The most recommended books on the cosmos (space)

Who picked these books? Meet our 11 experts.

11 authors created a book list connected to the cosmos, and here are their favorite cosmos books.
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Book cover of The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity

Geraint F. Lewis Author Of A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos

From my list on the mysteries of the cosmos.

Who am I?

With a PhD in astrophysics, cosmology is my day job. My research focuses upon the dark-side, the dark matter and energy that have shaped the evolution of the universe. My scientific journey began long ago with “How and Why Wonder Books”, from dinosaurs and evolution to astronomy and space exploration. I have always devoured tales about the fundamental universe, not only the immensity of the cosmos around us, but also the lives of the tiny bits-and-pieces from which matter is made. I still read a lot of popular science, especially on the history of life on Earth, and the future impact of Artificial Intelligence. 


Geraint's book list on the mysteries of the cosmos

Geraint F. Lewis Why did Geraint love this book?

What does tomorrow hold for the universe? Through this book, the authors step into the far future of the cosmos, starting from our universe today, lit with stars and galaxies, to a hundred trillion years hence when the last star has died. But at this point, the story has only just begun, and the authors continue to the distant time when matter will eventually melt, and black holes will evaporate into the background. Whilst some of the physics is speculative this is an exciting ride which reminds us, like everything, the universe is slowly and steadily winding down.

By Greg Laughlin, Fred Adams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Five Ages of the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE is a riveting biography of the universe which describes for the first time five distinct eras that Adams and Laughlin themselves defined as a result of their own research. From the first gasp of inflation that caused the Big Bang, through the birth of stars, to the fading of all light, THE FIVE AGES OF THE UNIVERSE describes the death of our own sun, tremendous fiery supernovae explosions, dramatic collisions of galaxies, proton decay, the evaporation of black holes and the possibility of communications when there are no planets or stars or even black…


Book cover of The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake

B.W. Powe Author Of These Shadows Remain: A Fable

From my list on vistas and fantasias of the subconscious.

Who am I?

My name is B.W. Powe—and I’m a writer, poet, teacher, mentor, and musician. I’ve written since I was a boy, when I began to dream of beautiful sentences, and finding a way to turn music into literary expression. I live in Stouffville, a small edge town near Toronto, Canada—and a portion of the year in Cordoba, Spain, where my wife is from. I was encouraged by my mother, an amateur pianist, and my father, a politician, and novelist. We lived in Toronto through the 60s-90s and witnessed how the city sprawled. I’ve written about the Genesis Overdrive that informs culture and lives. My latest book, Ladders Made of Water, will be available on February 14th, 2023.

B.W.'s book list on vistas and fantasias of the subconscious

B.W. Powe Why did B.W. love this book?

Blake: an indispensable visionary of poetry—whose multi-media approach to poetry—his art, visual designs, words, images, mythic stories, lyrics, dramatic monologues, polemics on behalf of opening the doors of perception—continue to haunt and provoke, inspire and lift, perplex and illuminate, prophetically anticipate and speak from the frontiers of the wild, countering imagination. Blake is the Romantic poet par excellence, whose vocation of finding inspiration and vision through poetry itself goes beyond his time and place, reaching to us in our troubled, sometimes disabled pandemia times, ecological catastrophe times. With Blake's books, one work opens to another, and to another: and we see worlds in his words. He helps us to apprehend the whorling fluidities, emanating energies, in our circuit cosmos. 

By William Blake, David Erdman (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its first publication in 1965, this collection has been widely hailed as the best available text of William Blake's poetry and prose. It is now expanded to include a new foreword by Harold Bloom, his definitive statement on Blake's greatness.


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

Tom Evans Author Of Soulwaves: A Future History

From my list on the future of the human race.

Who am I?

Tom spent the first 30 years of his professional life at the cutting edge of the broadcast industry. He has always been fascinated by new technology and more specifically how it allows humans to evolve and work smarter and better. He is also a sci-fi fan and has a keen interest in both cosmology and metaphysics. He says that today's metaphysics is tomorrow’s physics. So his book choices mirror his fascinations which are in what lies in the future for humanity, bearing in mind that science fiction especially has a tendency to become science fact at some time or other. If we humans are capable of imagining something, then we seem to develop the ability to make it happen.

Tom's book list on the future of the human race

Tom Evans Why did Tom love this book?

This is not a fiction book per se but each chapter sets out a possible future, in a story-like form, of how life as we know it might be terminated on Earth. We know for a fact that mass extinctions have happened before but this time, we may well have the smarts to do something about it. This book inspires us to look up not down and marvel at the cosmos that made us but that also might unmake us. It is a clarion call for us to become planetary caretakers, rather than planetary abusers.

By Philip Plait,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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 The World of Mamoko in the Year 3000

Alison Farrell Author Of Cycle City: (City Books for Kids, Find and Seek Books)

From my list on for kids who delight in details.

Who am I?

From the ages of 1-4, my son Finn deeply rooted himself into the detailed world of Richard Scarry. These books could be such slow reads that we only needed two of them for long airplane rides. Through Finn’s love of Scarry books, I began searching for more books that delighted with detail. And when I did not see my family’s bicycle-rich lifestyle reflected in books, I created Cycle City.

Alison's book list on for kids who delight in details

Alison Farrell Why did Alison love this book?

Welcome to the future in the city of Mamoko! A list of questions launches readers to discover a story about each seek-and-find character. What is strange about Otto Flash’s new jumper? Why is Amelia squeal so excited?  Inventive, cross-sectioned interiors and exteriors, a top-notch, delicious color palette. This book sparks future-curious imaginations. Also in this series: Welcome to Mamoko and The World of Mamoko in the Time of Dragons.

By Aleksandra Mizielinska, Daniel Mizielinski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World of Mamoko in the Year 3000 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

It’s the year 3000 in Mamoko, but what does the future hold? This is the second book in the revolutionary Mamoko series, in which the reader becomes the storyteller, sharing their discoveries as they use their eyes to uncover the cosmos of characters packed into every page!


Book cover of Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime

David H. DeVorkin Author Of The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space

From my list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble.

Who am I?

I was trained in astronomy and astrophysics, was a staff observer at the Lick and Yerkes Observatories, and always have had a passion for researching and writing the history of modern astrophysics and space astronomy. I hold a PhD in the history of astronomy from the University of Leicester in England, am now a retired museum curator having been a planetarium lecturer, college professor, research associate for the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, and guitar teacher in the early 1960s.

David's book list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble

David H. DeVorkin Why did David love this book?

A penetrating, creative, and highly accessible exploration of how the incredible images from the Hubble Space Telescope were selected and produced. Most intriguing and revealing is an analysis of the context of these images within the history of frontier landscape art.

By Elizabeth A. Kessler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The vivid, dramatic images of distant stars and galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope have come to define how we visualize the cosmos. In their immediacy and vibrancy, photographs from the Hubble show what future generations of space travelers might see should they venture beyond our solar system. But their brilliant hues and precise details are not simply products of the telescope's unprecedented orbital location and technologically advanced optical system. Rather, they result from a series of deliberate decisions made by the astronomers who convert raw data from the Hubble into spectacular pictures by assigning colors, adjusting contrast, and…


Book cover of Crazy Foolish Robots

AM Scott Author Of Lift Off

From my list on sci-fi adventures with strong teen heroines.

Who am I?

I’ve published eleven classic-style space opera novels, a novella, and many short stories. Before becoming a writer, I spent twenty years in US Air Force in space operations; even though my books are light on science, I really was a rocket scientist! Plus, I’ve read science fiction since I was barely a teen, starting with Heinlein and McCaffery, and am always looking for my next favorite author!

AM's book list on sci-fi adventures with strong teen heroines

AM Scott Why did AM love this book?

Ruby hates robots and artificial intelligence. She desperately wants to join an expedition to the outer reaches of the solar system, where humans do the work, rather than computers. But she’s still too young and needs to finish her degree. Determined to make her own fate, she sets off to join, but of course, she’s abducted by space-faring robots with some very strange flaws…

A really fun book, with robots that are all too human, and an endearing main character. 

By Adeena Mignogna,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What would you do if you were kidnapped by alien robots?

Ruby Palmer finds herself on an entire planet surrounded by the things she hates the most: robots. Besides taking everything she says way too literally, the robots have problems of their own. A myriad of technical glitches are, on the cosmological scale, quickly destroying them. Ruby has the programming knowledge and skills that matter to them, but can she overcome her fears and find it within herself to help? Her survival, along with the survival of all of humanity and robot kind, depends on it.

If you adore all…


Book cover of Cosmology: The Science of the Universe

Geraint F. Lewis Author Of A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos

From my list on the mysteries of the cosmos.

Who am I?

With a PhD in astrophysics, cosmology is my day job. My research focuses upon the dark-side, the dark matter and energy that have shaped the evolution of the universe. My scientific journey began long ago with “How and Why Wonder Books”, from dinosaurs and evolution to astronomy and space exploration. I have always devoured tales about the fundamental universe, not only the immensity of the cosmos around us, but also the lives of the tiny bits-and-pieces from which matter is made. I still read a lot of popular science, especially on the history of life on Earth, and the future impact of Artificial Intelligence. 


Geraint's book list on the mysteries of the cosmos

Geraint F. Lewis Why did Geraint love this book?

Cosmology encompasses our modern understanding of the universe, but what a strange universe it is, born in a fiery Big Bang, dominated by the dark-side, and expanding into a never-ending future. In his classic book, Harrison lays out the science of cosmology, exploring the nature of the Big Bang, the meaning of expansion, and our place in a seemingly infinite cosmos. With a lucid style, I love Harrison’s tour of modern cosmology. It is not just required reading for the cosmologist in training but is also essential for anyone wondering just how our universe works.    

By Edward R. Harrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cosmology: The Science of the Universe is an introduction to past and present cosmological theory. For much of the world's history, cosmological thought was formulated in religious or philosophical language and was thus theological or metaphysical in nature. However, cosmological speculation and theory has now become a science in which the empirical discoveries of the astronomer, theoretical physicist, and biologist are woven into intricate models that attempt to account for the universe as a whole. Professor Harrison draws on the discoveries and speculations of these scientists to provide a comprehensive survey of man's current understanding of the universe and its…


Book cover of Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

Tyler Nordgren Author Of Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets

From my list on astronomy books that will rock your world and alter your cosmos.

Who am I?

I was of that generation of children turned on to science by reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos - plus watching the Voyager spacecraft at Jupiter on TV, seeing the 1979 total solar eclipse over my house, and having Mt St Helens erupt outside my childhood window. So, one guess what I wanted to be when I grew up? Since then, I’ve earned a PhD, used the largest telescopes on Earth, designed something driving around on Mars, written popular books, and had my science art collected by the Smithsonian. But all of that started with a single book I read as a kid. Thanks Carl.

Tyler's book list on astronomy books that will rock your world and alter your cosmos

Tyler Nordgren Why did Tyler love this book?

Where do we come from? It’s hard to come up with a bigger question. This book is a fun, illustrated read that explores the history of how we got from Creation myths and Greek philosophers to the Big Bang. But at every step of the way Dr. Singh is clear our ancestors were not idiots but rather had valid logical reasons based on what they saw to believe what they did. His easy prose, coupled with informative cartoons, is my gold standard for how to make science popular. And I learned Hubble (the astronomer, not the space telescope) once got a standing ovation at the Academy Awards! How cool is that?

By Simon Singh,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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 The Merchant of Death

R. Ann Humphries Author Of Sedich: The Annals of Lusiartha

From my list on YA to satiate your travel bug.

Who am I?

I’m a YA fantasy writer, and I’ve been addicted to stories of adventure for as long as I can remember. My love of story filled me with a heart for other worlds and realms and a fondness of reading things that challenged my heart and mind here in the real world. Stories are what make us human, and we storytellers are tasked with challenging readers’ assumptions about how the world, life, love, and humanity works. My obsession with story-telling led me to write my YA fantasy series The Annals of Lusiartha

R.'s book list on YA to satiate your travel bug

R. Ann Humphries Why did R. love this book?

As a kid, I loved all kinds of fiction—sci-fi, fantasy, realistic, historical—pretty much anything I could get my hands on! D.J. MacHale’s Pendragon series magically captures the best of every genre. In The Merchant of Death, Bobby Pendragon, a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy, finds himself pulled into an alternate dimension ruled by a magical tyrant. Bobby learns he is a Traveler, someone gifted with the ability to travel between alternate dimensions (called Territories) and his destiny is much bigger than he could ever have imagined. The Merchant of Death is a thrilling start to a captivating YA adventure!

By D. J. MacHale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Merchant of Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal teenager, swept into an amazing quest, and catapulted into the middle of an immense, interdimensional conflict. His success or failure will decide the course of human existence! The first book of this internationally best-selling series, each featuring a new and dangerous mission.


Book cover of Star Maker

Howard Bruce Franklin Author Of Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War

From my list on urgent menaces to the human species.

Who am I?

My twenty books have won top awards for lifetime scholarship in American studies, science fiction, prison literature, the Vietnam war, and marine ecology. My writing is just part of my six decades as an activist for peace and justice, which made me a major target of the FBI’s operation COINTELPRO and led Stanford to fire me from my tenured professorship.  I then taught for 40 years at Rutgers University in Newark as The John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies. 

Howard's book list on urgent menaces to the human species

Howard Bruce Franklin Why did Howard love this book?

No other book has influenced me so deeply. Arthur C. Clarke wrote it is "probably the most powerful work of imagination ever written." As I now reread Star Maker, published in 1937 when I was three years old, I still find passages so profound that they send my mind into orbit. The book takes us through time and space to a future when that entire conscious cosmos yearns to meet its creator. It ends with a prophetic awareness that “the struggle of our age was brewing” and the hope that our species can make it “before the ultimate darkness.”

By Olaf Stapledon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Star Maker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This bold exploration of the cosmos ventures into intelligent star clusters and mingles among alien races for a memorable vision of infinity. Cited as a key influence by science-fiction masters such as Doris Lessing, this classic has left its mark not only in modern literature but also in the fields of social anthropology and philosophy.
Olaf Stapledon's 1937 successor to Last and First Men offers another entrancing speculative history of the future. Its narrator, a contemporary Earthman, joins a community of explorers who travel to the farthest reaches of the universe, seeking traces of intelligence. Along the way, they encounter…