Hitting the Books has been running for nearly two years now, so first off, thank you all so very much for continuing to read along. 2019 has seen some solid science and technology nonfiction titles. Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular excerpts this year ran on 4/20 yet, oddly, nobody seemed interested in slinging cats through interstellar space. Just look how cute he is, his spacesuit has footpads and everything.
Of course, if you haven't been able to read along throughout the year, you should be sure to check out Black Software by Charlton D. McIlwain, Six Concepts for the End of the World by Steve Beard, The Bastard Brigade by Sam Kean, Talking to Robots: Tales From Our Human-Robot Futures by David Ewing Duncan, and Cult of the Dead Cow by Joseph Menn. Beyond that, Richard Panek's The Trouble with Gravity is solid, as is Robot, Take the Wheel from Jason Torchinsky. Wow that's a bunch of male authors, if you have any suggestions for writers you'd like to see featured in 2020, let me know in the comments below.
Unfortunately, the titles that do get published are a pale shade of the total number that cross the Engadget newsdesk. There are simply too many books released each week to be able to release excerpts of them all. So if you get a chance this holiday season and need a reason to bury your nose in a good book, give these a read: War in Space by Linda Dawson, Power Trip by Michael Webber (also the name of a fantastic Dallas-area thrash metal band -- Power Trip I mean, not Michael Webber though that would be a pretty hardcore band name too), How To from Randall Munroe aka the guy from XKCD, How to Invent Everything by Ryan North, Radical by Kate Pickert, Targeted by Brittany Kaiser, and You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane. They're all fantastic books and cost less than a medium pan pizza, you can't lose.
If those don't float your boat, check out Engadget's 2019 Holiday Gift Guide - Book and Movie edition. Or if sci-fi is more your preference, take a gander at The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, the Omega Force series by Josh Dalzelle, Richard Kadrey's unrivaled Sandman Slim series (which is gonna be a movie, squee), or basically anything by James SA Corey, Tim Pratt, Ken Lozito or Glynn Stewart. Granted, space operas aren't to everyone's taste so if you trend more towards pure fantasy, give Legacy of Ash a read. Author Matt Ware used to write campaigns for Warhammer 40k and now he's got a new series that rivals Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance. It's really good.
We've got one more post for you before the end of the year and then Hitting the Books will return with the best science and tech titles we can find immediately following CES. Happy holidays, merry Christmas, bienvenue Krampus. Go read a book.