20 must-read books for geeks this summer

A new reading list to get started into the world of geekdom

Once you've read this collection of books, you'll surely become the serious, smart geek you're meant to be.

If you’re looking to expand your geekdom horizons and find something new to sink your reading teeth into, here are 20 books for geeks (in no particular order) to add to your to-read list.

The Guns Above (by Robyn Bennis)

The Guns Above takes place in an intriguing steampunk world that mirrors our many prejudices regarding women, but the army’s manpower shortage has allowed women to serve as auxiliary officers, though never above the rank of junior lieutenant. However, one such officer Josette Dupre breaks this rule and becomes the Corps’ first female airship captain, and then has to contend with the challenges that come with it.

This book is simply bursting with fun, instilling riveting military action and compelling characters with a wry sense of humour that comes as a breath of fresh air. At the same time, The Guns Above doesn’t shy away from the realities of war, and also deals with heavier issues such as imperialism and sexism. After such an incredible debut, you’ll be left waiting in anticipation for whatever Robyn Bennis does next.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland)​

Having previously collaborated on the inventive historical adventure epic The Mongoliad, Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland team up once more to produce this madcap tale that combines history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure.

Set in the near future, Melisandre Stokes, a linguistics and language expert, is approached by the military to translate some old documents. The story then spirals off into a time travel thriller stuffed with mad science, magic, steampunk, and colourful characters.

Sci-fi enthusiasts are no stranger to Stephenson’s contributions to the genre. Likewise, fans of Nicole Galland’s historical fiction novels will recognise her down-to-earth warmth and humor infused in the storytelling.

The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day (by James Kakalios)

Forget what people say, learning is cool. And The Physics of Everyday Things will have plenty to teach you.

Professor of physics at the University of Minnesota James Kakalios mixes narrative storytelling and simple, straightforward science writing to deliver a book explaining the various inner workings of everyday objects around us.

From refrigerators and LED TVs to X-rays and MRI machines, this book eschews the use of heavy jargon so that readers across many ages can still find the concepts relatively easy to understand. When you’re done, you can wow your friends the next time you meet them for drinks with your knowledge of how credit cards work.

Beren and Lúthien (by J.R.R. Tolkien)

Tolkien’s estate has been steadily releasing numerous new material from his papers, and Beren and Lúthien, one of the earliest stories in his Middle Earth series, is the latest to come from that.

Beren and Lúthien will return fans to the lavish world of elves and men, chronicling the romantic adventure of mortal man Beren and the immortal elf-maiden Lúthien, presented as a continuous and standalone story for the first time.

The story is also based loosely on Tolkien’s own relationship with his wife Edith, giving you insight into the man’s more romantic side, and exposing you to the wonders and the tribulations he faced in the name of love.