The Universe in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard


Originally published in: 2015

What it’s about: Galfard, protégé to renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, takes readers on a journey through space to broaden their understanding.

What made me pick it up: I saw my coworker checking out the audio CDs from the library and I loved the font on the cover and then I saw the word universe and got my Google on. Another book about astrophysics? Yes please!

My favorite part: Galfard brings together imagination and analogy to help readers visualize complex astrophysical concepts. It also contains a fair bit of humor. I just love all the different books about these concepts and gobble them up. This one definitely had me texting friends things like “part of space is opaque” when I read interesting new tidbits. I still can’t totally explain string theory to dinner party guests but this book was fun and I’m recommending it to everyone.

Who it’s great for: Space nerds. Science geeks. People like me who have wandered into an astrophysics book bunny trail and want to keep going.

Erica’s rating: four-shells

Find this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


Reality is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli


Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: Physics. Historical developments, current view, and future speculations.

What made me pick it up: I’m a bit of a physics reading bender right now. I had read and enjoyed Rovelli’s previous book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, so when I saw this was coming out I placed a hold.

My favorite things: This book has a great audio reader, which makes it all the more accessible. I enjoy this author’s books because I come away actually knowing and understanding more about physics. Both the history of the science and discoveries in it but also current concepts and research. It can be a little mind bending but the way concepts are explained makes sense and it makes it more acceptable that time doesn’t exist.

Who it’s great for: Citizen scientists. Anyone who wants interesting facts to share at dinner parties. The generally curious.

Erica’s rating: four-shells

Get Seven Brief Lessons On Physics and Reality Is Not What It Seems on Amazon (affiliate links) or at your local library.


Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski


Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: This book tackles the ‘physics of everyday life’ by using small-scale examples (like why teacups slosh) to illustrate large-scale themes.

What made me pick it up: I had read Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and was waiting for the next book by that author when I saw this, so I placed a hold.

My favorite things: First off, this audio reader is excellent. Who knew a cheery British accent would make learning physics fun? She explains concepts in very easy to understand ways and relates them to common occurrences like getting a static electric shock so you understand the principles. She also drops a lot of fun experiments into the text anecdotally that you might want to try. (The raisin one is quite fun and you might already have the supplies).

Who it’s great for: Anyone interested in physics or science or learning more about our world. Teachers or librarians or parents looking for some fun STEM program/project ideas.

Erica’s rating: four-shells

Find Storm in a Teacup or Seven Brief Lessons on Physics at Amazon (affiliate links) or your local library.