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Rachel’s Reads – August 2019

“Contact light.” – Buzz Aldrin

Although we remember the immortal line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” from Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the lunar surface, the above quote by Buzz Aldrin contains the actual first words spoken from the Moon when Apollo 11 landed on July 20, 1969. Since that momentous occasion 50 years ago, space exploration has expanded at an exponential rate.

My fascination with our solar system and galaxy started when I was growing up. My parents bought a telescope so that my brother and I could study the stars. Although my interests are varied and constantly changing, learning more about our universe has been one to which I always return. So much so, that I am currently taking astronaut Chris Hadfield’s Masterclass! Space exploration reminds me that I am part of something so vast it is almost incomprehensible. It helps to keep a perspective that what might seem insurmountable, may, in fact, be so small as to be insignificant.

In honor of the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, here are a few of my favorite books about space and the people who helped to turn dreams into reality.

  • The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel
  • Cosmos by Carl Sagan
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
  • Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
  • Apollo: The Race to the Moon by Catherine Bly Cox and Charles Murray
  • Hyperspace by Michio Kaku
  • The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney by Alice B. McGinty and Elizabeth Haidle
  • Women in Space: 23 Stories of First Flights, Scientific Missions, and Gravity-Breaking Adventures by Karen Bush Gibson
  • T-Minus: The Race to the Moon by Jim Ottaviani
  • Out There by Mike Wall
  • See It With A Small Telescope by Will Kalif
  • Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley
  • Sun Moon Earth by Tyler Nordgren

Happy Reading!



Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family last year. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).


Bailey Pianalto Photography


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