The Nerds on Earth crew has varied backgrounds and interests, so our reading list might surprise you. Take a quick glance at our nightstands and you’ll see a mixture of sci-fi, fantasy, leadership, theology, and even some technical titles.
So, we wanted to take a moment to share what we’ve been reading lately, because it’s always helpful to get some reading recommendations for nerds.
how to get rid of a president by David priess
Politics returns to Nerds on Earth! With our nation alternately wrapped in fascination and disillusionment with the impeachment of Donald Trump, I thought it would be a good time to go back and refresh my memory on the previous times we have had to deal with removal of a chief executive.
As a history teacher, my students are fascinated and curious by the current events rattling our nation. I try to steer clear of modern politics in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean I do so when talking about the likes of previously impeached and/or embattled presidents like Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, or Bill Clinton. I decided it was time to once again revisit those presidencies.
Fortunately, I was able to find a book that succinctly tackles those and other similarly afflicted presidencies in the form of David Priess’s 2018 book How to Get Rid of a President. Priess is a former CIA officer and worked for the State Department, with a PhD in Political Science from Duke. In other words, he knows his stuff.
The book concisely and engagingly follows its moniker’s promise by delving into all the ways a nation can relieve a President of their office. Sure, impeachment is one of the items discussed here, but chapters also offer insight in the other methods we the people have in ridding ourselves of a failed president.
Priess is as entertaining as he is informative. How to Get Rid of a President is proving to be a great checkup on the pulse of our nation’s democracy without getting bogged down in the incessant drudgery of all things Trump. Highly recommended for those who want a refresher in one of the more esoteric forms of the democratic process.
Grab a copy of How to Get Rid of a President.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I just finished Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Every ten years a powerful wizard, the Dragon, takes a girl from a small village. The mysterious sorcerer offers no explanation for what he does with (or to) the girls; in exchange, he protects the village from the evil lurking in the Wood surrounding the valley.
Everyone in the village expects the Dragon to select Kasia—smart, beautiful, sturdy Kasia. When the wizard selects her best friend Agnieszka, she must reckon with what the Dragon expects of her.
Novik is known for writing multi-book series, but the standalone Uprooted was the perfect way to start the new year. She fills her high fantasy with a fascinating amalgam of magic portrayed and performed in multiple ways, and I kept thinking of how rad some of the battle scenes would look in a Netflix or Hulu adaptation of the novel. Add in a tender portrait of the effects of childhood trauma and some commentary on the beguiling and deadly allure of war set in a medieval pseudo-Poland and you’ve got a true page turner on your hands.
I enjoyed it so much that I want it to stand alone forever in its perfection but also get multiple sequels (#sixseasonsandamovie!). Stay ahead of that curve by snagging Uprooted here before it is adapted!
John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
A few times a year, I try to select a book to read from the sci-fi/fantasy all-time classics that I haven’t read yet. This time around, it’s John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
This kind of thing bites me in the behind sometimes, though, for a couple of reasons. For one, I know about myself that it sometimes takes me most of a book to learn an author or narrator’s voice, so I often spend most of these books not enjoying them until near the very end. Secondly, I learned about John Carter of Mars after I started that it is not, as I had assumed, the first novel in the Barsoom series, but is in fact a) a collection of two smaller John Carter stories, and b) not very highly regarded by fans of the series.
So I’m not sure even what to write about it here, other than to say that I’m kind of enjoying it, but I’m not sure I’m going to stick with it. I think I would rather get a taste for Burrough’s style, and hop off if there’s a good stopping point, then pick up this series from the beginning.
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
I’ve been a big fan of Krakauer’s work for years and have slowly been making my way through his catalogue. Under the Banner of Heaven has proven an interesting read.
It provides a history of the evolution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as an investigative report on a double murder by two members of its more fundamental branch. Krakauer explores polygamy, hearing the voice of God, power plays within the church, Mormon and LDS ideology, and more.
I picked up the book because it had Krakauer’s name on it, and it does not disappoint. Part history, part true crime, and with more than a dash of theological inquiry and religious scrutiny between the lines.
There you have it, some reading recommendations from us at Nerds on Earth. Feel free to join us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you’re reading! We take recommendations just as readily as we give them out!