Right Stuff

by Tom Wolfe

It doesn’t take a scientist to suspect that there are thoughts an experiences especially unique to astronauts and pilots as they boldly go where no man has gone before. And thanks to Tom Wolfe, we readers get a glimpse inside the mind of an astronaut. Through extensive interviews and research, learn about the special traits and inner life of these daring people as they travel to the moon.

Want to learn more about the Collaborative Summer Reading program? More info is here.