One of the best things about reading is the ability to travel someplace you’d never get to visit in real life – like outer space. I had grand visions of being an astronaut as a kid, but bad grades in my physics classes, poor eyesight, and several phobias kept me out. Good thing I have books!
In honor of National Space Day, here are six books I like to turn to when I feel like being an Armchair Astronaut.
1. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
You’ve probably heard about the movie, but have you read the book? While you’re waiting for it to hit Netflix, pick this one up. Wading through the technical language is worth it for the story.
2. Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space by Lynn Sherr
I never knew what a driven, motivated, and inspiring woman Sally Ride was until I picked this book up at the airport one day, and devoured it during a five-hour flight delay. If you like biographies, don’t miss this one.
4. Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
If you liked Hidden Figures you should definitely check out this lesser well known, but similar, book about “women computers” at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the space race.
5. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
These classic short stories range from spooky to funny. I especially enjoyed the audiobook.
6. Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean
Dean is my kind of nerd. She spends the last years of the space shuttle era attending launches, and introducing herself to NASA employees on social media. This book will make you wish you had spent more time paying attention to the program while it was still around.