What I Happen to Be Reading At the Moment

"A thirteen-year-old is a kaleidoscope of different personalities, if not in most ways a mere figment of her own imagination. At that age, what and who you are depends largely on what book you happen to be reading at the moment.”

 

While not 13 anymore, the desire to read almost anything and everything in order to read for fun and for experience is still around. I'm currently working on my PhD in a physical science, but I love to read and books are one of my non-science hobbies.

The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy (Series of Books in Astronomy) - Frank H. Shu Frank Shu's introductory textbook The Physical Universe is an impressive overview of the field of astronomy. While sufficiently technical for an fairly advanced undergraduate (the physics review chapters are very useful), Shu is careful to keep astronomical concepts in context. He uses the history of astronomy as well as the importance of basic research in his end of chapter "why does this matter?" paragraphs to put these issues into a broader understanding of science. His final chapters about life in the universe start from a biochemical perspective and is one of the best treatments of biology I've read by an astrophysicist. The one disappointing aspect of this textbook is that it has not been updated since it was first published in the 1980's. Many of the cutting edge problems in astrophysics, like the solar neutrino problem, presented here have already been solved, and dark energy/matter was not known at the time of writing. Shu's explanations of astrophysical principles and descriptions are intuitive and reminiscent of Richard Feynman's explanations of physics, and The Physical Universe is a great intro textbook that could be significantly better with an update.

Currently reading

Native Son
Richard Wright
The Great Glass Sea
Josh Weil
The Elder Edda
Anonymous, Andrew Orchard