Jenn and guest Kim Ukura discuss lots of nonfiction, including kid-friendly science audiobooks and body-positive memoirs, in this week’s episode of Get Booked.
1. I have been listening to science audio books with my son (7yo) who has really been enjoying them. So far we have listened to the Future of Humanity by Michio Kaku, Astrophysics For Young People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and we are currently listening to The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs. Anything else you can recommend? All the bonus points if it deals with robots, space, or is any way speculative.
2. Hello. I promise this isn’t just a word problem in disguise, although it sort of feels that way! I used to have a very long commute to work (over an hour each way), which I made more bearable by listening to non-fiction audiobooks. I now have a much, much shorter commute but miss listening to audiobooks. I use my local library’s app, which allows audiobooks to be checked out for two weeks. Since I’m listening for less than an hour a day, I often can’t finish the books that I borrow in time. Can you recommend some great non-fiction that is around 10 hours long? I really enjoy Oliver Sachs, Mary Roach, Michael Pollan, Bee Wilson, Bill Bryson, and Brene Brown and have already listened to everything by these authors that is available. My favorite topics are social science, psychology, the natural world, and food/cooking. I generally don’t enjoy celebrity memoirs, self-help, and am firmly disinterested in sports. Thank you so much for all of your awesome weekly recommendations-I’ve discovered so many new favorites because of your podcast!
3. Hello! I am writing to you in the hopes that you can point me in the right direction. I was recently surprised when I noticed two books on different topics I was reading started to converge. One book is Bregman’s “Humankind: A Hopeful History” and the other is McGonigal’s “The Joy of Movement”. Despite their apparently dissimilar topics (social psychology and exercise), somehow, these two books converged on the ideas that humans are built for connection and cooperation. And suddenly I know I need more of that. I want more of humans building relationships and working towards common goals. I’ve already read Smith’s “The Power of Meaning” and have Ter Kuile’s “The Power of Ritual” on hold at the library. What else can you recommend? Fiction and non-fiction are both OK. TIA.
4. I am 35 years old and single and have recently decided to explore the world of on-line dating…bad idea. No need for details of bad experience but it has created a need in me for a good female powered memoir preferably with focus on body image. I have read a lot of the popular ones already such as the beauty myth, body positive power, the body is not an apology, Men Explain Things to Me, and books by Lindy West, Roxane Gay, Samantha Irby, and Jes Baker. I also just purchased Body Talk and have been reading an essay every morning. Any help with finding a good female strong and feel good book would be greatly appreciated. I love your podcast and thank you!!
5. Hi, I always thought I was straight but recently I’ve been feeling more attraction towards women/enbys. I am in a long term relationship with a man whom I love and adore and don’t see that ending anytime soon. Basically, I’m struggling with my sexuality and have no good outlet to explore that now. Books have always been the thing I turn to when I’m trying to process important things. Please recommend adult books (preferably one fiction and one non-fiction) that center on wlw relationships and coming to terms with your sexuality. Bonus points for bi/pan rep or enby rep and bonus points for an older character (not a teen). I love contemporary and literary fiction but would be open to an sff. I have not been loving historical recently.
6. I’m a Computer Science teacher in Mexico City. I have been teaching high school students about the science behind the magic of technology for about fifteen years. Also, I’m an avid reader and I believe in the power of books in my students’ academic lives. I’m always looking for books about Computer Science or the history of computers to assign them as extra activities for my class (some students prefer reading books instead of coding, and that’s fine with me as long as they learn). Books in English are not a problem since, although we are a Spanish-speaking country, I work at a bilingual school and they understand English perfectly. We have read books like “The Code Book” by Simon Singh, “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage” a beautiful graphic novel by Sydney Padua, “Broad Band” by Claire L. Evans, “The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly, “The Second Machine Age” by Erik Brynjolfsson, “Code Girls” by Liza Mundy, “Zero Day” by Mark Russinovich, and “Life 3.0” by Max Tegmark. I would love to know if you have any recommendations my students and for me. Of course, there are extra points for books about women in tech and the power of diversity and inclusion, since we all need those messages every single day in our current world.
7. My mom has begun seeking therapy for chronic depression that I suspect has been with her for a while now. I’m glad she’s seeking professional help, but I also wanted to get her a book to help lift her up a bit. From what she’s confided in me, some of what is contributing to her depression is that a lot of her identity is tied up in feeling needed/useful as a mom. Now that both her daughters are grown, she thinks we don’t need her anymore (entirely untrue, of course) and that she’s not useful as a person. I’m wondering if there are any books out there about older women finding renewed sense of self or dealing with similar issues that she can see herself in. I’m hoping for something uplifting. She also has triggers around harm to children and sexual violence, so if those topics could be avoided, that would be great. Thanks!
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (Gulp, Spook, or Grunt)
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember by Annalee Newitz
Make it Scream, Make it Burn by Leslie Jamison (9 hours 3 minutes)
Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars by Kate Greene (6 hrs 7 min)
How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong
Northern Light by Kazim Ali (cw: discussion of suicide)
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen
#VeryFat #VeryBrave by Nicole Byer
The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg
The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite
Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao
Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams, (cw: attempted assault)