2017 Curiosity Gift Guide

10 of the Best Book Gifts for 2017

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The Curiosity team is packed with avid readers. We read scientific articles and research papers to get ideas for our stories, we listen to audiobooks at the gym, we stare at graffiti in the bathroom, and we curl up with a good novel at night. So if you want to add to your library this holiday season, take our advice.

1. A Sci-Fi Thriller in Multiple Universes: "Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch

I'm not a big sci-fi fan. In fact, I'm probably the only person at Curiosity who doesn't catch the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" references constantly flying around. The New York Times bestseller "Dark Matter" by Black Crouch, which came out earlier this year, is my kind of sci-fi. It's realistic, set in present-day, and relies on logical scientific possibilities, not far-out make-believe spaceships. If you're even slightly interested in the idea of infinite versions of yourself existing in alternate universes, read this book. – Joanie Faletto

2. A Fix For Social Conflict: "The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt

I've referenced this book on the Curiosity Podcast, and it continues to be one of the most eye-opening books I've ever read. "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt answers the questions on everyone's mind these days: why do people disagree so violently, why don't facts seem to make any difference, and why can't we all just get along? The book is very accessible and incorporates a lot of case studies from research studies over the year, so among all the scientific findings, there's a narrative flow like you might find in a book like "The Devil In The White City" (which, by the way, is another great read). If you've ever wondered why you can't win an argument using facts, or why two smart people can have opinions that are completely at odds, then this is the book for you. - Cody Gough

3. Coloring For Grownups: "Secret Garden" by Johana Basford

Who says you have to be a kid to enjoy coloring? After staring at a screen all day, I'd argue that I need colored pencils more than my niece. Enter the adult coloring book "Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure." The super intricate designs take me away from the stress of work way better than any bubble bath could, and gives me something pretty to hang on my fridge to boot. Plus, at $12 or less, coloring books make the perfect gift for everyone from a stocking stuffer to the office secret Santa. – Mandy Gresh

4. Epic Fantasy For Everyone: "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss

I don't know if you're a fan of fantasy or not. Doesn't matter. "The Name of the Wind," the first book in Patrick Rothfuss's epic trilogy "The Kingkiller Chronicles," is a book for everybody. Does it have magic, and fairies, and dragons? Yeah, okay, it does (we'll say "sort of" on the dragons bit). But more than that, it's got exactly what growing up feels like. It's got that feeling you get when you are doing everything right. It's got that feeling of doing everything right and everything going wrong anyway. It's got stories nested in stories nested in stories. It's everything it is to be a human being, plus some magic and a demonic invasion. – Reuben Westmaas

5. A Celebration of Creativity: "Out of Our Minds" by Ken Robinson

I was blown away by Ken Robinson's TED talk about how schools are killing creativity. He believes that most of us were built for greater callings than what we end up doing to make money. Schools are great at forging us into worker bees, but they're not so good at helping us develop our inner geniuses. That's why my pick is Robinson's book, "Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative." In a 2010 study by IBM researchers, the world's top business and private sector leaders were asked to name the most important leadership quality, and they all had the same reply: creativity. In his book, Robinson details how creative companies like Pixar are establishing an environment where ideas are king and rigid hierarchies are cast aside. I'm down for the revolution, that's why this book is calling my name. – Ben Bowman

6. An Illustrated Guide To Badass Women: "Women in Science" by Rachel Ignotofsky

I'm always pumped to learn about the amazing people history books forgot, so when I found out about Rachel Ignotofsky's book "Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World" I clicked that "order" button as fast as humanly possible. It's a beautifully illustrated book that gives you a fascinating summary of 50 different women from science history. You've probably heard of at least a few of them; Jane Goodall and Marie Curie are both in there. But I was amazed that there were so many I didn't know anything about, especially considering the huge contributions they made to their fields. The best thing about the book is that it's a great choice for all ages. Grownups and elementary-school readers alike will all get a kick out of the imagery — and learn a thing or two in the process. – Ashley Hamer

7. Prose To Sate Your Wanderlust: "The Cities Book" from Lonely Planet

We all know that person: when they're not curating a gorgeous Instagram full of images of their latest adventure, they're charting out their next trip. To keep them sane during that moment of downtime, we suggest giving them Lonely Planet's "The Cities Book: A Journey Through the Best Cities in the World." It's a massive, gorgeous coffee table book that includes more than 400 pages of jaw-dropping photos and in-depth profiles of locales from Abu Dhabi to Zanzibar. The book breaks down each city's history, people, strengths, weaknesses, and even the movies it's appeared in. Complete with a perfect day's itinerary, the best time of year to visit, and recommendations of what to eat, drink, do, watch, and buy, the book gives a thorough overview of hundreds of cities in a quick read. Best of all, you can snag this beauty for 20% off with the code 'CURIOSITY'.

8. Beautiful Fantasy Writing: Titus Groan

"Titus Groan" (Volume 1 of the Gormenghast Trilogy) is the best fantasy novel you've never heard of. Titus Groan is born the heir to Gormenghast castle, and finds himself in a world predetermined by complex rituals that have been made obscure by the passage of time. But the plot is secondary to the writing. Author Mervyn Peake's descriptions of the labyrinthine castle and its bizarre, mostly clueless inhabitants are vivid and poetic, with striking visual metaphors that will leave stimulate your imagination at all times. I loved George R.R. Martin's entire "A Song of Ice and Fire" series for its setting and characters, but Peake's strengths lie in the colorful writing that you really have to read to believe. The fantasy elements are minimal, so this is an excellent gift for anyone who enjoys fiction. – Cody Gough

9. Page-Turning Sci-Fi: "Artemis" by Andy Weir

Andy Weir is a rags-to-riches story: he was a computer programmer who wrote fiction on the side, which he published on his own website for years. That included the now-famous novel "The Martian," which first appeared on his website for free. His readers requested he put it on Kindle, which he eventually did, selling it for 99 cents. It hit the Kindle bestsellers list, and then the accolades came: a publishing contract, the New York Times bestseller list, a movie starring Matt Damon (and Kristen Wiig for some reason). When I read it, I could not put it down. It was all I could do to avoid scanning to the bottom of every page just to see what happened next. That's all to say that his new book, "Artemis," is out now. I know this futuristic thriller will be every bit as riveting and scientifically rigorous as "The Martian," and I can't wait to get my hands on it. – Ashley Hamer

10. Curiosity Reader Pick: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

As you've probably noticed, we make book recommendations to go along with many of our articles. One of our audience's all-time favorite Curiosity articles describes the Feynman Technique learning method, so it's no wonder that one of your all-time favorite book recommendations (we know, we see the clicks!) has been "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" by Richard Feynman himself. Feynman wasn't just a Nobel Prize-winning physicist; he was one of the biggest personalities in science history who had a legendary knack for describing complex scientific concepts in ways any Joe Schmo could understand. Also? He played the bongos. His autobiography is definitely one you'll want to check out. – Ashley Hamer

Written by Curiosity Staff November 22, 2017