100 books like A Brief History of Time

By Stephen Hawking,

Here are 100 books that A Brief History of Time fans have personally recommended if you like A Brief History of Time. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Jane Eyre

Lynn Shurr Author Of Lady Flora's Rescue

From my list on historical novels picked by a librarian.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reference librarian, I love doing research for myself and others. By reading a well-written historical novel, we can learn about the past and compare and contrast it to our present. All but the last of my choices have strong female characters who must overcome the customs of their time. The struggle goes on today. Let these books remind you of how far we have come and how far we have to go.

Lynn's book list on historical novels picked by a librarian

Lynn Shurr Why did Lynn love this book?

When I was fifteen, I stayed up reading the end of this book under the covers with a flashlight because I could not put it down.

A scandalous bestseller in 1847, this was the first romance to feature an antihero. Mr. Rochester is far from pure and kind. He mocks Jane, who describes herself as small and plain and stands up to him. He has an immoral secret and when Jane learns of it, she leaves him. I doubt I would have.

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…


Book cover of The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe

Eugene Terry Tatum Author Of Flat Space Cosmology: A New Model of the Universe Incorporating Astronomical Observations of Black Holes, Dark Energy and Dark Matter

From my list on science of universe (cosmology).

Why am I passionate about this?

My passionate scientific interest in cosmology began several decades ago as a Stanford student while moon-lighting as a cloud chamber photo scanner at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). An initial interest in particle physics merged with an interest in cosmology because the Big Bang theory is about both. Developing a unique cosmology model and collaborating with other cosmologists around the world was a natural extension. Following numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, our book summarizing them was one, as well. Taking a passionate interest in anything and sharing it with others is an important first step!

Eugene's book list on science of universe (cosmology)

Eugene Terry Tatum Why did Eugene love this book?

This is about the first three minutes of the Big Bang as conceived by a Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist. Who better than a particle physicist to give us his best guesses as to what went on when the very early universe was small, dense, and extremely hot?

I cherish Weinberg’s book because there is none other like it. He wrote it in a no-nonsense manner for science lovers outside of his very specialized field. Not being a theoretical particle physicist, it was a must for me to read!

By Steven Weinberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The First Three Minutes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Nobel Prize-winning physicist explains what happened at the very beginning of the universe, and how we know, in this popular science classic.

Our universe has been growing for nearly 14 billion years. But almost everything about it, from the elements that forged stars, planets, and lifeforms, to the fundamental forces of physics, can be traced back to what happened in just the first three minutes of its life.

In this book, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg describes in wonderful detail what happened in these first three minutes. It is an exhilarating journey that begins with the Planck Epoch - the…


Book cover of The Time Machine

James Papandrea Author Of From Star Wars to Superman: Christ Figures in Science Fiction and Superhero Films

From my list on thought-provoking time travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lifelong fan of science fiction, and especially all things time travel. However, I do get annoyed by time travel stories where the time travel is never really explained or it’s just reduced to a magical vehicle for the story setting. I want my science fiction to ask the big questions of humanity. I have a PhD in history and theology, and in my research for my book From Star Wars to Superman, I combined a lifetime of enjoying science fiction and time travel with a career studying those big philosophical questions, and I’ve come to the conclusion that true sci-fi has to be thought-provoking.

James' book list on thought-provoking time travel

James Papandrea Why did James love this book?

I had to include this book because this is the book that opened up the whole world of time travel for me.

I read it as a young teenager and have loved everything about the concept of time travel ever since. I think the reason is that there is this implied desire to fix the mistakes of our past or something, and that whole idea bubbles under the surface of Wells’ classic.

Of course on the other side of that coin is that I would later come to learn that Wells was an atheist, and so that brings up the whole question of whether time travel is a human attempt to play God, and whether time travel is only possible in a universe where there is no God. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Time Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A brilliant scientist constructs a machine, which, with the pull of a lever, propels him to the year AD 802,701.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition of The Time Machine features an introduction by Dr Mark Bould.

The Time Traveller finds himself in a verdant, seemingly idyllic landscape where he is greeted by the diminutive Eloi people. The Eloi are beautiful but weak and indolent, and the explorer is perplexed by…


Book cover of The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

Lloyd Sederer Author Of Caught in the Crosshairs of American Healthcare

From my list on books to read if you want to write the best of non-fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychiatrist and public health doctor, non-fiction writer, and lay and medical editor. For over 12 years, I have taught non-fiction writing for a general audience at Columbia medical and public health schools to physicians, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, psychologists, and other professionals. I have published 14 books and over 500 written articles and videos. I love to write and help others write...well.

Lloyd's book list on books to read if you want to write the best of non-fiction

Lloyd Sederer Why did Lloyd love this book?

I loved this book because it demonstrates we can write about any subject we have a passion for: bowling, the bassoon, the Canary Islands, UFOs, opium, truffles, cats and dogs, evil and good, or cells!

Thomas starts his book by marveling about cells. Vivid imagination, not labor, carries him to subjects like insects, music, language, computers, and medicine. After all, they are interconnected, like we are. 

Which means I need only start with one subject* that stirs my wonder or worry and holds meaning for me. I don’t need to hunt for something to write about, it is right in front of my eyes. 

*BTW, the author of my book choice #1, Bill Zinsser, covered war, theatre, baseball, music, nonfiction writing, and memoirs. Note to self: One subject will do.

By Lewis Thomas,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Lives of a Cell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elegant, suggestive, and clarifying, Lewis Thomas's profoundly humane vision explores the world around us and examines the complex interdependence of all things.  Extending beyond the usual limitations of biological science and into a vast and wondrous world of hidden relationships, this provocative book explores in personal, poetic essays to topics such as computers, germs, language, music, death, insects, and medicine.  Lewis Thomas writes, "Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good…


Book cover of Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

Greg Brennecka Author Of Impact: How Rocks from Space Led to Life, Culture, and Donkey Kong

From my list on books to teach you something cool and make you laugh in the process.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t know anything at all about meteorites (or, really, space in general) until I took a cosmochemistry class during my first semester of a PhD program in geology. As soon as I learned that meteorites captured information about the start of the Solar System – the material we started with, hints about how planets evolve, and how meteorites changed the course of Earth – I was hooked. At the end of that class in 2007, I switched the main topic of my PhD research to studying meteorites and what they can tell us about the past, and I have been doing it ever since.

Greg's book list on books to teach you something cool and make you laugh in the process

Greg Brennecka Why did Greg love this book?

Like many folks, I am fascinated with the “where we came from” question. And for me, this is the quintessential book to dive into this topic from an evolutionary biology perspective.

Correct or not, I fancy myself someone that knows a decent amount about evolution and the human body, but I was captivated by the parts of the human body that have endured, for good or for bad, the long journey of us crawling out of the ocean and eventually into the office cubicle.

This book isn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as some others I generally like, but it really is a great book, and I had a hard time putting it down.

By Neil Shubin,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Your Inner Fish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells a “compelling scientific adventure story that will change forever how you understand what it means to be human” (Oliver Sacks).

By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible…


Book cover of The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World

Laura Krantz Author Of Is There Anybody Out There?: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, from Amoebas to Aliens

From my list on the search for alien life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was never going to hack it as a scientist. So I became a journalist instead. After all, both careers stem from a sense of wonder about the world and asking questions, looking for answers, and accepting that there might not be any. In 2018, I started my narrative podcast Wild Thing, which let me explore some of our weirder collective fascinations (like aliens) using science, history, psychology, and humor. I’d never aimed the podcast at kids, but I realized that all those big open-ended questions that I had about everything were the same kinds of questions that kids had - which really set me up to write the Wild Thing book series. 

Laura's book list on the search for alien life

Laura Krantz Why did Laura love this book?

Imagine for a moment that we found life on Mars.

That discovery would shake our world, change our outlook on the universe, and answer the question of whether we’re alone.

Sarah Stewart Johnson, a planetary scientist, has spent her life thinking about this possibility and delves into both her and our obsession with the Red Planet in this beautifully written book. Part memoir, part historical account, and part scientific exploration, this book made me want to ditch a career in journalism and take up astrobiology. You’ll never look at Mars the same way again. 

By Sarah Stewart Johnson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Sirens of Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a new wave of interplanetary exploration unfolds, a talented young planetary scientist charts our centuries-old obsession with Mars.

'Beautifully written, emotive - a love letter to a planet' DERMOT O'LEARY, BBC Radio 2

Mars - bewilderingly empty, coated in red dust - is an unlikely place to pin our hopes of finding life elsewhere. And yet, right now multiple spacecraft are circling, sweeping over Terra Sabaea, Syrtis Major, the dunes of Elysium and Mare Sirenum - on the brink, perhaps, of a discovery that would inspire humankind as much as any in our history.

With poetic precision and grace,…


Book cover of Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

Eugene Terry Tatum Author Of Flat Space Cosmology: A New Model of the Universe Incorporating Astronomical Observations of Black Holes, Dark Energy and Dark Matter

From my list on science of universe (cosmology).

Why am I passionate about this?

My passionate scientific interest in cosmology began several decades ago as a Stanford student while moon-lighting as a cloud chamber photo scanner at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). An initial interest in particle physics merged with an interest in cosmology because the Big Bang theory is about both. Developing a unique cosmology model and collaborating with other cosmologists around the world was a natural extension. Following numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, our book summarizing them was one, as well. Taking a passionate interest in anything and sharing it with others is an important first step!

Eugene's book list on science of universe (cosmology)

Eugene Terry Tatum Why did Eugene love this book?

This is the logical next step after reading Stephen Hawking’s book. Simon Singh has a PhD in particle physics, but his greatest talent, in my opinion, is as a science journalist who takes us on a fascinating tour of the universe and what our scientific discoveries tell us about it.

His book is comprehensive yet understandable for the interested layperson or budding scientist, which was reassuring to me at the time. What I loved the most about his book is that it is a stage filled with fascinating characters with a common and binding joy of discovery. I wanted to be one of them! 

By Simon Singh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Big Bang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem and The Code Book tells the story of the brilliant minds that deciphered the mysteries of the Big Bang. A fascinating exploration of the ultimate question: how was our universe created?

Albert Einstein once said: 'The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.' Simon Singh believes geniuses like Einstein are not the only people able to grasp the physics that govern the universe. We all can.

As well as explaining what the Big Bang theory actually is and why cosmologists believe it is an accurate description of the origins…


Book cover of All Systems Red

Paige E. Ewing Author Of Precise Oaths

From my list on sci-fi that blow raspberries at hero stereotypes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a woman in a technology field dominated by men, a person with both mental and physical problems, and I’ve studied a dozen different martial arts. I’m a mean shot with a bow and love to hurl axes and spears. None of these things are contradictory. They’re just different aspects of me. Real people don’t fit in boxes and neither should good characters. My world is filled with my Hispanic grandkids, my bi daughter, my gay foster brother, my friends and family and people I love that don’t fit the Captain Awesome stereotype. Remember that we, too, can be heroes.

Paige's book list on sci-fi that blow raspberries at hero stereotypes

Paige E. Ewing Why did Paige love this book?

I fell in love with Murderbot in the first paragraph. Every book afterward in the series just made me love it more.

The hero of the Murderbot Diaries is part robot, part humanoid, and all done-with-everyone’s-crap. Everyone seemed to think that if a construct like it gained its freedom, it would rampage around killing everyone. Instead, it just wanted to be left alone to watch some good shows, and read a book or ten. Been there.

I cracked up at the sarcasm, got pulled in by the action, and felt the compassion that drove Murderbot to jump into the mouth of a deadly creature to save a human’s life. I went through the angst of Murderbot learning how to connect with people without compromising itself, and identified all too well.

By Martha Wells,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked All Systems Red as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Systems Red by Martha Wells begins The Murderbot Diaries, a new science fiction action and adventure series that tackles questions of the ethics of sentient robotics. It appeals to fans of Westworld, Ex Machina, Ann Leckie's Imperial Raadch series, or lain M. Banks' Culture novels. The main character is a deadly security droid that has bucked its restrictive programming and is balanced between contemplative self discovery and an idle instinct to kill all humans. In a corporate dominated s pa cef a ring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by…


Book cover of Pride and Prejudice

Ann O’Loughlin Author Of Escape to the Irish Village

From my list on strong women and female friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the extraordinary things ordinary people do, particularly women. Women show such strength; they juggle so many things every day, and they can draw on huge reserves of power in a crisis. Time and time again, I see how when women pull together, they can conquer anything. A woman on her own can do many things, but when we band together, nothing can stop us. So often, others concentrate on the negative aspects of a group of women together, but I have seen the power of female friendship and how we can reach the stars when we hold each other up. 

Ann's book list on strong women and female friendship

Ann O’Loughlin Why did Ann love this book?

The first time I read this book, I was far too young, and it was a chore. Yes, a dreadful thing to admit, but I  returned to it in my late twenties, and it was a different experience. I always make sure to have a copy nearby. Superbly written and full of characters you would wish to have at the next dinner party is how I like to describe this classic.

The dialogue, sharp witticisms, and observations are a joy, as they honestly depict and comment on the social norms of the Regency era in the UK. I love that it is all still so relatable to our own lives. In modern life, we have our fair share of people with notions! I wonder what Jane Austen would have thought of today’s social media whirl?

By Jane Austen,

Why should I read it?

31 authors picked Pride and Prejudice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.

Jane Austen's best-loved novel is an unforgettable story about the inaccuracy of first impressions, the power of reason, and above all the strange dynamics of human relationships and emotions.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is illustrated by Hugh Thomson and features an afterword by author and critic, Henry Hitchings.

A tour de force of wit and sparkling dialogue, Pride and…


Book cover of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Julie Ma Author Of Love Letters

From my list on diverse characters as main characters, not just stereotypes or sidekicks.

Why am I passionate about this?

If I were a supermarket pie, my label would say, ‘Made in the UK with Chinese ingredients.’ Born in Wales to parents from Guangzhou and Hong Kong, my Cantonese is appalling, I’m bad at maths, and I can barely ride a bike without falling off. In short, I am an example of a real-life person and not a cliché or stereotype from the sorts of books we used to have to read if we wanted to see diverse characters. It’s about time the stories we read and the shows we watch become so effortlessly diverse that we don’t even notice. I hope my novels are playing a part in making that commonplace.

Julie's book list on diverse characters as main characters, not just stereotypes or sidekicks

Julie Ma Why did Julie love this book?

This is the third book in this seven-book series where Hermione Granger plays a more central part in the plot. It was around about the time this came out that I discovered Harry Potter and went back to read from the Philosopher’s Stone onwards.

I was always convinced, from the very beginning, that Hermione Granger is black with her ‘bushy brown hair,’ so I was disappointed when Emma Watson was cast in the subsequent film versions. As we now all know from the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hermione Granger is black. 

I often suspect that characters in novels are black or Asian, even though there is no explicit reference to them being so in the text. Not all black characters' experiences are just about gangsta or slavery, and not all Asian characters are escaping arranged marriages.

By J.K. Rowling,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

It's time to PASS THE MAGIC ON - with brand new children's editions of the classic and internationally bestselling series The third book in the global phenomenon series that changed the world of books forever When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it's the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run - and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of…


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