Challenge Accepted: Read Harder 2017
A new year means new year resolutions and challenges. One reading challenge that I love to do is Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder challenge. Instead of having people focus on a specific number of books, Read Harder challenges people to read different genres or authors that they may overlook. This year, there are 24 prompts for readers, and a complete list may be found here on the Book Riot Goodreads page. Today, I will address thirteenth challenge: to read a nonfiction book about technology.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters at the End by Atul Gawande
Medicine has improved the human experience so much, but most of it seems focused on prolonging life, with little thought to what happens at the end of life. Dr. Atul Gawande is a practicing surgeon and contributor to the New Yorker, and discusses the limitations of medicine when it comes to quality of life, and not just extending it. The intersection of quality of life and prolonging of life tasks readers and doctors to focus on what it means to think about the human experience.
Command and Control by Eric Schlosser
Eric Schlosser turns his investigative journalism prowess to examine the history of America’s nuclear weapons program. As Schlosser investigates its history and management it becomes increasingly clear that our nuclear weapons - and probably the world’s nuclear weapons - are extremely vulnerable. Schlosser gives accounts of failed tests, accidents, and the unlikely heroism that comes with managing weapons that have the capacity to destroy the planet hundreds of times over.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
The inspiration behind the movie, Margot Lee Shetterly shines a light on four African American women that helped John Glenn get to space. Originally math teachers, these women - Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden - answered the call of labor shortages and entered the emerging aeronautics industry. As they moved to NASA, they were known as “human computers” and their calculations helped launch rockets and the astronauts inside of them.
Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void by Mary Roach
Mary Roach brings her characteristic curiosity to space and answering the questions we’ve all had about space travel. Important questions like:
- "How do you poop in space and what happens to it?"
- "What happens to your body when you can’t walk at all for a year?"
- "How much can a body take when it comes to preparing for space and for what happens in space?"
Roach answers these questions and so much more with research, wit, and some cadaver talk.
Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan
Nintendo has been a part of American culture for almost forty years, and while it has supplied entertainment to the masses, not all of it has been easy. Jeff Ryan explores the highs and lows of the company that has given us Mario, Donkey Kong, and Princess Peach. From game design to lawsuits to remaking the company, this book is enjoyable for people who have never played a video game before in their life.
Did you read something else for this challenge? Share it with us on twitter by using #readharderdcpl!