Knowledge Is Golden: Non-Fiction Books Everyone Should Read (Part 2)

Happy Election Day! Thank you for exercising your right to vote! And Happy Non-Fiction November. I love to read Non-Fiction books whenever I can (which is not as often as I’d like). I know not everyone does, but I’m here to recommend a few books that I think everyone can enjoy and learn something from! Back in July I posted Part 1 of some of my favorite recent Non-Fiction reads. I hope you’ll check that out too! Here’s Part 2…

The End of Everything, Dr. Katie Mack

Written by astrophysicist, Dr. Katie Mack, The End of Everything is a simplified look at the five different ways the universe could end, and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important concepts in physics. This was not only easy to read but fascinating!

We know the universe had a beginning. With the Big Bang, it went from a state of unimaginable density to an all-encompassing cosmic fireball to a simmering fluid of matter and energy, laying down the seeds for everything from dark matter to black holes to one rocky planet orbiting a star near the edge of a spiral galaxy that happened to develop life. But what happens at the end of the story? In billions of years, humanity could still exist in some unrecognizable form, venturing out to distant space, finding new homes and building new civilizations. But the death of the universe is final. What might such a cataclysm look like? And what does it mean for us?

Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem, Bill Nye

This is part memoir, part guidebook on how to become the change you want to see in the world. In between telling the reader how he found his way into the world of science and problem solving, Bill Nye inserts real world ideas for taking action on some of the world’s biggest problems. This was such a fun read and motivating all at the same time.

With his signature humor and storytelling, Bill shares how he has developed specific techniques for what he calls the “everything all at once” lifestyle, from his childhood scouting adventures and his career at aerospace companies to the development of his famous Science Guy television show. This approach requires the nerd mindset: a way of thinking that leaves no stone unturned. It’s about learning to solve problems through exploration, trial and error, and sheer creativity. Problem solving is a skill that anyone can harness to create lasting, positive change.

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, Carol Anderson

An important historical chronical that also seeks to reframe the conversation around race. I learned so much from this book. It’s a powerful look at the term ‘white rage’ and how it has infiltrated everything from our court system to our schools and how so many people are quick to ignore it because it silently destroys forward progression.

Carefully linking historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert

Kolbert won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 with this incredibly informative look at the five mass extinctions that our planet has experienced over the last 500 million years, as well as the sixth extinction which she says the world is experiencing right now. This book blew my mind. I could not put it down. It’s detailed and chock full of information that had me wanting to study even more into the history of extinction and now, future conservation efforts.

Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, The New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

This is a remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning for ages 12 and up. I read this version because it was the first I could get from my library holds. It’s extremely accessible and appropriate for teens. It’s eye-opening, educational, and just brilliant. Highly recommend. Also- the narration on this one is great too if you prefer audiobooks. Jason Reynolds is such a great narrator. Can’t say enough good things about this book.

Stamped takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative, Jason Reynolds shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

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