This is shaping up to be a strong year for literature. However, with so many exceptional titles on offer, how can you choose which to add to your “To Read” pile? In this article, we list the best books for geeks that everyone should read in 2019.
The Best Sci-Fi Books for Geeks of 2019
Being a geek doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy science fiction: you might just have a love of technology, Game of Thrones, or Princess Leia. Still, it’s a good indicator that you’ll like these books which speculate about what tomorrow may hold for mankind.
1. The Last
Jon Keller is staying at the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland when the world ends. Its occupants form an isolated community, scared of what lurks beyond the surrounding forest after nuclear war. Then a dead girl is found in the water tank on the roof and Jon becomes obsessed with finding the killer.
Hanna Jameson’s disturbing novel doesn’t go in the direction you think it will. It’s a thoughtful and poignant distortion of society that evokes The Walking Dead and Lord of the Flies. A hauntingly beautiful book.
Bee has committed a crime she doesn’t remember. Her cellmate, lover, and fellow telepath assures her that the labyrinthine caves of Colel-Cab are the only secure place for them. They’re drowned in darkness and every day is a struggle, but at least they can’t hurt anyone else.
Then Bee hears from another telepath, who undermines everything she thought was true.
Writer, Vylar Kaftan presents an ethereal, claustrophobic world in which to explore loneliness, trust, and anxiety. This novella won’t take you long to read but its twisting nature will stick with you much longer.
Children of Time won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award and gained universal acclaim. This sequel continues an epic narrative stretched across thousands of years by focussing on character over scope.
You don’t need to have read Children of Time to enjoy this follow-up, but you’ll be eager to pick up more from Adrian Tchaikovsky regardless.
They’re set in the same canon, so arachnophobes beware: Tchaikovsky has foreseen a future where humanity lives alongside giant spiders. Children of Ruin sees this coalition dealing with a terraforming mistake from homo sapiens’ history.
4. Broken Stars
Science fiction is about expanding horizons, so this is a perfect opportunity to discover literature that Western audiences aren’t familiar with.
This anthology title consists of 16 short stories, translated by Ken Liu after the popularity of 2016’s Invisible Planets. Their subgenres range from cyberpunk to space opera, demonstrating great scope and ambition. Liu concludes the book with three essays examining the effects of increased interest in Chinese sci-fi.
Roger and Dodger are twins, highly skilled in language and mathematics respectively. Between them, they could have power over all time and space. That’s certainly what their creator wants: to elevate them to god-like status. And that might be bad news for everyone else.
Middlegame is a challenging proposition, but Seanan McGuire’s beautiful writing style and ambitious concepts make for a truly affecting piece.
The Best Non-Fiction Books for Geeks of 2019
Perhaps you prefer science fact over science fiction. In which case we recommend these non-fiction books that will make you look at the world around you anew.
We’re at a crucial point in human history. Our planet is on the verge of devastation. David Wallace-Wells promises: “It is worse, much worse, than you think.”
This shocking book details how climate change will impact politics, technology, and more, if we don’t do something about it now. It’s an eye-opening and chilling book that should be read by everyone.
The security services are naturally shrouded in secrecy, by necessity. This, then, is a rare chance to learn more about life in the shadows.
Tom Marcus’ previous book, Soldier Spy marked the first time in MI5 history a surveillance officer revealed the horrifying truth about the War on Terror at ground-level. This fascinating sequel was similarly vetted and approved for publication by the service.
On the flip side, we can’t lose our liberty in favour of total security. The most notable work to question this balance is the dystopian 1984 (1949).
Dorian Lynskey’s tome looks at the cultural impact of the novel, finding how Orwell was influenced by earlier literature and his experiences in wartime Britain. 1984 is a perpetually relevant book, and this is your definitive guide to its formation.
It’s been 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, an ideal starting point for our explorations of the universe. We’ve all looked up at Earth’s only natural satellite and dreamed of taking that next step.
As we consider travelling to the dark side, Oliver Morton mulls over the importance of the moon. How has it shaped society? What were historical theories about its existence? And how can it be used for further ventures?
Cryptocurrency can be very confusing, and too many automatically link Bitcoin to scams like ransomware. But this book goes to demonstrate that there’s serious cash—real, physical cash!—to be made.
The Social Network (2010) was based on Ben Mezrich’s bestseller, The Accidental Billionaires (2009). Bitcoin Billionaires picks up the story of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the brothers left behind by Mark Zuckerberg. After their fight with Facebook’s founder, how did the pair redeem themselves and become the world’s first billionaires through cryptocurrency?
The Best Media Tie-In Books for Geeks of 2019
Novels that tie into shows and movies add extra dimensions to other mediums. They give writers the chance to expand on material through world-building, and readers to get to know characters and places better, increasing emotional connection.
Because of the familiar circumstances, they’re also a great way to get people reading.
Stranger Things stands out as one of the most-acclaimed Netflix Originals. The streaming service has been careful not to saturate the market, but audiences are nonetheless hungry for more.
This is the first tie-in novel from the show, and acts as a prequel featuring Eleven’s mother. Gwenda Bond perfectly emulates the tone of the series—exactly what tie-ins should do!
How did Thanos become a mass-murderer? Barry Lyga’s novel digs into the Mad Titan’s backstory, and fully explores the Marvel Cinematic Universe with visits to Asgard, Zen-Whoberi, and Xandar. Fans further learn more about the Black Order, the Kree, and the Chitauri, making for an essential purchase for those who loved the Infinity Saga.
The hardest choices require the strongest wills, but this shouldn’t be a hard choice at all: Pick up Titan Consumed because it’s an exemplary piece of tie-in literature.
The Fourth Doctor, actor, Tom Baker, worked on a screenplay with his co-stars, Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) and Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan) during filming breaks in the early 1970s. Sadly, Doctor Who Meets Scratchman never materialized due to funding issues.
Fortunately, Baker paired with James Goss to rework the idea as a novel, giving us one of the best Doctor Who books ever written. Tom obviously gets inside the Fourth Doctor’s head like no other. It’s dark, witty, and features a surprising (yet divisive) cameo.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) isn’t remembered as the strongest instalment in the franchise. But at least Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn and Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi shared great chemistry.
Claudia Gray nails their relationship in Master and Apprentice, which examines the conflicts between adhering to the Jedi Code and being practical in the “real” world. It could even make you view The Phantom Menace in a new light.
Star Trek: Discovery is reawakening interest in The Original Series. Once you’ve relived the adventures of Spock and co. on Netflix, you’ll be eager to learn how the USS Enterprise changed hands.
The Captain’s Oath tells how James T. Kirk earned the right to take over from Christopher Pike. Christopher L. Bennett treads on sacred ground, but delivers an astounding fan-pleasing narrative.
How to Read More Books
These days there are too many books to read. You have to be particularly voracious to get through the bestsellers of every month. And that’s without delving deeper into the classics, and the works of independent publishers.
Fortunately, there are simple techniques to help you read 50+ books every year.