What the PopSci folks are reading right now

The books on our end-of-summer reading list.

I never know what to read, so I asked my coworkers. Then I wrote it down here. Here is what the PopSci editors and writers are reading when we are away from our desks.

The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn Amazon

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The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn is like Hercule Poirot on Mars. Well, sort of. Maybe. It’s your classic locked-room mystery. But, also something else entirely.” —Tom McNamara

The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn by Arkady Strugatsky & Boris Strugatsky. Amazon; $16.

Dragonlance Chronicles Amazon

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“I’m reading the Dragonlance Chronicles again for the first time since I was a kid—Game of Thrones got me amped for some old-school dragons. It’s one of the best classical fantasy series ever. This is book one of a four-book run that’s tied to the seasons.” —Stan Horaczek

Dragonlance Chronicles by Peter Stark. Amazon; $32.

Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival Amazon

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“This summer, I spent time at the spot where this book takes place—and with all the wildfires hitting the area, this book stays on my mind.” —Thom Payne

Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman. Amazon; $8.

Meet Me in the Bathroom Amazon

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“I’ve been hearing nonstop that the next book I’ve got to read is Meet Me in the Bathroom. I played in a band in NYC in this era and can’t wait to see what kind of memories this resurfaces. I loved this period for music.” —Billy Cadden

Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman. Amazon; $18.

Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby Amazon

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“I hate sports. So when I went to my first roller derby bout, I didn’t expect to be more then a spectator. Several months and several hundred bucks in skating gear later, I’m in training (and in love). This book is an awesome primer for someone with a passing interest in the sport, and a great guide if you’re serious about learning how to play. And if you’re like, what is derby, please stop whatever you’re doing and read up on the greatest sport in the history of sports.” —Rachel Feltman

“I brought this on a trip this summer thinking it would make good plane reading. I could not stop. I read it on the Danube. I read it on the roof of our hotel. I read it at the beach. I took notes. I highlighted. I became very fired up. It turned out to be great vacation reading. Maybe too great.” —Amy Schellenbaum

Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby by Margot Atwell. Amazon; $17.

Are You Anybody? Amazon

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“A few weeks ago, I finished Jeffrey Tambor’s memoir Are You Anybody? and I haven’t stopped recommending it to friends and family since. I know Tambor from his roles in Arrested Development and Transparent, but learning more about him as a person made me admire him in a whole new light. Tambor writes of the ups and downs of his life with warmth, humor (both light and dark), and a tone that made this book nearly impossible for me to close.” —Jason Lederman

Are You Anybody? by Jeffrey Tambor. Amazon; $19.

Rich People Problems Amazon

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Rich People Problems is the final book in a hilarious satire trilogy about the lives of one insanely rich Singaporean family. (By the way they’re making the first book, [Crazy Rich Asians], into a movie!) I’ve been with the trilogy from the beginning; the look at high society reminds me a lot of Jane Austen’s tales, but these are funnier.” —Mallory Johns

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan. Amazon; $20.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Amazon

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“Author Yuval Noah Harari explores what it means to be human by looking at the evolution of writing, farming, and other touchstones that set modern Homo sapiens apart from our animal kin. The book is equal parts fascinating and disturbing. It makes it clear that we sapiens have a way of destroying everything in our path. As someone really into sci-fi it’s hard not to read Sapiens and realize that the alien invaders that are so popular in a certain type of fiction are really us.” —Kendra Pierre-Louis

[Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind) by Yuval Noah Harari. Amazon; $17.

The Stone Sky Amazon

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“This is the third book in NK Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy. It’s got magic, apocalypses, and a whole lot of geology, and I love it.” —Mary Beth Griggs

“In this sci-fi/fantasy universe, cataclysmic seismic events regularly destroy civilization. Certain humans, called orogenes, can control their world’s volatile geology—but their powers make them feared and hated. After following the powerful orogene Essun and her daughter Nassun through the first two books in this trilogy, I finally get to find out whether they will end up saving the world or destroying it.” —Sophie Bushwick

The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin. Amazon; $12.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Amazon

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“I’m reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn because when I was trying to decide which classic to read, everyone I mentioned this book to said “ohhh, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn! I love that book!”” —Sara Chodosh

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Amazon; $11.

Washington: A Life Amazon

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“I’ve decided to read a biography on all our presidents, and I figured I’d start with the first. I’m guessing it will take me a decade to get through them all.” —Mike Moreno

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. Amazon; $17.

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Billy Cadden
Billy Cadden

Billy Cadden is the Director of Commerce for the Camden Media tech group. He was part of NYC indie rock band The Postelles, and currently releases solo music under his name. His latest work is available on all streaming platforms. Contact the author here.