It’s been a while since I recommended books and there have been so many good books lately! And because I can’t help myself, you’re getting them in two parts, with non-fiction leading the way and fiction to follow next week!

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
by Emily and Amelia Nagoski

This book, y’all. It’s a hard, but also entertaining, look at burnout, the causes, fixes, and some strategies to implement those fixes. The book is primarily aimed at women, but for my money, it really would not hurt for anyone to consider all of the information inside it.

I’ve only had the chance to listen to this once, so far, but I think I need this book on paper. And then proceed to marker the life out of it. Seriously, this book is so full of useful information that I really do need to go through this thing with a fine-toothed comb again. Like I said, pretty much everyone needs this book. I’m still working on creating strategies to complete the stress cycle. And I bet you don’t know how to complete yours. Get this book.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
by Matthew Walker, PhD

Sleep researcher talking at length about why we need sleep doesn’t sound like a good time. I mean, sleep is really a nuisance, only to be engaged in because to do otherwise sucks worse, right? Wrong! Sleep is a necessary part of health management, creativity, and productivity.

Walker takes his reader on a tour through the anatomy of sleeping in an interesting and compelling way. He makes a good case for paying attention to and improving your sleeping patterns. Unfortunately, he’s also very realistic about the remedies for lack of sleep and he gives no cure-all solutions for how to sleep better.

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland
by Jonathan M. Metzl

This book is honestly kind of depressing. It really does what it says on the tin, taking a hard look at the ways American conservative policies around education, healthcare, and gun rights are literally killing people, namely white people. The policies often seem targeted to impact people of color and they do. But they also very often hurt the middle class and poor white people who vote for those policies. Metzl explores the reasons and proof about why that is as well as the methodology of how those results were gathered. The book is honestly kind of bleak but contains a lot of pertinent information.

Parasite Rex
by Carl Zimmer

It’s been a good while since I last read this book, and I may have recommended it before, but I just love it so much that I’m going to recommend it again. Parasite Rex is an entirely delightful, at times horrifying, and even more often a disgusting look at parasites, their life cycles and their effect on populations, including the Red Queen theory whereby the only reason males exist is parasites.

Zimmer makes a point of making sure you understand how parasites tie together with the larger ecology of various environments as well as the lifecycles of various animals. This book is fascinating and a must-read for any speculative fiction writer as story fodder.

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
by Caroline Criado Pérez

This is another one of those depressing books. Criado Perez explains all the ways the assumed masculine hurts women, beginning from the fact that often governments and companies do not even collect data about how design and policies affect women, which often leads to design and policies that specifically hurt women. The book gives all kinds of examples of both bad examples as well as examples where actually gathering data has helped make cities not only safer but more usable to women and – by extension – children as well. All you have to do is to stop assuming that the male data is universal instead of what it is; a representative of one demographic among others.

The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine
by Justin McElroy, Sydnee McElroy, Teylor Smirl

Does what it says on the tin! Sydnee McElroy and Justin McElroy have been taking an extended tour of the history of medicine on their Sawbones podcast since 2013, with occasional side steps to the land of modern medical pseudo-science. This book is an extension of that show. It is hilarious, horrifying, disgusting, and supremely interesting all at the same time! The audiobook is not quite as good as the podcast, mostly because it doesn’t sound as spontaneous (OBVS), but the eBook and the book book contain some lovely illustrations that make up for that shortfall. So many penis jokes. And plague jokes. Seriously. It’s all funny.