2020 Summer Reading List (science and engineering library staff picks)
It's summer time, there's a pandemic, and we are social distancing. Has there ever been a better time to fall into the pages of a good book? I don't think so! Grab an ice-cold beverage, find a sunny spot (at least six feet away from any other readers), and dive into one of these staff picks from the Li and Ma Science Library and the Terman Engineering Library.
Science fiction, novels, poems, comics
Brown Girl in the Ring
by Nalo Hopkinson
"Magical. Stirring. Caribbean folklore meets speculative fiction. The wealthy have fled Toronto for the suburbs, leaving behind an isolated city. New mom, Ti-Jeanne turns to spiritualism to defend herself and her family from being preyed on in the city."
Alexandra Krogman, Engineering Librarian, Digital Services and Projects
Life on Mars
by Tracy K. Smith
"Tracy K. Smith’s poetic voice is exquisite in her Pulitzer Prize winner, Life on Mars. With eloquence, Smith explores the universe, space, and sci-fi in this beautiful elegy to her late father, an engineer who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope."
Amy Clark, Library Specialist, Terman Engineering Library
Out of the Silent Planet
Book one of The Space Trilogy
by C.S. Lewis
"For something a bit different, with inspiration from H.G. Wells and Tolkien, C.S. Lewis published a science fiction series named The Space Trilogy before many of his famous works. Out of the Silent Planet is the first, shortest, and easiest book."
Zac Painter, Engineering Librarian, Research and Teaching Support
Parable of the Sower
by Octavia E. Butler
"First in a two book series. Stark, grim, honest, yet propelled by hope. Its ideas around change take hold and linger: Change is inevitable - and perpetual. It shapes us, but, importantly, we too shape it."
Rebecca Wedl, Library Specialist, Li and Ma Science Library
by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples
"An epic comic series set in space. Beautifully illustrated and imaginative, but definitely not suitable for all ages. Follows a small family of would-be enemies brought together by an unexpected baby."
(Déjà vu? I'm on here twice. What can I say? We needed a fifth sci-fi book.)
Popular science, history, present-day, future
Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carreyrou
"It is really incomprehensible how a college drop-out convinced high profile, intelligent people, to believe her lies, deceived investors, and made herself a billionaire. Got goosebumps all over when I read this book."
Aparna Sharma, Operations Manager, Li and Ma Science Library
The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
by Kate Moore
"The 1920s were all a glow, with radium painted lips that is. If you like scandal this book has it. In a literal fight to the death for employee rights, the Radium Girls were key players in the development of health, physics, and labor safety standards."
Christina Flores-Herrera, Evening Supervisor, Li and Ma Science Library
The Return of Race Science
by Angela Saini
"Our Popular Science Book Club summer reading pick, Superior examines the disturbing and enduring belief in biological racial differences that impacts research and scientific advancement. Join our club for a discussion of the book in parts."
Popular Science Book Club
Weapons of Math Destruction
How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
by Cathy O'Neil
"Weapons of Math Destruction exposes abuse of aggregated data amassed from nefariously designed algorithms. Terrific writing, real life examples, including the bad data behind Broken Windows Policing. Cathy O'Neil is authority on the subject."
Leah Strauss, Library Specialist, Terman Engineering Library
The World Without Us
by Alan Weisman
"What would happen to Earth if humans suddenly disappeared? More speculative than depressing, this book presents scenarios from all over the world. Plants taking over cities is obvious, but what if we stopped pumping water out of New York subways."
Linnea Shieh, Engineering Librarian, Data and Collections