Yep, it’s that time of year again for many of us. Break out the pencils, way too expensive (and heavy) text books, and get ready to take some notes, because once again the school year is upon us.
If you’re looking to show off just how much of a nerd you are (and let’s get real, sometimes it’s fun to be a little over the top when it comes to bookish nerdery), these books will help get you off to the right start. All links lead to their book reviews, unless I haven’t reviewed the book on here, then the link will take you to the Goodreads page.
The Martian (Andy Weir): I know, I know! I can hear you now: “Anna, how many lists can you put this book on?” and the answer is a lot. But honestly, as much as I loved this book, it’s hard to keep up with at times! The spot on science challenges the best of us. You’ll learn a lot reading it (especially about potatoes) and have a great conversation starter to boot.
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune (Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell Jr.): I never reviewed this for the blog, but this is one of my favorite non-fiction books. I really wish that it was more widely read. It’s about Hugette Clark and her family. How her family got so much money, how they spent it, and how that impacted American society. I learned so much from this book and my country by reading it. It covers an incredible amount of time too. It’s not as long as you’d think, but well worth the read. Again, another way to start off a really interesting conversation, but also a way to learn what many US history classes have overlooked.
The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien): Now I’m not talking about the first book (which isn’t called LotR anyway). I’m talking about the version that Tolkien originally intended, all three books in one, a plethora of appendixes, and glorious maps all leading up to world building that helped re-define a genre for generations to come. One, it’s a much more cohesive read. The publishers broke the book into three to keep printing costs down making the end of the first two books rather jarring. Reading the book as intended makes a big difference. Two, if you loved the movies, you’ll get a new appreciation after reading. Thirdly, it’s cool to be able to see just how much influence this book has had, not just in the bookish world, but in the world outside of it too. But if all of that’s not cool enough, Tolkien created his own language for the elves from scratch. That alone is enough to solidify its place on my list of nerdy books.
Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World (Kathleen Ragan): This is such a cool collection of folktales. While it does lack diversity in stories from certain areas, overall it’s a strong and powerful collection. Each story comes with an introduction and each section is prefaced with a map so that you know the geographical location the stories come from. It’s a fantastic book to add to any personal library but is also a great nerd book thanks to the variety of stories and cultures it covers. After all, why have one story when you can have 100?
A Madness of Angels (Kate Griffin): Ok so this might not seem like your typical “screams nerd” book. But I really think that’s only because it doesn’t get enough love. The world building is amazing and I know my inner nerd delighted in the complex magic system and how everything so beautifully tied into the real world. It also is a book that makes you think. There’s a plethora of plot twists for one and secondly there’s a layered mystery as well. On top of all that, you also have to figure out just how reliable of a narrator Matthew Swift is. It’s a sophisticated book and I think it deserves a place on any urban fantasy lover’s shelf.