The Bastard Brigade – Sam Kean, 2019
Despite being released in mid-2019, this book makes my favorites list for 2020 because that’s really when I got around to reading it. You’ll have absolutely no problems finding at least one story from this collection that will stick with you forever. Whether it’s the love of the Curie family, the sorrows the Kennedy’s faced, or that amazing feat of skiing/sabotage that the allies used in destroying a heavy water manufacturing facility – this book has the most intense science stories that you’ve never heard of.
I actually wrote the author of The Bastard Brigade to thank him. Looking back, I had a history teacher once tell me historical non-fiction could be way more entertaining and exciting than fiction ever could be, and I wanted to thank the author for writing the first book I have read that might make me think he had a point.
Letters from an Astrophysicist, Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, 2017
I was a little unsure of this one when I picked it up. Mostly, it seemed like this was a cheap way for Dr. Tyson to make a quick buck, shelling out correspondances. What I found instead was a rich repository of interesting questions from the general public – some were unconventional, perhaps even “crazy”, but Dr. Tyson always responds in a manner which always made me feel he respects and understands his fans, even if their questions or responses were less than polite.
I have never met or written Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, nor will I probably ever get the chance to meet him. Even given this distance, his unrelenting search for and obsession with the truth of things is what I admire about him. He makes me want to teach in the same way he teaches – with the end goal being not to change the life of your audience, but to illuminate the means by which the audience can change their way of thinking, and in turn allow themselves to better their lives.
I spent the better part of 2020 working for a coding sweatshop – I seriously didn’t have the mental energy after work for anything more than reading a few news articles then going for a workout. I listened to a lot of podcasts:
- Science Friday
- Star Talk
- Science Rules
- The Laracasts Snippet
Even with the podcasts, I wasn’t absorbing the amount of extra information that I’m used to, so in 2021 I’m definitely making it a point to put aside at least one hour, 4 days a week, to make progress in reading. I’ll be listening to podcasts for sure, but for the most part I plan on moving back to traditional literature for 2021.