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cover art for Astrophysics for People in Hurry

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Genre: Nonfiction; Science

Publisher: W. W. Norton Company

Published: May 2, 2017

Number of Pages: 208

Not gonna lie, as much as I like learning about science and nature in general, anything having to do with space usually gives me a headache. The universe is just so big! Stars, planets, solar systems, galaxies, black holes, time, energy, dark matter—I can’t wrap my mind around it all.

In this slim book, Tyson gives quick, understandable explanations about space and astrophysics meant for the general public.

cover art for A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education

Author: Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy; YA

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Published: September 29, 2020

Number of Pages: 336

Somewhere in the U.K., hidden away from the eyes of mundanes, is a school of magic called the Scholomance. Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: the Scholomance is not Hogwarts. The Scholomance is semi-sentient, does not house any teachers or professors, and is crawling with a variety of monsters hungry for young magicians. The Scholomance also encourages budding maleficers (evil magicians) to bring more chaos and destruction into the world. And the Scholomance has the perfect future maleficer in mind.⁠⠀


El has an affinity for mass destruction, murder, creeping out everyone she meets, and languages. She also has zero interest in becoming a maleficer. Mals don’t tend to live very long. Despite the school’s best efforts, El has almost made it to the end of her Junior year without giving in to her dark talents, but if the school hero, Orion Lake, tries to save her life one more time, she might finally cave.⁠⠀

The Ties That Bind

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is both written and audiobook narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. He earned a BA in physics from Harvard and a PhD in astrophysics from Columbia. He’s also spent many years as a science communicator by translating concepts about space and astrophysics to the general public.

A Deadly Education is narrated by Galadriel. El may be a teenager, but she has a very good handle on how to survive in the Scholomance. She also has a knack for accomplishing things that should be impossible. Her affinity for mass destruction, murder, and mayhem gives her a unique insight into maleficers (evil magicians), maleficaria (monsters), mana (spell energy), and the concept of balance. As a result, she is able to explain the rules of her reality to readers in a way that feels natural, believable, and understandable.

Although one is a nonfiction book is about space and the other is a YA fantasy, both books rely on a knowledgeable narrator to guide readers through complex concepts and events.

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Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid and Blameless Gail Carriger

merged cover art for Blameless and Engagement and Espionage

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