The most recommended books on spacetime

Who picked these books? Meet our 90 experts.

90 authors created a book list connected to spacetime, and here are their favorite spacetime books.
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What type of spacetime book?


Time and Free Will

By Henri Bergson,

Book cover of Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness

Yael Lin Author Of The Intersubjectivity of Time: Levinas and Infinite Responsibility

From the list on time and its impact on human existence.

Who am I?

I have time, save time, spend time, waste time, write, and teach time. I am fascinated with the question of time both as a cosmological phenomenon and as an aspect that is inseparable from our existence. I channeled this fascination into a PhD dissertation, books, and articles examining the relationship between time and human existence. But like Saint Augustine, I am still baffled by the question of time and like him: "If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it …, I do not know."

Yael's book list on time and its impact on human existence

Why did Yael love this book?

It is in Bergson's Time and Free Will that I first encountered an inspiring way to think of time. A way of thinking about time that does not focus on the time of clocks and calendars; that does not emphasize the physical homogeneous aspect of time, but rather reveals the relation between time and human existence. This book opened up not only an entirely new way of thinking about time, but a new way of approaching life: instead of focusing on the spatial, static, exterior, homogeneous milestones of life, I rather focus on the temporal, fleeting, inner, heterogeneous qualities of my life. Bergson writes in a relatively clear style, and his texts are accessible also for the interested layperson.

By Henri Bergson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Internationally known and one of the most influential philosophers of his day (and for a time almost a cult figure in France, where his lectures drew huge crowds), Henri Bergson (1859-41) led a revolution in philosophical thought by rejecting traditional conceptual and abstract methods, and arguing that the intuition is deeper than the intellect. His speculations, especially about the nature of time, had a profound influence on many other philosophers, as well as on poets and novelists; they are said to have been the seed for À la recherce de temps perdu by Marcel Proust (whose cousin was Bergson's wife).…

The Labyrinth of Time

By Michael Lockwood,

Book cover of The Labyrinth of Time: Introducing the Universe

David J. Hand Author Of Amy's Luck

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Statistician Scientist Thinker

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did David love this book?

It gave me insight into perspectives I had not considered. Time is possibly the most intriguing of mysteries of the universe and of the human condition.

They explained how our understanding of time has changed, from us having a fixed universal time, through the entwining of space and time dimensions, to the challenge of non-local interactions and beyond. It is remarkably broad, covering recent developments and cutting-edge ideas.

By Michael Lockwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Modern physics has revealed the universe as a much stranger place than we could have imagined. The puzzle at the centre of our knowledge of the universe is time. Michael Lockwood takes the reader on a fascinating journey into the nature of things. He investigates philosophical questions about past, present, and future, our experience of time, and the possibility of time travel. And he provides the most careful, lively, and up-to-date introduction to the physics of time and the structure of the universe. He guides us step by step through relativity theory and quantum physics, introducing and explaining the ground-breaking…

Book cover of The Kaiju Preservation Society

Douglas Phillips Author Of Quantum Chaos

From Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Scientist Imagineer Lifelong student Optimist Earthling with ambitions

Douglas' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Douglas love this book?

Godzilla (who ravaged Japan in the 1960s) was a real, living, breathing animal. It’s true, I swear! Crazier still, there are more like him, though not easy to find.

Contact the Kaiju Preservation Society; they know how to get there. You see, kaiju means “strange beast” in Japanese, and you’ll meet quite a few in this thoroughly entertaining story.

Don’t worry, it’s not a horror story. Author John Scalzi’s knack for clever humor made me laugh from beginning to end. Don’t miss the fun!

By John Scalzi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi's first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here…

Between Two Thorns

By Emma Newman,

Book cover of Between Two Thorns

Jackie Dana Author Of The Favor Faeries

From the list on YA faerie novels.

Who am I?

Tales of magic have captivated me since I was a small child, and I started writing fantasy stories in high school. But it was only when I discovered the YA faerie subgenre several years ago that I truly found my niche. As my book recommendations will demonstrate, there’s a delicious connection between faerie magic and teenage angst, and it’s the tension that arises that makes for fantastic worldbuilding and storytelling. I hope that you enjoy my top books in the genre and find a new favorite for yourself!

Jackie's book list on YA faerie novels

Why did Jackie love this book?

Prepare to have your world turned upside down in this peculiar take on the faerie novel. We meet Cathy as a resident of modern England but learn she’s actually an escapee from “The Nether,” a faerie mirror world that’s stuck in the 19th century. As a historian, I absolutely love how Newman moves characters between the worlds—without time travel! And just imagine being in the shoes of a young woman forced to straddle the freedoms that come with modern life with a life with an arranged marriage. And above all, she must appeal to the whims of the faerie lord who controls her family’s fortunes. Come for the premise, but stick around for her deep world-building and richly-drawn characters (I mean, who doesn’t love a talking gargoyle?)

By Emma Newman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beautiful and nuanced as it is dangerous, the manners of Regency and Victorian England blend into a scintillating fusion of contemporary urban fantasy and court intrigue.

Between Mundanus, the world of humans, and Exilium, the world of the Fae, lies the Nether, a mirror-world where the social structure of 19th-century England is preserved by Fae-touched families who remain loyal to their ageless masters. Born into this world is Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver, who escapes it all to live a normal life in Mundanus, free from her parents and the strictures of Fae-touched society. But now she's being dragged back to face an…

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Book cover of A Wrinkle in Time

Mark David Gerson Author Of The MoonQuest

From the list on fantasy that will make you devour the series.

Who am I?

One of the reasons I prefer novels to short stories as both reader and writer is that I like to immerse myself in fictional worlds and forge ongoing relationships with the characters who live in them. Often, in fact, I experience something resembling grief when I reach the end of a beloved book and am forced to say goodbye to the people and places that have so captured my imagination through all those pages. And that’s as true for the books I write as for those I read. For me, whether I’m writing it or reading it, that’s the major attraction of a compelling series!

Mark's book list on fantasy that will make you devour the series

Why did Mark love this book?

Most people read young adult fantasy when they’re in their teens. That wasn’t true for me.

In fact, ironically for someone who would end up writing fantasy, I didn’t read much of it until I was well beyond my teens. That’s when I discovered YA authors like Madeleine L’Engle, Michael Ende, and Ursula K. Le Guin. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, however, was the first.

At the time, I was refocusing my life—away from the logical and intellectual and toward the spiritual and numinous, not unlike Wrinkle’s main characters, whose journey became a powerful metaphor for my own creative and spiritual awakening.

Moreover, that the now-classic book was rejected 26 times over two years was a potent lesson in perseverance. It still is.

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Wrinkle in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.

When Charles and Meg Murry go searching through a 'wrinkle in time' for their lost father, they find themselves on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as 'It'.

Meg, Charles and their friend Calvin embark on a cosmic journey helped by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. Together they must find the weapon that will defeat It.…

The Poetics of Space

By Gaston Bachelard, Maria Jolas (translator),

Book cover of The Poetics of Space

Mikael Colville-Andersen Author Of Copenhagenize: The Definitive Guide to Global Bicycle Urbanism

From the list on unexpected books about cities & urbanism.

Who am I?

I’m an urban designer, author, and host of The Life-Sized City urbanism series - as well as its podcast and YouTube channel. I’ve worked in over 100 cities, trying to improve urban life and bring back bikes as transport. I came at this career out of left field and am happily unburdened by the baggage of academia. I've famously refrained from reading most of the (probably excellent) books venerated by the urbanism tribe, in order to keep my own urban thinking clear and pure. My expertise stems instead from human observation and I find far more inspiration in photography, literature, cinema, science, and especially talking to and working with the true experts: the citizens.

Mikael's book list on unexpected books about cities & urbanism

Why did Mikael love this book?

I’ve tried to explain this book to people for years, with varying degrees of success. It’s odd considering I’ve read it ten times. Bachelard was a philosopher but this is a work of deeply-rooted poetry. It’s not really philosophy or analysis, this book. It’s more of a seductive, lyrical invitation inside Bachelard’s dreamy, passionate imagination.

It explores the concept of “home” and the distinctions of inside and outside. It has nothing to do with cities or urbanism at first glance, but the second time I read it I tried to superimpose it onto the urban context. The idea of a city as a home - a notion that the Nobel Prize laureate for literature, Johannes V. Jensen, planted in my head in his 1934 novel Gudrun. I still have trouble explaining how, but this book is the seed for many of my thoughts and philosophies about space and cities.

By Gaston Bachelard, Maria Jolas (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beloved and contemplated by philosophers, architects, writers, and literary theorists alike, Bachelard's lyrical, landmark work examines the places in which we place our conscious and unconscious thoughts and guides us through a stream of cerebral meditations on poetry, art, and the blooming of consciousness itself.

Houses and rooms; cellars and attics; drawers, chests and wardrobes; nests and shells; nooks and corners: no space is too vast or too small to be filled by our thoughts and our reveries.

With an introduction by acclaimed philosopher Richard Kearney and a foreword by author Mark Z. Danielewski.

The Direction of Time

By Hans Reichenbach,

Book cover of The Direction of Time

Craig Callender Author Of What Makes Time Special?

From the list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking.

Who am I?

I am a philosopher of science who has an obsession with time. People think this interest is a case of patronymic destiny, that it’s due to my last name being Callender. But the origins of “Callender” have nothing to do with time. Instead, I’m fascinated by time because it is one of the last fundamental mysteries, right up there with consciousness. Like consciousness, time is connected to our place in the universe (our sense of freedom, identity, meaning). Yet we don’t really understand it because there remains a gulf between our experience of time and the science of time. Saint Augustine really put his finger on the problem in the fifth century when he pointed out that it is both the most familiar and unfamiliar thing.

Craig's book list on time for people who love physics and deep thinking

Why did Craig love this book?

Most academics have played the game David Lodge calls “Humiliations” in his novel Changing Places: you have to list books that you should have read but didn’t, the more scandalous the better. For a while, Reichenbach’s book was my go-to. I was writing my PhD on the direction of time but hadn’t read Reichenbach. Because it was old I figured I indirectly knew everything in it. Holy moly was I wrong! Not only is The Direction of Time the first serious blend of good philosophy and physics tackling the direction of time — plus a great example of the type of philosophy I deeply value — but it is still packed with insights. No question, I should have read it earlier in my life.  

By Hans Reichenbach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ever a source of philosophical conjecture and debate, the concept of time represents the beating heart of physics. This final work by the distinguished physicist Hans Reichenbach represents the culmination and integration of a lifetime's philosophical contributions and inquiries into the analysis of time. The result is an outstanding overview of such qualitative, or topological, attributes of time as order and direction.
Beginning with a discussion of the emotive significance of time, Reichenbach turns to an examination of the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum…

The Order of Time

By Carlo Rovelli,

Book cover of The Order of Time

James Stanier Author Of Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager: How to Be the Leader Your Development Team Needs

From James' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Engineer Leader Geek Explorer

James' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did James love this book?

Time is fundamentally very strange. Not just from our relationship with it through memory and predictions of the future but also as a studied notion in physics, from the theory of relativity to quantum mechanics and beyond.

Although the material could easily fill a tome that could be a huge turn-off to the layperson, Carlo Rovelli manages to weave art, philosophy, and poetry into an exploration of time over a short 182 pages that makes it a compelling and beautiful read. What is time? How do we experience it? What is a world without it? What is its relationship to physics, mathematics, and ourselves?

It’s a fascinatingly deep and poetic exploration that will make you want to start over again once you’ve finished it. In fact, I think I’m going to read it again soon.

By Carlo Rovelli,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


One of TIME's Ten Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade

'Captivating, fascinating, profoundly beautiful. . . Rovelli is a wonderfully humane, gentle and witty guide for he is as much philosopher and poet as he is a scientist' John Banville

'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come'

Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored…

Book cover of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

A. R. Davis Author Of Schroedinger's Cheshire Cats

From the list on sci-fi that explores the nature of reality.

Who am I?

I was a teacher and a professor who showed generations of students how to find x, how to prove figure 1 was similar to figure 2, how to make a machine search through millions of bits of data for an answer. An inspiration for a story struck me one day early in retirement as I was daydreaming. I began to write and have never stopped. It turns out that “if-then” is not so different from “what if.” The first is more like destiny, the second like free will. One is science, the other is fiction. “What if” has led me into strange lands.

A.R.'s book list on sci-fi that explores the nature of reality

Why did A.R. love this book?

I loved this book because it has mathematics to the nth degree! Some of it in the form of inside jokes like “easy to use partial differential equations” that made me laugh out loud. Some of it, such as “equations that had sadness as a constant,” are in a “techno-poetic” style that I strive to achieve in my own writing. But this “meta-science fiction” novel is also filled with musings on writing and creativity. The self-referential recursion of a book within a book within a book makes the paradoxes of time travel even more interesting. The “reality portions” in which the main character pursues his quest to “find his father” are as deep and well done a theme as any I have read in sci-fi.

By Charles Yu,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brimming with alternative universes, futuristic landscapes and gleeful metaphysics... Yu's spirit of invention is infectious. - Sunday Times

Highly inventive and hilarious - The Times


With only TAMMY - a slightly tearful computer with self-esteem issues - a software boss called Phil - Microsoft Middle Manager 3.0 - and an imaginary dog called Ed for company, fixing time machines is a lonely business and Charles Yu is stuck in a rut.

He's spent the better part of a decade navel-gazing, spying on 39 different versions of himself in alternate universes (and discovered that 35 of them are total jerks).…

Einstein for Everyone

By John D. Norton,

Book cover of Einstein for Everyone

Marc Lange Author Of An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Locality, Fields, Energy, and Mass

From the list on the philosophy of physics.

Who am I?

My undergraduate physics textbook asked, “What is an electric field? Is it something real, or is it merely a name for a factor in an equation which has to be multiplied by something else to give the numerical value of the force we measure in an experiment?” Here, I thought, is a good question! But the textbook said that since electromagnetic theory “works, it doesn’t make any difference" what an electric field is! Then it said, "That is not a frivolous answer, but a serious one.” I felt ashamed. But my physics teacher helpfully suggested that I “speak to the philosophers.” I am very pleased that I decided to become one!

Marc's book list on the philosophy of physics

Why did Marc love this book?

This book has it all. It describes Einstein’s own fascinating path to both the special and the general theories of relativity. It explains why relativity theory involved such revolutionary steps and yet remains continuous with 19th-century physics. It examines (and, in some cases, debunks!) the philosophical morals (about spacetime and about the logic of scientific reasoning) that have sometimes been drawn from relativity theory. And it looks closely at the reasons for Einstein’s critical attitude toward quantum mechanics. Norton is not only one of the world’s leading Einstein experts, but also a superb writer and teacher.

By John D. Norton,

Why should I read it?

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

Book cover of A Thousand Pieces of You

S. Breaker Author Of Save Yourself

From the list on action-packed offbeat sci-fi and fantasy.

Who am I?

To me, a good story is where things happen. I like fast-paced action, grand adventures, snarky banter, and happy endings. I especially like books that don’t take themselves too seriously. Being an author of non-stop action adventure, offbeat science fiction and fantasy books, I write easy-to-read, compelling stories with just as much conflict and danger while maintaining an overarching atmosphere of levity and hope. Suburban mom by day and author by night, I love to live vicariously through my characters. They don’t have to vacuum all day long and are almost always guaranteed to survive any fantastical or thrilling incidents, no matter how treacherous I write them.

S.'s book list on action-packed offbeat sci-fi and fantasy

Why did S. love this book?

I love when stories start right where the action is! Very effective narrative, very vivid worlds–I felt like I was actually there. I was so blown away by the research that must have gone into the settings and locations in this book. The action is fast-paced, the conflict is compelling, and the dash of forbidden love was the cherry on top. I’m a total sucker for romance spanning across parallel worlds and alternate selves. I find the concept of portals and multiverses so incredibly fascinating that this element is in most of my books too.

By Claudia Gray,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Thousand Pieces of You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes-and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer-her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul-escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through…

Being and Time

By Martin Heidegger, John MacQuarrie (translator), Edward S. Robinson (translator)

Book cover of Being and Time

Lee Braver Author Of Heidegger: Thinking of Being

From the list on everything you want to know on existentialism.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of philosophy because when I got to college, philosophy sounded like what Gandalf would study—the closest thing we have to the study of magic. It turns out, I wasn’t far from the mark. Philosophy shows you entire dimensions to the world that you never noticed because they exist at weird angles, and you have to change your way of thinking to see them. Entering them and seeing the world from those perspectives transforms everything. A great work of philosophy is like having the lights turn on in an annex of your mind you didn’t know was there, like an out-of-mind experience—or perhaps, an in-your-mind-for-the-first-time experience.

Lee's book list on everything you want to know on existentialism

Why did Lee love this book?

If aliens land and ask me what it’s like to be a human, I’ll give them Heidegger’s first book, Being and Time. Of course, that might prompt them to destroy all humans out of frustration at the difficulty of his writing, but if they persevere, they will find the best description of what it’s like to live out your time on this planet (One Hundred Years of Solitude comes in second).

By Martin Heidegger, John MacQuarrie (translator), Edward S. Robinson (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A knowledge of Heidegger's Sein und Zeit is essential for anyone who wishes to understand a great deal of recent continental work in theology as well as philosophy. Yet until this translation first appeared in 1962, this fundamental work of one of the most influential European thinkers of the century remained inaccessible to English readers. In fact the difficulty of Heidegger's thought was considered to be almost insuperable in the medium of a foreign language, especially English. That this view was unduly pessimistic is proved by the impressive work of John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson who have succeeded in clothing…

Book cover of Einstein's Unfinished Symphony: The Story of a Gamble, Two Black Holes, and a New Age of Astronomy

C.A. Farlow Author Of A Quantum Singularity: Book Three in The Nexus Series

From the list on mixing science, fiction, and adventure.

Who am I?

I grew up in farm country of central Indiana. But spent my summers on an island in northern Ontario with my grandparents. My grandfather was a self-taught naturalist and shared his love and fascination of the world around us with me. I went on to become a geologist and traveled the globe exploring for natural resources. My love of nature and science is the foundation for the science fiction I write. Whether a proven theory, a fantastical hypothesis, or true science fiction, it’s all based on science fact. It allows everyone to learn about a world built in science fiction which one day may exist in science fact.

C.A.'s book list on mixing science, fiction, and adventure

Why did C.A. love this book?

In February 2016, astronomers announced the discovery of gravitational waves, the last remaining prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Gravitational waves are produced by the collision of gigantic bodies—neutron stars, blackholes—and from exploding stars. This book details the trials and tribulations as scientists attempt to build the most accurate measuring devices known to humankind. The result of their success is the LIGO observatories in Washington and Louisiana. 

Since the first discovery, we now have listened to a multitude of gravitational waves—our universe sings with these songs as the waves flow across the universe. Waves that may allow us to hear the sounds of the Big Bang. The intragalactic ships in my own books utilize these gravitational waves to travel at faster-than-light speeds. I was awed by the scientific determination and rooted for the scientists as they overcame one hurdle after another.

By Marcia Bartusiak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Einstein's Unfinished Symphony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An updated classic that recounts the long hunt for Einstein's predicted gravitational waves-and celebrates their recent discovery

In February 2016, astronomers announced that they had verified the last remaining prediction of Einstein's general theory of relativity-vibrations in space-time, called gravitational waves. Humanity can now tune in to a cosmic orchestra. We have heard the chirp of two black holes dancing toward a violent union. We will hear the cymbal crashes from exploding stars, the periodic drumbeats from swiftly rotating pulsars, and maybe even the echoes from the Big Bang itself.

Marcia Bartusiak was one of the first to report on…

Playing Beatie Bow

By Ruth Park,

Book cover of Playing Beatie Bow

Robert Shaw Author Of Girlfriend Trouble

From the list on to grab your emotions and not let go.

Who am I?

What can better give expertise on the books one loves than decades of reading? I’ve always had a passion for sympathetic, strong characters, especially women. At the core of all my novels, readers will find a sympathetic and strong heroine. In Girlfriend Trouble, Lian is the catalyst that changes the lives of everyone around her for the better; or, more precisely, Lian’s compassion, wisdom, and serene nature are what change things. I’m probably too idealistic, but it’s better than being a cynic. There’s an element of this in all the books I’ve recommended, and those I’ve written. I like to think there’s more of it in the real world too.

Robert's book list on to grab your emotions and not let go

Why did Robert love this book?

Like with my first recommendation, I feel that this book appeals to a desire for adventure that we all had as kids. Who didn’t dream of Time Travel adventures as a kid? And again, as an adult, I have of course come to realize that I’d not last a day if I were to fall into this sort of adventure – and although time travel is supposedly possible, albeit only as a one-way journey due to the nature of time-dilation, the undertaking of such a journey, and the physical aspects of what is involved, I’d never want to do it now. Of course, in Playing Beatie Bow, Abigail’s time travel method is very simple (and impossible), but the trouble she gets into in the past is complicated, complex, and dangerous. The book’s dual settings might not appeal to young readers of today, but its lessons about learning to live…

By Ruth Park,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Playing Beatie Bow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Disturbed that her mother could welcome back her unfaithful father, Abigail Kirk undergoes a mysterious voyage to nineteenth-century Australia, where her experiences help her to understand the power of love and to accept her father

Something Deeply Hidden

By Sean Carroll,

Book cover of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

William Egginton Author Of The Rigor of Angels: Borges, Heisenberg, Kant, and the Ultimate Nature of Reality

From the list on the ultimate nature of reality.

Who am I?

I am a professor of humanities at Johns Hopkins and have spent my career thinking, teaching, and writing about the relations between literature, philosophy, and science. Many years ago I started out thinking I would be a scientist, but then got pulled into literature and philosophy. Still, that original passion never left me. As I studied and read the great authors and thinkers from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages to the modern era, the big, fundamental questions of our place in the universe and the ultimate nature of reality seemed as pertinent to poets and philosophers as it is to physicists and cosmologists. 

William's book list on the ultimate nature of reality

Why did William love this book?

Sean Carroll has a special knack for explaining complicated stuff, and there a few things more complicated than comparing and contrasting the various competing interpretations of quantum mechanics.

Carroll has a horse in this race—the many worlds interpretation—and he’s not shy about making his case, which is in part why the book is so entertaining. A spirited polemicist, Carroll knows his chosen theory has many detractors, but he’s more than ready to debate. As a bonus his writing is as personable and witty as his explanations are clear.

By Sean Carroll,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Royal Society Winton Prize winner

'An authoritative and beautifully written account of the quest to understand quantum theory and the origin of space and time.' Professor Brian Cox

Quantum physics is not mystifying. The implications are mind-bending, and not yet fully understood, but this revolutionary theory is truly illuminating. It stands as the best explanation of the fundamental nature of our world.

Spanning the history of quantum discoveries, from Einstein and Bohr to the present day, Something Deeply Hidden is the essential guide to the most intriguing subject in science. Acclaimed physicist and writer Sean Carroll debunks the…

The Collapsing Empire

By John Scalzi,

Book cover of The Collapsing Empire

Dan Moren Author Of The Nova Incident

From the list on sci-fi overflowing with intrigue and mystery.

Who am I?

Growing up I devoured science-fiction and spy stories by the boatload—the only person I wanted to be more than James Bond was probably Han Solo. Of course, I couldn’t really become either of them, but I always knew the next best thing would be telling stories about those kinds of characters. Ultimately, I couldn’t decide whether to focus on space adventures or spies, so the only real answer was to smash those two genres together. Five years and four novels later, the world of the Galactic Cold War is humming along quite nicely. But I’m still always on the lookout for the next great sci-fi spy novel.

Dan's book list on sci-fi overflowing with intrigue and mystery

Why did Dan love this book?

I love a good space opera, and John Scalzi’s second to none in that department. In some ways, this book (and the two that follow it in The Interdependency series) remind me of the original Foundation, as an immense space empire under a new and untried leader struggles to come to terms with an imminent catastrophe that could bring it to its knees. I personally found the foul-mouthed and irreverent Lady Kiva Lagos a particular delight, as a force of nature that bulls her way through any obstacle. 

By John Scalzi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Collapsing Empire is an exciting space opera from John Scalzi, the first in the award-winning Interdependency series.

Does the biggest threat lie within?

In the far future, humanity has left Earth to create a glorious empire. Now this interstellar network of worlds faces disaster - but can three individuals save their people?

The empire's outposts are utterly dependent on each other for resources, a safeguard against war, and a way its rulers can exert control. This relies on extra-dimensional pathways between the stars, connecting worlds. But 'The Flow' is changing course, which could plunge every colony into fatal isolation.…

Book cover of Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

George Jreije Author Of Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria

From the list on diverse heroes in children’s fantasy.

Who am I?

I’m an avid reader and writer of children’s literature, though I find it difficult to read anything that isn’t diverse these days. Being able to experience the world from the perspectives of other cultures is a true delight, and I learn something every time. After having read dozens of these diverse books, especially diverse fantasies, I find that nothing inspires my creative soul more. That’s why I’m able to speak on this topic for large conferences and schools, spreading this inspiration to others. And, as a published author of diverse children’s literature, I’ve done the same in my writing with praise from Kirkus, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and many others.

George's book list on diverse heroes in children’s fantasy

Why did George love this book?

Sal Vidon just misses his mom.

It’s a timeless story of a kid healing, but with a twist where Sal can pull things out of alternate dimensions.

He navigates the weirdness of his abilities with a grace and humor that is as refreshing as it is endearing. It’s hard not to root for this troublemaker with a heart of gold.

Not to mention, the book has a seriously great main character counterpart to Sal in Gabi Real. 

By Carlos Hernandez,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sal and Gabi Break the Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents a brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence by Carlos Hernandez, winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Award.

"I love this book in every possible universe! With a surprise on every page and two of the most cosmically awesome, vividly unique heroes I've ever read, this sweet, hilarious book made me so happy."--Tui T. Sutherland, author of the New York Times best-selling Wings of Fire series

What would you do if you had the power to reach through time and space and retrieve anything you want, including your mother, who is no longer living (in this…


By Richard McGuire,

Book cover of Here

George Wylesol Author Of 2120

From the list on graphic novels that reinvent the book (literally).

Who am I?

I’m an artist who likes to write, but I’ve never been interested in classic superhero or pulp graphic novels. Early in my career, the word “comics” felt like an insult—it's not “real art,” right? Too childish! While that instinct was definitely wrong, I found a (small) world of experimental, abstract, genre-breaking graphic novels that combine art and writing in a wholly unique way. This is a list of some of my recent favorites that have inspired my drawing and writing practice, and will hopefully inspire you. 

George's book list on graphic novels that reinvent the book (literally)

Why did George love this book?

This book is a great introduction to the “not-Marvel-or-DC” branch of graphic novels. Using nonlinear, overlapping panels, Here tells the story of a single point in space throughout the history of time. It flips from a midcentury living room to a primordial swamp, to a 23rd-century history exhibit, and everywhere in between. 

Of course, the real story of any space is the lives of the people and animals that inhabit it. Through the fragments of conversation and clips of action in Here, you’ll start thinking about the fleeting beauty and heartbreak that exist, existed, and will continue to exist on your own here.

By Richard McGuire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From one of the great comic innovators, the long-awaited fulfillment of a pioneering comic vision. Richard McGuire’s Here is the story of a corner of a room and of the events that have occurred in that space over the course of hundreds of thousands of years.

"In Here McGuire has introduced a third dimension to the flat page. He can poke holes in the space-time continuum simply by imposing frames that act as trans­temporal windows into the larger frame that stands for the provisional now. Here is the ­comic-book equivalent of a scientific breakthrough. It is also a lovely evocation…

Time Out of Joint

By Philip K. Dick,

Book cover of Time Out of Joint

Jesse Karp Author Of Those That Wake

From the list on a world under secret control.

Who am I?

I grew up in the 1970s, still in contention for America’s most paranoid decade (thanks, Watergate). Practically everything I watched, listened to or read (right down to my beloved superhero comics) was asking, what’s hiding behind the world around you? I don’t think of myself as a paranoid guy – I don’t, for instance, believe in a real life Deep State – but these are the sorts of stories that resonate for me. Taken less literally, they do ask worthwhile and still disturbingly relevant questions: what is beneath the world you know and see every day? What is right in front of you, both good and bad, that you aren’t seeing?

Jesse's book list on a world under secret control

Why did Jesse love this book?

Suburbanite Ragle Gumm is overcome with a sense of urgency to play a bizarre newspaper game every day. He’s so good at it, he makes a living from its cash prizes. But lately, his world seems to be fraying around him. Things he sees and knows are suddenly...not. And if you can’t trust the very ground you’re standing on, what’s left? This takes the whole “maybe my world isn’t what I think it is” idea about as far as it can go, and it was just about the first story to ever do that. The best, most satisfying book I ever read about a banal, mundane world that turns out to be anything but.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ragle Gumm is an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, except that he makes his living by entering a newspaper contest every day - and winning, every day.

But he gradually begins to suspect that his life - indeed his whole world - is an illusion, constructed around him for the express purpose of keeping him docile and happy. But if that is the case, what is his real world like, and what is he actually doing every day when he thinks he is guessing 'Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?'

Tom's Midnight Garden

By Philippa Pearce, Jaime Zollars (illustrator),

Book cover of Tom's Midnight Garden

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Author Of The Seeing Garden

From the list on gardens as places of discovery and change.

Who am I?

When I was growing up, my mother loved to garden. I remember visiting the nursery with her and being captivated by all the rows of flowers with the gorgeous names: marigolds, cosmos, dahlias, fuchsias. Now I have a garden of my own, and it’s my happy place. It adds color and fragrance to my life, and it keeps me grounded (literally and figuratively) when things are stressful. And as a writer, I find that story ideas often come to me when I’m working in the garden. It’s a constant source of inspiration and delight.       

Ginny's book list on gardens as places of discovery and change

Why did Ginny love this book?

When I was a child, I was captivated by this 1958 English novel. It’s every bit as good forty years later. 

Tom, a bored boy spending the summer with his aunt and uncle, finds a rambling Victorian garden in the backyard of the house… but the garden is only there at night, gone during the day.

It’s a gripping time-travel story, one that celebrates the garden as a place where a child can stretch both limbs and mind. And through Tom’s friendship with a Victorian girl named Hatty, the novel touches beautifully upon the ache that comes from seeing your friends grow up before you do. 

The novel’s fantastical elements are handled (and, ultimately, explained) in a totally satisfying way. It’s an enchanting read.

By Philippa Pearce, Jaime Zollars (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Tom's Midnight Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Carnegie Medal

From beloved author Philippa Pearce, this sixtieth-anniversary edition is the perfect way to share this transcendent story of friendship with a new generation of readers. Philip Pullman, bestselling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, called Tom's Midnight Garden "A perfect book."

When Tom's brother gets sick, he's shipped off to spend what he's sure will be a boring summer with his aunt and uncle in the country. But then Tom hears the old grandfather clock in the hall chime thirteen times, and he's transported back to an old garden where he meets a young,…