Best books 2019: our top 10 summer reads

By Louise Jeckells

20 December 2019

3 minute read

young girl reading a book and pointing at a page. summer reads

Books, books, good for the heart. The more you read the more you… learn.

Summer is the perfect time to put your feet up with a good book. Whether you’re on vacation or a staycation, we’ve got the science summer reads to entertain and educate.

So, when you’re introduced to your new quiz team as ‘the one who knows everything about flies and Australia’s most elusive bird’ – don’t forget to thank us. We’ve gathered our top 10 summer reads so you can find that quiz niche you’ve been looking for.

1. A timely plant

Seems like the perfect time to read about Australian mistletoe. They’re a fascinating and diverse group of parasitic plants found throughout the country. You’d be surprised what constitutes as mistletoe. Mistletoes of Southern Australia unwraps some of the mysteries around these fascinating native plants.

2. Small friends in the ocean

The Small Friends books series combines scientific research, rich narrative and beautiful illustrations to tell stories that describe symbiotic partnerships between microbes and larger life forms. They are the ultimate children’s books for curious minds. Read all three in the series: Nema and the Xenos, The Squid, the Vibrio, and the Moon and Zobi and the Zoox.

3. Nature’s apartment block

Who needs a hollow? More than 340 Australian species use hollows in trees as shelter or home. A Hollow is a Home will show you how hollows are created, why they are threatened and how to become a hollow-hunter!

4. It’s all in the gut

Keen to know more about how a healthy gut can lead to a healthy metabolism, brain and immune system? The CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet is the perfect gift to yourself or that stinky partner of yours.

5. Raving review by the Chief Scientist of Australia

Wish you knew how to chat about great science without having to read several hundred academic papers? We’ve got the book for you. The Science of Communicating Science is for every student of science. Plus, the Chief Scientist of Australia Dr Alan Finkel gave it the thumbs up.

6. More of a tactile learner?

Have you ever wondered why some insects can walk on water? Or how the ancient Egyptians made mummies? Are you curious about why a guitar sounds different from a flute? To find the answers to these questions you’ll need materials from around your home and the Hands-on Science book. This book was put together by CSIRO scientists, so you know it’s going to be fun.

7. Australia’s most elusive bird

Have you heard of the Night Parrot? With fewer than 30 specimens collected, it’s a very mysterious bird. Interested? Read all we know about the bird in Night Parrot.

8. Shoo fly, don’t bother me

Picture this – you’re sitting with your family on Christmas day eating ham straight off the bone. And a fly lands on top of the ham. As you shoo it away you whip out a fact about the crazy sex lives of flies. Everyone laughs and you win Christmas. Quick – you better find that fact. Buy The Secret Life of Flies today.

9. Growing edibles

Want to grow vegetables and herbs but have limited space? We’ve got a solution. Author Fionna Hill of How to grow edibles in containers grows a range of plants on her apartment balcony and writes candidly about what thrives and what dies.

10. Deadly animals

Interested in the world’s most venomous animals? We have a fair few on our shores. Venom: The Secrets of Nature’s Deadliest Weapon will blow your mind on our most versatile, sophisticated and deadly animals.

Happy summer reading!