What Cosmos readers are reading


We asked readers to nominate their favourite science books. Here are some of the responses.


The best thing about holidays is having time to read a good book.
The best thing about holidays is having time to read a good book.
E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Rough-Hewn Land, by Keith Meldahl

University of California Press, 2011



This book provides one of the clearest descriptions I've seen of the geological processes that produced the western United States from the California coast through the Great Basin to the Rocky Mountains. The written descriptions are accessible to even a non-specialist, and the accompanying diagrams and illustrations are some of the best I've seen.

Randy Sprague, Woodland, California


Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery, by John Imbrie and Katherine Palmer Imbrie

Harvard University Press, 1986



It's a wonderful story about discovery, dedicated people and the progress of mankind. Many scientific disciplines and scientists mixed together in the search for a solution to the ice-age mystery. Just imagine what was going on in their heads. They had no reference, no earlier experience, nothing to guide them or help them in their search for the answer. The language in the book is easy to read, even if you are not a scholar.

Stefan, Alingsas, Sweden


The Emperor of All Maladies, by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Scribner, 2010



This is a highly accessible and engaging history of our epic and ongoing battle with cancer. While covering the high level political and historical developments, the science is also clearly explained as scientists gradually uncover how cancer works. The author is a practicing oncologist; he weaves stories from his own patients into the book, which ultimately gives the book a personal and moving conclusion.

Peter, Melbourne, Victoria


Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity, by Carlo Rovelli

Penguin, 2014



This book could change everything or a Grand Unified Theory. Quantum Gravity is paradigm changer! Who would have thought space is not empty at all, as Carlo’s book has proposed.

Nicholas, Australia


The Hidden Life of Trees - What They Feel, How They Communicate, by Peter Wohlleben

Black Inc, 2015



The author opened my eyes to the world beneath my feet and I was fascinated by how complex trees and forests really are. They actually are distinct communities that interact socially providing for their young, competing with their neighbours, and caring for their elderly in ways I never could have imagined. I will never be able to view the world in the same way I did before reading this book - it is like I have discovered an entire universe that was literally hidden in plain sight.

Lori, Sacramento, California


The Emperor's New Mind, by Roger Penrose

Oxford University Press, 1989



This book can be read over and over again. One learns new things and expands one’s knowledge in down to earth language that everyone can understand. Never gets old.

Kozik, Raleigh, North Carolina


On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin

John Murray, 1859



The book was revolutionary for the era. It completely changed mankind's view on being human and planted the seeds of atheism among modern scientists. Charles Darwin was despised by the church and polite society as a result. A good struggle with mainstream society is a must for a good science book. This book checked all the boxes.

Pranil, Melbourne, Victoria


The Human Brain: Its Capacities and Functions, by Isaac Asimov

Penguin, 1963



Was my first love and still is.

Norman, Rochester, New York

Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
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