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    Posted on May 31, 2018

    12 Books For People Who Like Learning Things But Don't Want To Work That Hard

    Whether you're interested in science, sex, or politics, we've got something for you.

    It's finally summer, which means you might be about to take a short break from work or school. You probably want to relax with a good book, even if ~beach reads~ aren't your thing.

    @authorlisagenova / Via instagram.com

    If you want to keep learning while you're on vacation, here are a few nonfiction books that'll keep you entertained.

    Universal Studios / tenor.com

    Some of these recommendations are from a helpful Reddit thread and the rest are books that I've really enjoyed. Hope you find some interesting summer reading!

    1. If you love memoirs, read Hope Jahren's Lab Girl.

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    Besides having a bunch of neat-o facts about trees, this memoir follows the journey of a young woman becoming a scientist. Considering that she had to deal with institutional misogyny, mental illness, and an extreme lack of funding, it's downright inspirational that she succeeded.

    Get it from Amazon for $10.87, from Barnes & Noble for $11.20, or find it at your local bookseller on Indiebound.

    2. If you want to learn more about sex, read Emily Nagoski's Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life.

    @bokmyran / Via instagram.com

    "Do you want to have good sex? Do you have a vagina, or have a partner with a vagina? Then you need to read this book. As a licensed sex therapist, Nagoski is able to troubleshoot just about any sexual issues you have, and she does so with crazy efficiency." —effervescenthoopia

    Get it from Amazon for $14.24, from Barnes & Noble for $15.26, or find it at your local bookstore on Indiebound.

    3. If you love learning about animals, read Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness.

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    Soul of an Octopus is a sweet story that will completely convince you that octopuses are as friendly as your dog and way smarter than you. Montgomery introduces several octopus species, each of which has very distinct quirks and personalities. It's a good book for fact-lovers and animal-lovers alike.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.79, from Barnes & Noble for $13.33, or find it from your local bookstore on Indiebound.

    4. If you're interested in learning about climate change, read Jeff Goodell's The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World.

    @library_swagger / Via instagram.com

    Honestly, this book will give you nightmares — I'm not kidding. Goodell explains, in very comprehensible language, the science of climate change and the politics of trying to hold off the looming disaster of sea-level rise.

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99, from Barnes & Noble for $17.99, or find it at your local bookseller on Indiebound.

    5. If you like history and/or Southern food, read Michael Twitty's The Cooking Gene.

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    "He goes through his family's slave history (so far as he can), and at the end of every other chapter has a few recipes. Some are these are grandiose things, barbecues and ribs, others are literally ash cake and meals designed to just be enough to survive on — sometimes not even that." —SamLarson

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99, from Barnes & Noble for $21.74, or find it at your local bookseller on IndieBound.

    6. If you enjoy feminist essays, read Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things To Me.

    @emyrogers / Via instagram.com

    Through both literary and political analysis, and personal testimony, Solnit links the (seemingly) minor social aggravation of mansplaining to violence against women. Her essays about the power dynamics between men and women will break your heart, piss you off, and most importantly, provide a perfectly reasoned argument for feminist issues.

    Get it from Amazon for $10.48, from Barnes & Noble for $10.36, or find it at your local bookseller on Indiebound.

    7. If you're interested in psychology, read Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow.

    @ynofocus / Via instagram.com

    "This book is great for smart underachievers. Kahneman's most important observations in this book are summarized this way: Our brains use two sets of processes for cognition. One is incredibly fast, but very presumptuous for the sake of speed. The other is ponderously slow, but capable of novel ideas. Smart kids get used to using the first process for shit that should require the second one, because they're more successful at it than their peers. This is how smart kids make mistakes, succumb to arrogance, and fail." —treerabbit23

    Get it from Amazon for $16.34, from Barnes & Noble for $11.05, or find it at your local bookseller on Indiebound.

    8. If you're feeling a little helpless in the current political climate, read Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.

    @maijanmaailma / Via instagram.com

    This guy is a Grade A historian, so he knows what he's talking about. On Tyranny is basically a Sparknotes explanation of how tyranny works and how you, a noob, can deal with it. It's a teeny tiny book and a quick read, but it will weigh on you like a ton of bricks.

    Get it from Amazon for $6.39, from Barnes & Noble for $6.72, or find it at your local bookstore on Indiebound.

    9. If you love the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates, read Between the World and Me.

    @davidasouthard / Via instagram.com

    In his second book, Coates redefines how we think about race in America. Written as a letter to his son, he explains "The Dream of being white" and the physical toll it inflicts on black bodies. You will, no doubt, read Between the World and Me in a day — it's short, totally absorbing, and written so beautifully it'll give you chills.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.67, from Barnes & Noble for $16.25, or find it at your local bookstore on Indiebound.

    10. If you're interested in US education policy, read Dale Russakoff's The Prize: Who's In Charge Of America's Schools?

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    You'd think education policy would be dreadfully boring but it is, in fact, more like a reality TV show in which all of the drama is very, very real. Russakoff talks to policymakers, teachers, parents, and lobbyists who all seem to think they know how to fix the crumbling US education system.

    Get it from Amazon for $6.34, Barnes & Noble for $11.96, or find it at your local bookstore on Indiebound.

    11. If you're interested in the difficult relationships we all have with food and our bodies, read Roxane Gay's Hunger.

    @sduranseaud / instagram.com

    Gay explains how she used food to cope with the trauma of sexual assault, how her weight has affected her relationships, and how she came to terms with her body even if society hasn't. You will (hopefully) look at other bodies and your own body with more grace, understanding, and acceptance after you've finished reading.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.69, from Barnes & Noble for $16.89, or find it at your local bookstore on IndieBound.

    12. And if you like shows like Chef's Table or Cooked, read Dan Barber's The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.

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    Dan Barber, a swanky New York chef, explains how the food industry has messed with the environment and argues that the food-to-table movement was a step in the right direction but fell short of making substantial change. And it's not like he's unfairly criticizing — he was a farm-to-table restauranteur from the start. Instead, he offers a path to how the local food movement can push boundaries to make food even more sustainable and delicious.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.23, from Barnes & Noble for $12.26, or find it at your local bookseller on Indiebound.

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