A website called The Browser has been doing a fun collection of interviews, where they ask experts in different fields to recommend five books, either starting points for non-experts or books that they were influenced by themselves. Read Randall Grahm on wine, Jim Shepard on short stories, Deborah Blum on science and society, or Qiu Xiaolong on classical Chinese poetry.
They asked me about relativity and cosmology, and I decided it would be more helpful to pick recent books that would bring people up to date rather than go for the classics I was reading back in the 70′s. Some of these books aren’t light reading, but it’s a matter of dedication rather than preparation; I think an interested and intelligent person who didn’t know anything about relativity or cosmology could read these and come away with some deep insights.
For more thoughts, check out the full interview.
Update: for obvious reasons, it wouldn’t be considered quite kosher to recommend one’s own books in an interview like this. This has led to the misimpression that I think my books are less than the very best. Not so!