The best geek books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about geeks and why they recommend each book.

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Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy

By Joshua S. Levy,

Book cover of Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy

Perfect for embracing your inner space adventure geek. Seventh Grade vs. The Galaxy grabs your hand and pulls you into deep space for a grand, fun, and funny star-sweeping good time. There’s excitement, cool spaceships, scary alien races, and an awesome group of kids that suddenly finds themselves in over their heads. You won’t believe how quickly you zip through this book. You just won’t want to put it down.


Who am I?

I’ve always described myself as a lifelong geek. I grew up reading King Arthur legends, watching Star Wars and The NeverEnding Story until I could recite every line, running secret science experiments in my room, and burying my nose in every book I could get my hands on. As I grew, I came to appreciate that there are many different varieties of geeks. Being a geek generally means that you have a true, deep passion for something, and you pursue it unapologetically and with joy. So I wanted to give book recommendations that will appeal to whatever kind of geek you consider yourself.


I wrote...

This Last Adventure

By Ryan Dalton,

Book cover of This Last Adventure

What is my book about?

In This Last Adventure, a boy uses storytelling and shared fantasies to save his grandfather’s memories from Alzheimer’s. After Grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the hero that Archie’s known all his life starts disappearing. Using Grandpa’s old journal entries as inspiration, he creates role-playing fantasies with epic quests for them to tackle together–helping Grandpa to stay in touch with his fading memories.

But there’s a limit to the power of the fantasies. And not all the memories in the journal are happy. When Archie learns a secret about Grandpa’s past, he questions everything he thought he knew about his hero. As Grandpa’s condition worsens, Archie must come to terms with what he’s losing and decide what it means to live a life worth remembering.

The Atrocity Archives

By Charles Stross,

Book cover of The Atrocity Archives

Possibly the most perfect fusion of horror and the workplace, the Laundry Files books show us a bureaucratic British intelligence service where even reading a training manual wrong will result in your brains leaking out of your ears. A fusion of Cold War spy novels and Cthulhu-ish horror, The Atrocity Archive introduces us to put-upon spy/clerk Bob Howard. It’s uncertain whether endless form filling, petty managers, or horrors from the dark side of the moon are most likely to drive him mad.


Who are we?

We've been writing together for over ten years now. A theme that we’ve come back to lots of times is the horrible workplace with its bosses from hell. Feedback from readers tells us that the ways in which we’re made miserable at work are universal and it can be fun to examine them in fiction. We doubled down on the theme in the Oddjobs series of books. We both love to read and write horror, and we spend time with lots of horror authors, so this list came together very easily.


We wrote...

Oddjobs

By Heide Goody, Iain Grant,

Book cover of Oddjobs

What is my book about?

Unstoppable horrors from beyond are poised to invade and literally create Hell on Earth. It’s the end of the world as we know it, but someone still needs to do the paperwork.

Morag Murray works for the secret government organisation responsible for making sure the apocalypse goes as smoothly and as quietly as possible. Trouble is, Morag’s got a temper problem and, after angering the wrong alien god, she’s been sent to another city where she won’t cause so much trouble. But Morag’s got her work cut out for her. She has to deal with a man-eating starfish, solve a supernatural murder and, if she’s got time, prevent her own inevitable death.

Hackers

By Steven Levy,

Book cover of Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution

Hackers is a classic account of the computer revolution, centered on the pioneering tinkerers, gamers, social theorists, entrepreneurs, and other explorers who made military and corporate technology personal. These are not hackers in the criminal sense most people understand the term today, but men (and a few women) like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and others far less famous. Their interwoven biographies are brilliantly researched and reported, underpinned by what Levy calls a common “hacker ethic” whose tenets dominate our economy, politics, and culture today.


Who am I?

Jeremy N. Smith is the author of three acclaimed narrative non-fiction books, including Breaking and Entering, about a female hacker called “Alien” and the birth of our information insecurity age. He has written for The Atlantic, Discover, Slate, and the New York Times, among other outlets, and he and his work have been featured by CNN, NPR, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and Wired. He hosts The Hacker Next Door podcast and lives in Missoula, Montana.


I wrote...

Breaking and Entering: The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called Alien

By Jeremy N. Smith,

Book cover of Breaking and Entering: The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called Alien

What is my book about?

This taut, true thriller dives into a dark world that touches us all, as seen through the brilliant, breakneck career of an extraordinary hacker, a woman known only as Alien. When she arrived at MIT in the 1990s, Alien was quickly drawn to the school's tradition of high-risk physical trespassing: the original hacking. Within a year, one of her hallmates was dead and two others were arraigned. Alien's adventures were only just beginning.

Upside Down

By N.R. Walker,

Book cover of Upside Down

Many asexual romances tend to be written in a harmful way because they are often written by allosexual authors who do not do enough research to understand asexuality. Not this book, though. And while some asexual people can and do enjoy sex, I prefer a sexless, sweet romance that focuses on the emotional development and deep human connection, that this one offers. I understand not every reader is a fan of the MC because of his personality, but I tend to be pretty open to different kinds of personalities (within reason).


Who am I?

I'm Kieran Frank, author of sexless romances. I write books with asexual characters because they're underrepresented. I write them with positive representation to avoid harmful stereotypes, and I highlight the nuances of a-spec people without sounding too preachy. I don't claim to be an expert in asexuality, but I'm passionate about writing asexual themes because it's what I want to see more of in fiction. Men are often expected to enjoy sex, especially at a younger age. I can personally relate to the harmful pressure, which is another reason I write asexual books. It can help combat toxic views that societies have instilled in many people.


I wrote...

Squishy Crushy Something

By Kieran Frank,

Book cover of Squishy Crushy Something

What is my book about?

Jayden never expected to develop a squish on a boy, never mind a crush. It started with Kail: looks, popularity, and awesomeness. But three years later, Jayden’s squish on Kail has grown into a crush, leading Jayden to make risky decisions. But Jayden used to be friends with nerdy Ollie before Ollie got too religious, driving Jayden away. Now, Ollie is back, and he seems much more open-minded—and much more attractive. Jayden can’t help but develop a squish. But could it turn into a crush?

Jayden is caught between two squishy crushes—the boy he knows is toxic, and the potential crush that could make or break a friendship. The right choice could bring him happiness, but the wrong choice could cost him everything.

Um sannleiksgildi Íslendingasagna frá sjónarhóli kjötiðnaðarmanns

By Snorri Freyr Hilmarsson,

Book cover of Um sannleiksgildi Íslendingasagna frá sjónarhóli kjötiðnaðarmanns

Sadly this book is now out of print, but hopefully, Snorri will create an updated and expanded edition in the near future. This book is a look at the Sagas of Icelanders, and particularly the combat in the sagas, from the perspective of a slaughterhouse worker, a perspective that only a butcher would have. In researching Vikings and their combat, one must intently look for experts who often are far outside one’s own field of expertise. Snorri’s book shows the benefits of an approach from a different perspective.


Who are we?

In the Viking age, one could not escape destiny, and so it is with William and Reynir, men from two vastly different fields who met by chance and shared a passion for discovery. Their research on Viking combat has led to many groundbreaking discoveries and never before done testing. Their work has been accepted by leading museums, universities, and professional societies, and they regularly share their research findings in lectures, classes, and presentations at these venues. The National Museum of Iceland recently opened a special exhibit that features their research. In many ways, their work has changed our understanding of Vikings and shown a new approach to Viking research.


We wrote...

Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

By William R. Short and Reynir A. Óskarson,

Book cover of Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

What is our book about?

Sometime near the end of the tenth century, a man named Fraði died in Sweden. His kinsmen raised a granite runestone to his memory in Denmark. The carved message appears to tell us that Fraði was “first among all Vikings” and that he was the “terror of men.” Known sources about the Vikings revolve around the constant threat of violence: literary and artistic sources from both inside and outside Viking lands, including poetry, myths, stories, and artwork; law codes; burial practices; weapons. In the book, the authors dig deep into Fraði’s society so that the reader will understand the importance of combat to Viking society, the nature of that combat, and the code of conduct of these “men of terror.

Swords of the Viking Age

By Ian Peirce,

Book cover of Swords of the Viking Age

In order to understand the combat of the Vikings, we must be familiar with the physical tools used for delivering violence, as revealed in the archaeological sources. Swords of the Viking Age is one of the better books in that category. It explores the material aspects of swords, one of the key tools of violence during the Viking age.


Who are we?

In the Viking age, one could not escape destiny, and so it is with William and Reynir, men from two vastly different fields who met by chance and shared a passion for discovery. Their research on Viking combat has led to many groundbreaking discoveries and never before done testing. Their work has been accepted by leading museums, universities, and professional societies, and they regularly share their research findings in lectures, classes, and presentations at these venues. The National Museum of Iceland recently opened a special exhibit that features their research. In many ways, their work has changed our understanding of Vikings and shown a new approach to Viking research.


We wrote...

Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

By William R. Short and Reynir A. Óskarson,

Book cover of Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

What is our book about?

Sometime near the end of the tenth century, a man named Fraði died in Sweden. His kinsmen raised a granite runestone to his memory in Denmark. The carved message appears to tell us that Fraði was “first among all Vikings” and that he was the “terror of men.” Known sources about the Vikings revolve around the constant threat of violence: literary and artistic sources from both inside and outside Viking lands, including poetry, myths, stories, and artwork; law codes; burial practices; weapons. In the book, the authors dig deep into Fraði’s society so that the reader will understand the importance of combat to Viking society, the nature of that combat, and the code of conduct of these “men of terror.

The Complete Sagas of Icelanders

By Vidar Hreinsson,

Book cover of The Complete Sagas of Icelanders

It is not only the physical source material that must be part of any research equation; we must also put all source material into the equation including, for example, the literary source material. The Sagas of Icelanders contain the most extensive literary source on the Viking age. The sagas inform us of how weapons were used, what combat tactics were used, the mindset of the Viking warrior, and much more.


Who are we?

In the Viking age, one could not escape destiny, and so it is with William and Reynir, men from two vastly different fields who met by chance and shared a passion for discovery. Their research on Viking combat has led to many groundbreaking discoveries and never before done testing. Their work has been accepted by leading museums, universities, and professional societies, and they regularly share their research findings in lectures, classes, and presentations at these venues. The National Museum of Iceland recently opened a special exhibit that features their research. In many ways, their work has changed our understanding of Vikings and shown a new approach to Viking research.


We wrote...

Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

By William R. Short and Reynir A. Óskarson,

Book cover of Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

What is our book about?

Sometime near the end of the tenth century, a man named Fraði died in Sweden. His kinsmen raised a granite runestone to his memory in Denmark. The carved message appears to tell us that Fraði was “first among all Vikings” and that he was the “terror of men.” Known sources about the Vikings revolve around the constant threat of violence: literary and artistic sources from both inside and outside Viking lands, including poetry, myths, stories, and artwork; law codes; burial practices; weapons. In the book, the authors dig deep into Fraði’s society so that the reader will understand the importance of combat to Viking society, the nature of that combat, and the code of conduct of these “men of terror.

Maker Dad

By Mark Frauenfelder,

Book cover of Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects

I like this father-daughter book, especially because it includes topics not always emphasized for girls: computer programming, hand tools, and problem-solving technology. But it’s also creative and uses affordable supplies. Maker Fairs are sweeping the planet and kids are discovering that geekiness is actually cool.

Who am I?

I love playing with my kids. When my eldest was eight and we were sitting on the porch together he said, “On my last day of being playful, I want to play with you the whole day. I sure hope it’s on a Saturday.” My kids know that I turn most things into a game, that I’ll screech and stop for a tarantula on the road because it’s educational, that I'll get them to sing their quiz answers, and that I’ll sculpt a cake into almost anything for a school project. I believe learning should be fun, so we would drink lemonade out of measuring cups, guess how many hops from the bed to the closet, and have Whipped Cream Spray Wars every summer (outside, thank you). I also think families would spend more time together if they had a great collection of cool—and easy—stuff to do together. As a writer I’m creative, and never run out of fun ideas. Why not share them with the world?


I wrote...

Family Funbook

By Joni Hilton,

Book cover of Family Funbook

What is my book about?

I’ve always involved my four kids in short activities to get them to hurry along—they never wanted to miss “project time.” It was so fun that it grew until my friends begged me to compile my ideas into a book. Well, two books, actually (the other one is called Five Minute Miracles: 373 Quick Daily Projects for You and Your Kids to Share). If you want quality family time, and wish you had an easy manual of ideas, you have come to the right mom! These just use items you already have around the house, and you’ll love the laughs and closeness they’ll build. Oh—and definitely snap photos.

Tao of Jeet Kune Do

By Bruce Lee,

Book cover of Tao of Jeet Kune Do

At first glance this book would seem to have nothing to do with Vikings at all, and it doesn’t. Regardless, this fascinating book is a classic when it comes to understanding approaches to researching combat in general. It shows how to break the mold of preconceived notions and ideas related to researching combat, a skill crucial for those studying any field of direct and dynamic violence.


Who are we?

In the Viking age, one could not escape destiny, and so it is with William and Reynir, men from two vastly different fields who met by chance and shared a passion for discovery. Their research on Viking combat has led to many groundbreaking discoveries and never before done testing. Their work has been accepted by leading museums, universities, and professional societies, and they regularly share their research findings in lectures, classes, and presentations at these venues. The National Museum of Iceland recently opened a special exhibit that features their research. In many ways, their work has changed our understanding of Vikings and shown a new approach to Viking research.


We wrote...

Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

By William R. Short and Reynir A. Óskarson,

Book cover of Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

What is our book about?

Sometime near the end of the tenth century, a man named Fraði died in Sweden. His kinsmen raised a granite runestone to his memory in Denmark. The carved message appears to tell us that Fraði was “first among all Vikings” and that he was the “terror of men.” Known sources about the Vikings revolve around the constant threat of violence: literary and artistic sources from both inside and outside Viking lands, including poetry, myths, stories, and artwork; law codes; burial practices; weapons. In the book, the authors dig deep into Fraði’s society so that the reader will understand the importance of combat to Viking society, the nature of that combat, and the code of conduct of these “men of terror.

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