All The Nerdy Books We're Reading This Summer

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Summer is officially here. For me that means butchering countless mangos with my trash knifeskills and playing Daryl Braithwaite's One Summer on repeat.

Summer break is also a time where my fellow colleagues and I like to catch up on some of the books that have been piling up on our shelves and e-readers for months/years.

Here's the reads you'll find us getting into our eyeballs.


Tegan Jones - Gizmodo Editor

Warriors and Witches and Damn Rebel Bitches: Scottish Women to Live Your Life By - Mairi Kidd

After going to Scotland earlier this year I wanted to learn more about the country I fell in love with and some of my ancestors are from. What better way than to lead about a bunch of kick arse women?

This book begins with a challenge. Take a five-year-old girl growing up in Scotland in 2019. Where might you find Scottish women to inspire her? The further back in history you go, the more of a struggle it becomes.

Warriors and Witches and Damn Rebel Bitches aims to right this wrong. Here are women selected for their wit, wisdom and wickedness, plus the inspiration a modern woman – whether young, old or in between – might take from their experience. This book reads between the lines, in English, Gaelic and in Scots, in the margins and in the gaps, and trusts you will enjoy the company of these Scottish sisters.

The ambitions, frustrations, joys, sorrows and fears of these women offer unique lessons for contemporary readers. Hope, empowerment, inspiration – or reassurance that even at the hardest times, we are not alone.

Paperback: $29.25


Sourdough - Robin Sloan

This was recommended to me by a friend that generally nails it when it comes to my taste. The combination of food, intrigue and Silicon Valley tech bullshit has me super excited for this one.

Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread. Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive. Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer's market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show. When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?

Paperback: $22.34, Kindle: $15.80


The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

I was obsessed with The Handmaid's Tale in high school, and love the show, so I'm a little surprised that I haven't tackled the sequel properly yet. I read the first 50 pages recently and am already hooked. Time to smash through the rest and lament how closely it reflects 2019.

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Paperback: $28.66, Kindle: $17.99


The Migration - Helen Marshall

I was reading a best sci-fi novels of 2019 list and this one stood out to me. The intersection of climate change and low-key zombies has me intrigued enough to give it a go.

Storms and flooding are worsening around the world, and a mysterious immune disorder has begun to afflict the young. Sophie Perella is about to begin her senior year of high school in Toronto when her little sister, Kira, is diagnosed. Their parents’ marriage falters under the strain, and Sophie’s mother takes the girls to Oxford, England, to live with their Aunt Irene. An Oxford University professor and historical epidemiologist obsessed with relics of the Black Death, Irene works with a centre that specialises in treating people with the illness. She is a friend to Sophie, and offers a window into a strange and ancient history of human plague and recovery. Sophie just wants to understand what’s happening now; but as mortality rates climb, and reports emerge of bodily tremors in the deceased, it becomes clear there is nothing normal about this condition – and that the dead aren’t staying dead. When Kira succumbs, Sophie faces an unimaginable choice: let go of the sister she knows, or take action to embrace something terrifying and new.

Paperback: $18.55, Kindle: $7.12


Sarah Basford - Gizmodo Staff Writer

Dark Emu - Bruce Pascoe

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing — behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.

Paperback: $32.11, Kindle: $11.99


Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion - Jia Tolentino

We are living in the era of the self, in an era of malleable truth and widespread personal and political delusion. In these nine interlinked essays, Jia Tolentino, the New Yorker’s brightest young talent, explores her own coming of age in this warped and confusing landscape.

From the rise of the internet to her own appearance on an early reality TV show; from her experiences of ecstasy – both religious and chemical – to her uneasy engagement with our culture’s endless drive towards ‘self-optimisation’; from the phenomenon of the successful American scammer to her generation’s obsession with extravagant weddings, Jia Tolentino writes with style, humour and a fierce clarity about these strangest of times.

Paperback: $25 Kindle: $9.99


Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow

In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.

Paperback: $24 Kindle: $17.99


Dead Man Walking - Kate McClymont

We all know Sydney is full of corruption and crime, but none of us expected to read about a Sydney businessman being shot in the back of his head, in his driveway, in front of his nine-year-old son, in Cremorne. Nor that the order would come from a Point Piper millionaire.

Kate McClymont is Australia's best-known investigative journalist. Kate and McGurk received intel that he was going to be 'hit'. Before the two could meet, McGurk was murdered. Kate and her family also received death threats and were moved to a hotel for a few days.

This story involves bumbling criminals, turncoats, snitches, developers, wealthy people brought down, and devastated families. It unpacks the structures of our major cities and asks some big big questions.

Paperback: $24, Kindle: $14.99


Melissa Mason - PTV Senior Style & Features Editor

Your House Will Pay - Steph Cha

I've been keen for this one purely because it's been getting rave reviews - it jumps between the 1991 LA Riots and 2019, following two different families connected to the event, and linking the current racial tension in America with the tension back in the 90s.

Grace Park and Shawn Mathews share a city - Los Angeles - but seemingly little else. Coming from different generations and very different communities, their paths wouldn't normally cross at all. As Grace battles confusion over her elder sister's estrangement from their Korean-immigrant parents, Shawn tries to help his cousin Ray readjust to city life after years spent in prison.

But something in their past links these two families. As the city around them threatens to erupt into violence, echoing the worst days of the early 1990s, the lives of Grace and Shawn are set to collide in ways which will change them all forever.

Paperback: $23.75 Kindle: $6.59


Leah Williams - Gizmodo Staff Writer/Producer

Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

I'm aiming to finish off the Grisha trilogy before the Netflix series debuts sometime next year. The books are a dark fantasy series about the politics of light and darkness, and are very fun.

Soldier. Summoner. Saint.The nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

The Darkling rules from his shadow throne while a weakened Alina Starkov recovers from their battle under the dubious protection of the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Now her hopes lie with the magic of a long-vanished ancient creature and the chance that an outlaw prince still survives.

As her allies and enemies race toward war, only Alina stands between her country and a rising tide of darkness that could destroy the world. To win this fight, she must seize a legend's power - but claiming the firebird may be her ruin.

Paperback: $13.15 Kindle: $11.99


Steph Panecasio - Native Content Writer

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs - Caitlin Doughty

What better time to ponder all of your most pressing questions about death than when summer is here to inevitably burn us all to a crisp? It’s the prime opportunity to sit by the pool and contemplate your own mortality.

Every day, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. In this book she offers factual, hilarious and candid answers to thirty-five of the most interesting questions posed by her youngest fans, sharing the lore and science of what happens to, and inside, our bodies after we die. Why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn strange colours during decomposition? and why do hair and nails appear longer after death? The answers are all within . . .

Paperback: $28.53 Kindle: $14.99


Jess Holmes - Videographer

Throne of Glass - Sarah J Maas

Absolute 100% YA fantasy trash that I'm all about smashing out this summer. But seriously she's one of my more favourite YA authors and she always plays up the love triangles to help me get by while the Bachie is wrapped up until next year.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament - fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?

Paperback: $13.25 Kindle: $11.51


Over the Top - Jonathan Van Nes

I love this man to absolute pieces and I'm really curious to see his writing style and welcome his inner dialogue to cocoon my brain with self love and other JVN-isms. Plus he has such a big story to tell from the snippets we've gotten from both Queer Eye and him going public with his HIV status, I can't wait to know more.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma - yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.

Paperback: $17.35 Kindle: $14.99


Nicole Townsend - Creative Projects Manager

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari

I started Sapiens 3 months ago but haven't had the time to fully commit to finishing it because the subject matter is so factually dense. Much to complex for my neanderthal-like brain (see what I did there?). From what I've reviewed so far, the brief history of man-kind connects our modern characteristics with historical human development. Very interesting stuff!

Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it- us.

In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we're going.

Paperback: $14.75 Kindle: $14.99


Charmaine Viscayno - Group Creative Project Manager

Dolores - Lauren Aimee Curtis

On a hot day in late June, a young girl kneels outside a convent, then falls on her face. When the nuns take her in, they name her Dolores.

Dolores adjusts to the rhythm of her new life - to the nuns with wild hairs curling from their chins, the soup chewed as if it were meat, the bells that ring throughout the day.

But in the dark, private theatre of her mind are memories - of love motels lit by neon red hearts, discos in abandoned hospitals and a boy called Angelo.

And inside her, a baby is growing.

Paperback: $17.75 Kindle: $12.99


Elise Stitt - Technology Manager

Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

I’ll be reading Lord of the Rings, cos I’ve never read it and I’m getting married at Hobbiton, so I should probably read it.

Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

Paperback: $30.70 Kindle: $17.99


As Gizmodo editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Gizmodo often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

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