37 books like Black Hole Survival Guide

By Janna Levin,

Here are 37 books that Black Hole Survival Guide fans have personally recommended if you like Black Hole Survival Guide. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe

Dan Falk Author Of In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time

From my list on the universe for people who want the big picture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the universe since childhood – ever since my parents took me to the countryside in rural Nova Scotia, where the stars shone with wondrous intensity. At first, I borrowed books about space and the universe from our local library for fun; now, as a full-time science writer, I read these books to stay informed about the latest ideas shaping our understanding of the cosmos. (I also read them in order to review them on BookLab, a podcast I host together with science writer Amanda Gefter.) I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Dan's book list on the universe for people who want the big picture

Dan Falk Why did Dan love this book?

This book covers a dizzying array of human thought: Greene’s trademark is physics, of course – but in this wildly ambitious work, the Columbia University physicist also dives into evolution, the origins of human culture, the origins of art and music and religion – even the puzzle of consciousness and the paradox of free will. He tackles the deepest of questions – including the problem of finding “meaning” in a universe governed only by the laws of physics. Be prepared to go slow. Your brain will get a workout – but it will be worth every minute of your time.

By Brian Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Until the End of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the world-renowned physicist and bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, a captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose

In both time and space, the cosmos is astoundingly vast, and yet is governed by simple, elegant, universal mathematical laws.

On this cosmic timeline, our human era is spectacular but fleeting. Someday, we know, we will all die. And, we know, so too will the universe itself.

Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to understand it. Greene takes us on a…


Book cover of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Efe Yazgan Author Of Neutron Stars, Supernovae & Supernova Remnants

From my list on non-technical books to get interested in knowing the Universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with the Universe led me to become a high-energy physics and astrophysics researcher. I work at CERN (Geneva) working on elementary particles. Over many years, I have written and reviewed numerous scientific articles and served as the editor for two books. I have also reviewed books and co-written a few short popular science pieces. My reading interests encompass not only academic and literary works but also popular science, philosophy, and sociology. Understanding the Universe is difficult. With this collection, I hope to provide you with an authentic introduction to the study of the Universe and its evolution from various perspectives. 

Efe's book list on non-technical books to get interested in knowing the Universe

Efe Yazgan Why did Efe love this book?

This is both a popular physics and philosophy book explaining at great length physics’ answer to life, meaning, and the Universe.

I like his clear account of the fundamental laws of nature, emergent theories and levels of reality, their implications and how we can talk about the Universe from the big bang to human experience, consciousness and meaning, without resorting to any mystical agents. 

By Sean Carroll,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Big Picture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fascinating' - Brian Cox, Mail on Sunday Books of the Year

Where are we? Who are we? Do our beliefs, hopes and dreams hold any significance out there in the void? Can human purpose and meaning ever fit into a scientific worldview?

Award-winning author Sean Carroll brings his extraordinary intellect to bear on the realms of knowledge, the laws of nature and the most profound questions about life, death and our place in it all.

From Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness and the universe itself, Carroll combines cosmos-sprawling science and profound thought in a quest to…


Book cover of The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking)

Sarah Scoles Author Of Astronomical Mindfulness: Your Cosmic Guide to Reconnecting with the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets

From my list on making night sky your new BFF.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up intending to become an astronaut. The cosmos always felt within reach of my backyard, from where I could watch the Space Shuttle launch. As I grew up, I began to realize that the space our rockets reached was exceedingly close compared to the rest of the universe. And I became obsessed with what else was out there. I went on to study radio astronomy, fascinated by the parts of the cosmos that our senses can’t detect. After that, I became a science journalist, writing about how space influences Earth and vice versa.

Sarah's book list on making night sky your new BFF

Sarah Scoles Why did Sarah love this book?

Who doesn’t love to think about how the universe—so big, so old already—will ultimately end? Reading the book encouraged me to look at the universe as its own thing, of which I and all of Earth, were tiny parts, and tiny parts that would end long before the cosmos itself would. Katie Mack explores what five such conclusions might look like, getting everybody a little more comfortable with the idea that every story has an ending, even if we don’t know what this one looks like.

By Katie Mack,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The End of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE ECONOMIST, OBSERVER, NEW SCIENTIST, BBC FOCUS, INDEPENDENT AND WASHINGTON POST

'Weird science, explained beautifully' - John Scalzi

'A rollicking tour of the wildest physics. . . Like an animated discussion with your favourite quirky and brilliant professor' Leah Crane, New Scientist

From one of the most dynamic rising stars in astrophysics, an eye-opening look at five ways the universe could end, and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important ideas in cosmology

We know the universe had a beginning. But what happens at the end of the story?…


Book cover of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Dan Falk Author Of In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time

From my list on the universe for people who want the big picture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the universe since childhood – ever since my parents took me to the countryside in rural Nova Scotia, where the stars shone with wondrous intensity. At first, I borrowed books about space and the universe from our local library for fun; now, as a full-time science writer, I read these books to stay informed about the latest ideas shaping our understanding of the cosmos. (I also read them in order to review them on BookLab, a podcast I host together with science writer Amanda Gefter.) I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Dan's book list on the universe for people who want the big picture

Dan Falk Why did Dan love this book?

If you struggled with physics in high school – or even if you didn’t – this is the book for you. Rovelli, an Italian physicist, manages to take the most difficult concepts in physics, from relativity and quantum mechanics to the nature of space and time, and explain them in straightforward, everyday language. He spells out not only what these idea are, but why they matter. Thanks to Rovelli’s easy-going style, after a few pages you’ll forget that you’re even reading a physics book. It is, in a word, delightful.

By Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Brief Lessons on Physics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INDEPENDENT, ECONOMIST, TELEGRAPH, GUARDIAN, NEW SCIENTIST, EVENING STANDARD BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Everything you need to know about modern physics, the universe and our place in the world in seven enlightening lessons

'Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking'

These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this beautiful and mind-bending introduction to…


Book cover of Oliver's Great Big Universe

Marissa Moss Author Of Talia's Codebook for Mathletes

From my list on graphic stand outs from the very crowded pack.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm best known for the Amelia's Notebook series which are based on the notebooks I kept as a kid. I started using the notebook format because that's how I thought—sometimes in words, sometimes in pictures. But this was a long time ago, in the 90s when graphic novels weren't a common format. When I submitted Amelia to publishers, they rejected it, saying it wasn't a picture book, it wasn't a novel, so how would librarians know where to shelve it? A small press that didn't know any better took a chance and published Amelia's Notebook. It became a big bestseller, with more than 20 books to follow and started a new trend in kid's books.

Marissa's book list on graphic stand outs from the very crowded pack

Marissa Moss Why did Marissa love this book?

Anyone who uses an 11-year-old to explain black holes and the big bang is worth listening to!

This is serious physics explained in a way we can all understand, mixed up with the usual life of an 11-year-old, It makes for one fun and fascinating read. If you think physics is too complicated to understand, this book will show you how simple it can be. Science made easy and fun!

By Jorge Cham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oliver's Great Big Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Eleven-year-old Oliver wants to be an astrophysicist and explain the wonders of the universe . . . to anyone who will listen to him!
This brand-new fully illustrated series is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The 13-Storey Treehouse and anyone who loves to laugh and learn at the same time.

Oliver has just started secondary school and is wondering how he will fit in with new friends, new classes, new everything. But at least there's one thing that still makes sense: science! Determined to be an astrophysicist one day, Oliver explains everything he learns - like…


Book cover of The Ophiuchi Hotline

Edward Ashton Author Of Mickey7

From my list on science fiction about people who won’t stay dead.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many SF nerds, I watched a lot of Star Trek when I was a kid. I liked the adventures. I liked the ethos. I did not like the transporter. Everybody seemed to believe that they were being… well… transported, but it seemed obvious to me that actually they were just getting dissolved, and then somebody else who looked like them was getting created at the other end. This question (transported or replaced?) is the essence of the teletransport paradoxa puzzler that’s bedeviled philosophers since at least 1775. All of these books (including mine) are at their hearts an exploration of this problem. I know my answer. Do you?

Edward's book list on science fiction about people who won’t stay dead

Edward Ashton Why did Edward love this book?

The Ophiuchi Hotline is the first of four novels set in Varley’s Eight Worlds universe, where bodies are malleable things, and appearance, gender, and even your basic form can be changed on a whim. Its protagonist, Lilo, begins by escaping her execution by allowing an illegally produced replicant to die for her. Her situation deteriorates steadily from there, as she is repeatedly killed and resurrected while passing through the belly of the solar system’s underworld.

This book hits all my sweet spots—a morally ambiguous protagonist, an imaginative plot that provides a running commentary on the many ways we’re making a mess of the present world, and, as a bonus, someone getting chucked into a black hole for making a new kind of food called “bananameat” out of human DNA. What more could you ask?

By John Varley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ophiuchi Hotline as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following the effortless capture of Earth by vastly superior aliens, humanity was left to fight for existence on the Moon and other lumps of airless rock. Survival was greatly facilitated by the interception of the Hotline, a constant stream of data from the direction of a star in the constellation Ophiuchus, which enabled the development of amazing new technologies. Four hundred years on, and everything is about to change again because humanity's unknown helpers have just sent what appears to be a bill. It shouldn't matter to Lilo, since she's been caught experimenting with human DNA and sentenced to permanent…


Book cover of Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World

Martin Elvis Author Of Asteroids: How Love, Fear, and Greed Will Determine Our Future in Space

From my list on space mining.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an astronomer since I was young and lucky enough to make a living at it. I ventured into space mining when I found Mining the Sky. I started doing some calculations using the newest research. What I found was surprising and ignited a new passion in me that has led me from asteroids to the Moon to the ends of the Solar System and from pure astrophysics into questions of law, government, and ethics. Now, I write almost entirely about our future in space.

Martin's book list on space mining

Martin Elvis Why did Martin love this book?

From the first sentence–“The Universe is trying to kill you”–this book grabbed my attention.

I thought astronomy was a peaceful, detached pursuit. Awe-inspiring but remote from my everyday life. Umm, no. Phil Plait amazed me with all the ways the universe is hostile to life (that is, to me).

By Philip Plait,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Death from the Skies! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With wit, humor, and an infectious love of astronomy that could win over even the science-phobic, this fun and fascinating book reminds us that outer space is anything but remote. The scientist behind the popular website badastronomy.com, Philip Plait presents some of the most fearsome end-of-the-world calamities (for instance, incoming asteroids and planet-swallowing black holes), demystifies the scientific principles at work behind them, and gives us the odds that any of them will step out of the realm of sci-fi to disrupt our quiet corner of the cosmos. The result is a book that is both terrifying and entertaining?a tour…


Book cover of Llama Destroys the World

Simon Philip Author Of You Must Bring a Hat!

From my list on unexpected endings & terrific twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simon is obsessed with picture books: reading them, writing them, buying them, smelling them. His own have been published in more than 20 languages. You Must Bring a Hat won the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book of the Year, and I Really Wany the Cake was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. He particularly enjoys funny, deadpan picture books. After gaining a 1st class degree in History, he put his skills to use as a barman at a local pub, grew tired of the owner calling him Andy, left to fail a teaching degree, then turned to writing. He lives in England, although occasionally leaves to buy milk.

Simon's book list on unexpected endings & terrific twists

Simon Philip Why did Simon love this book?

Another excellent title, as far as I’m concerned.

Possibly one of the most bonkers picture books I’ve ever read – incorporating cake, cosmic vibrations, black holes, and cheese-salad sandwiches – it’s an absolute riot, and I loved the twist, which happens a bit before the end but is hilariously satisfying after all the madness leading up to it.

By Jonathan Stutzman, Heather Fox (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Llama Destroys the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Llama, a true hero for the ages, who has most definitely driven a bus and who loves cake way more than you.

On Monday, Llama discovers a pile of cake, which he promptly eats.
On Tuesday, Llama squeezes into his dancing trousers, which he promptly rips.
The force of the rip creates a black hole (naturally).
By Friday, Llama will (indirectly) destroy the world.

In their debut picture book, author/illustrator team Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox introduce young readers to the hilarious, the oblivious, the apocalyptically adorable Llama.
So grab some cake and prepare to dance . . .…


Book cover of The Mirror Empire

M.G. Herron Author Of The Auriga Project

From my list on fantasy with unusual portals to other worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Is there any genre so purely escapist as a portal fantasy adventure? I grew up on stories like these, devouring any book I could find that had a portal in it, from Alice in Wonderland to The Chronicles of Narnia to Tunnel in the Sky. Books, in a way, are portals to other places and times, and as a child I wandered through the stacks of the local library, plumbing the depths of every strange world I could get my hands on. If you want to experience the long-lost thrill of falling into a story, few do it like those that take their characters through portals to other worlds.

M.G.'s book list on fantasy with unusual portals to other worlds

M.G. Herron Why did M.G. love this book?

The other novels I’ve listed here are optimistic, hopeful stories.

This one takes us on a dark and bloody path.

In The Mirror Empire, two nearly identical worlds populated by violent people and sentient (also violent!) plants are at war with each other.

The only doorway between them is powered by blood.

The limitations of this concept are fascinating. Since the worlds are duplicates of each other, each person who lives in one world has a copy of themselves living in the other.

The twist? A person can only cross to the other side if their imposter is dead.

Talk about consequences!

This novel is incredibly bloody and full of betrayal. It’s violent, but the intense action had my eyes pinned open late into the night. 

The Mirror Empire is often gory and frequently shocking, but two things are for sure: You won’t be able to predict what’s…

By Kameron Hurley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mirror Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of God's War comes a stunning new series...

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past... while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his…


Book cover of Cheeky: A Head-to-Toe Memoir

Haley Weaver Author Of Give Me Space but Don't Go Far: My Unlikely Friendship with Anxiety

From my list on graphic memoirs to make you feel seen.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was always drawn to stories told through both words and illustrations. Why should that have to end in adulthood? Spoiler: it doesn’t, because there are SO many incredible graphic memoirs and novels written with adult audiences in mind. As a graphic memoirist myself, I love to see how other artists explore the form. I share recommendations in this genre every month in my newsletter, Haley Wrote This

Haley's book list on graphic memoirs to make you feel seen

Haley Weaver Why did Haley love this book?

If ever a book made me want to give myself a massive hug after reading it, this one is it. As someone who has suffered with body image, this book spoke right to my soul, making even the most deeply seeded insecurities feel like parts of me worth loving.

The illustrations are silly and beautiful and moving, which brings to life so much of the messaging! I keep this on my shelf for an instant confidence boost. A total antidote to body shame!

By Ariella Elovic,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cheeky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Beat Most Anticipated Graphic Novel of Fall 2020

The funny, exuberant, inspiring antidote to body shame--a full-color graphic memoir celebrating the imperfections of the author's female body in all its glory.

Too tall. Too short. Too fat. Too thin. The message is everywhere--we need to pluck, wax, shrink, and hide ourselves, to not take up space, emotionally or literally; women are never “just right.” Well, Ariella Elovic, feminist and illustrator extraordinaire, has had enough. In her full-color graphic memoir Cheeky, she takes an inspiring and exuberant head-to-toe look at her own body self-consciousness, and body part by body part,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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