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10 books for a summer field trip

The right book can open up a whole new world of scientific information.
The right book can open up a whole new world of scientific

You don't have to turn your brain off for vacation: A summer break is the perfect time to open a book and let your imagination fly through exotic scientific realms.

The best science books for summer reading are those that take you to another place or time — locales that offer adventure and fun while providing insights into how our cosmos works. And because we're talking about vacation reading, they shouldn't be too weighty or worrisome. There's a time and a place for books like "Superbug," or "Annoying," or "Quantum" — but that may be after you come back from the beach.

Here are 10 recently published books that capture the mix I have in mind for summertime reading: a little science, a little travel, and little or no math required:

This post couldn't come at a better time, because I'll be taking a few days off myself. So what'll I be reading? "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" is definitely on my list, as "The Lost City of Z," "1491" and "Cahokia" were in past years. But for starters, I'm engrossed in something completely different: "A Dance With Dragons," the latest installment of the "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series from George R.R. Martin, the guy who's been called "The American Tolkien."

What are you reading? Feel free to pass along your recommendations as a comment below. I'll pick out some of the recommendations to feature when I'm back in office, a little more than a week from now. If I really like your recommendation, I just might send you a free book — maybe one of the volumes on the list above, or maybe a signed copy of my own book, "The Case for Pluto." Until then, here's wishing you happy reading and relaxation!

More book recommendations:

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