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20 Enriching Books Like “Lessons in Chemistry” for Curious Minds

Stir Up Your Passion for Science and Empowerment With These Books Similar to "Lessons in Chemistry"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 23 2024

20 Inspiring Books Similar to Lessons in Chemistry

“Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus has caught the attention of readers due to its unique combination of humor, heart and a female scientist’s defiance as she navigates the male-dominated world of the 1960s. The novel’s focus on empowerment, breaking stereotypes, and the excitement of scientific discovery has left readers craving for more books that offer similar themes.

If you are one of those looking for more inspiring stories of science, feminism, and characters that defy the odds, you have come to the right place. Here is a carefully curated list of 20 books that promise the same mix of enlightenment, empowerment, and emotion as “Lessons in Chemistry.”
 

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus

 

1. “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Follow Alma Whittaker’s captivating journey through the 18th and 19th centuries as she carves a path in the world of botany.

  • Exploration of a woman’s role in the field of science.
  • A rich narrative that spans generations and globetrots.
  • Themes of exploration, love, and desire for knowledge.

 

2. “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox, a revolutionary architect turned recluse, disappears, leaving her daughter to piece together her whereabouts.

  • A quirky, unconventional female protagonist.
  • Themes of creativity vs. societal norms.
  • A heartwarming mother-daughter relationship.

 

3. “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren

This memoir offers an intimate look into the life of a female scientist, blending the wonders of plant life with personal growth.

  • Real-life insights into being a woman in science.
  • A celebration of friendship and passion for research.
  • Touching narrative blending science with life lessons.

 

4. “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion

Genetics professor Don Tillman’s quest for love is meticulously planned out until Rosie Jarman challenges all his criteria.

  • A heartwarming blend of science and romance.
  • An unforgettable, unique protagonist navigating love.
  • Themes of societal norms and personal growth.

 

5. “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor’s life changes when she and a coworker save an elderly man, leading her to reevaluate her isolated existence.

  • A leading character with a distinct voice and perspective.
  • Themes of loneliness, friendship, and self-help.
  • A journey of self-discovery and human connection.

 

6. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

The real and poignant story of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line.

  • A blend of science, ethics, and family.
  • A thought-provoking tale of medical discovery and its impacts.
  • Themes of racism, poverty, and the pursuit of knowledge.

 

7. “Circe” by Madeline Miller

The daughter of Helios, Circe transforms from an outcast to a powerful witch, challenging gods and monsters alike.

  • A compelling female character defying destiny.
  • Themes of power, transformation, and resilience.
  • Blends mythology with personal discovery.

 

8. “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett

Pharmaceutical researcher Marina Singh embarks on a journey into the Amazon, which challenges her understanding of morality, science, and herself.

  • A suspenseful adventure into the unknown.
  • Strong female leads pushing scientific boundaries.
  • Themes of ethical dilemmas and personal courage.

 

9. “Goodnight Lab: A Scientific Parody” by Chris Ferrie

A humorous parody for science lovers, echoing the classic “Goodnight Moon”, set in a lab.

  • A lighthearted take on the life of a scientist.
  • Playful illustrations combined with scientific elements.
  • Perfect for those who appreciate the lighter side of science.

 

10. “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly

The untold story of the African American women mathematicians who played a crucial role in NASA during the space race.

  • Female empowerment in a male-dominated field.
  • The intersection of race, gender, and science.
  • Inspirational tales of perseverance and intellect.

 

11. “The Confidence Code for Girls” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

A guide to navigating challenges and boosting confidence for girls, backed by research and real stories.

  • Focus on empowerment and self-belief.
  • Practical advice mixed with inspiring stories.
  • Empowering young readers to embrace challenges.

 

12. “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald

Grieving the loss of her father, Helen Macdonald finds solace and lessons in training a goshawk named Mabel.

  • A unique blend of memoir and natural history.
  • Themes of loss, healing, and human-animal bonds.
  • Rich narrative on coping with grief through connection with nature.

 

13. “The Science of Breakable Things” by Tae Keller

Natalie’s journey through middle school is mirrored by her participation in a science competition, aiming to save her mother from depression.

  • Science as a metaphor for life’s challenges.
  • Middle-grade fiction that deals with heavy themes lightly.
  • Empowerment through curiosity and resilience.

 

14. “The Geek Feminist Revolution” by Kameron Hurley

A collection of essays on feminism, geek culture, and a writer’s journey through the world of fantasy and sci-fi.

  • Sharp insights on gender in geek culture.
  • Empowering call to action for female geeks.
  • Personal and passionate perspectives.

 

15. “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Bedridden with a chronic illness, the author finds profound life lessons in the world of a snail living on her nightstand.

  • A meditative reflection on life and nature.
  • Lessons on finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
  • Themes of resilience and the healing power of nature.

 

16. “The Martian” by Andy Weir

Stranded on Mars, astronaut Mark Watney must rely on science and ingenuity to survive.

  • An exhilarating blend of hard science and survival.
  • Themes of isolation, ingenuity, and human spirit.
  • Richly detailed and scientifically accurate.

 

17. “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA” by Brenda Maddox

This biography sheds light on the overlooked contributions of Rosalind Franklin in the discovery of the DNA double helix.

  • Highlighting a pioneering woman in science.
  • Combining personal life and groundbreaking work.
  • Themes of recognition, gender bias, and scientific discovery.

 

18. “Educated” by Tara Westover

  • Tara’s journey from a survivalist family in Idaho to earning a PhD from Cambridge University.
  • Themes of self-education, resilience, and transformation.
  • A gripping tale of family loyalty and personal enlightenment.

Challenges and triumphs of pursuing education.
 

19. “Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet” by Claire L. Evans

Discover the pioneering women whose work laid the foundations for the internet and digital culture.

  • Celebrating female contributions in technology.
  • Inspiring stories of innovation and determination.
  • A call to recognize diverse heroes in tech history.

 

20. “This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society” by Kathleen McAuliffe

An intriguing look into how parasites influence behavior, evolution, and even culture, blending science with societal impacts.

  • Fascinating blend of biology and psychology.
  • Insight into unseen influences on human behavior.
  • Thought-provoking and accessible science writing.

If you enjoyed reading “Lessons in Chemistry” and are looking for more books that celebrate science, challenge societal norms, and showcase profound personal growth, the books on this list are perfect for you. From novels that delve into the heart of scientific discovery to autobiographies that reveal the human side of science, there’s something to pique the curiosity of every reader.

Enjoy your reading journey, and may the stories inspire and empower you, just as Elizabeth Zott’s story did.

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