Throw These Science Books in Your Beach Bag

24:23 minutes

It’s summer! Time to take a load off and spend some quality hammock and beach time. And how better to relax on summer vacation than with a great science book? Scientific American space and physics editor Lee Billings and Brainpickings.org editor Maria Popova are back in the studio with Ira to run down their favorite science, environment, and sci-fi reads for this summer. Wherever your vacation takes you, these book picks will keep you good company.

Share your own summer reading list in the comments below!

Segment Guests

Maria Popova

Maria Popova is the editor and founder of BrainPickings.org and a MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. She is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Lee Billings

Lee Billings is editor of Scientific American and author of Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars (Current, 2013) based in New York, New York.

Heard on the Air

Maria Popova’s picks:

(1) On the Move: A Life, by Oliver Sacks (2015)
Read more on Brain Pickings; listen to Oliver Sacks read an excerpt.

(2) Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2003)
Read more on Brain Pickings

(3) Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit, by Krista Tippett (2010)
Read more on Brain Pickings

(4) The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning: A Polar Journey, by Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine (2012)
Read more on Brain Pickings

(5) The Blue Whale, by Jenni Desmond (2015)
Read more on Brain Pickings

(6) Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz (2009)
Read more on Brain Pickings

(7) Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Lifetime of Letters, edited by Stanley Asimov (1995)
Read more on Brain Pickings

Lee Billings’s picks:

(1) Spurious Correlations, by Tyler Vigen (2015)

(2) The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life, by Nick Lane (forthcoming, July 20, 2015)

(3) Aurora, by Kim Stanley Robinson (forthcoming, July 7, 2015)

(4) Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (2015)
Listen to Stephenson on SciFri; read an excerpt here

(5) The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering, by Jeffrey Rotter (2015)

(6) Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway, by Siobhan Roberts (forthcoming, July 14, 2015)

Ira Flatow’s picks:

(1) The Science of Interstellar, by Kip Thorne (2014)
Listen to the SciFri interview; read an excerpt

(2) Assembling California, by John McPhee (1994)
Listen to the SciFri interview

(3) The Lost City of Z, by David Grann (2010)
Listen to the Science Friday Book Club’s discussion

(4) The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution, by Ian Tattersall (2015)
Listen to the SciFri Interview; read an excerpt

Listeners’ picks:

(1) Basin and Range, by John McPhee (1981)

(2) The Lives of Tao, by Wesley Chu (2013)

(3) Euphoria, by Lily King (2014)

(4) Dreams of Earth and Sky, by Freeman Dyson (2015)


Meet the Producer

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is a producer for The Journal from Gimlet Media and the Wall Street Journal, and a former co-host and producer of Undiscovered. She also plays the banjo.