Chemistry is interesting. It's one of the few topics I've noticed that doesn't really have much translation to popular literature for the average reader. Maybe it's the bad memories from high school science class, or maybe it just translate well to books. But there's a few that are worth reading for sure.

Stuff Matters, by Mark Miodownik

Go to a bookstore, and you'll find shelves full of books on evolution, space, and quantum mechanics. This is the only book I've found on materials science, and it brings you into a world like you've never experienced. Miodownik, a materials science engineer, examines many of the everyday substances and the science and function behind them. Learn about paper, concrete, and steel, and how scientists and engineers have improved them since the beginning of history. I was fascinated by how concrete and rebar work synergistically, among others. This book made me more intrigued by ordinary items and to be more appreciative of the materials around us.

The Disappearing Spoon, by Sam Kean

You may have noticed there is a section on my website dedicated to the periodic table (yes, it's a work in progress). The periodic table is the ultimate form of organization, sorting the building blocks of our universe into neat rows and columns. This is by far one of my favorite books on the subject. Sam Kean does an amazing job of working his way through the elements, linking them to history, culture, and life itself. He covers every element in a different way, each more interesting than the previous one. You will learn about how the cold war was fought with elemental discoveries, the effects of poisonous elements, and so much more. Kean writes in an understandable way, so even those people who dislike chemistry can learn something new and exciting about the base materials of our existence.

The Periodic Table

Have you ever wondered how the periodic table came to be? Eric Scerri takes the reader on a journey, starting at a time long before the periodic table existed, and shows how each step slowly occurred over time, until the table as we know it exists. This is an extremely detailed historical account as to how the most famous diagram in all of chemistry came to be. A caution to the reader: this is not light reading. The book is extremely dry, but for someone interested in the inner workings of the elements, this book will give you a much greater insight into its evolution. Although tough to get through, you will find it to be extremely rewarding to read!

John Emsley

This entry is not a book, but an author. Emsley is a science writer who specializes in chemistry. He has numerous books on the subject, which are all quite enjoyable! If you are interested in a reference guide to the elements, he has published multiple editions of one of the better guides to the periodic table (Nature's Building Blocks), although it lacked pictures in the edition I read. Molecules at an Exhibition describes many molecules, and how they feature into our everyday lives. Read about molecules in our food, our clothing, and the rest of the world around us. He has also written Vanity, Vitality and Virility, about chemicals used to change our lives for the better, and Elements of Murder, a book on poison throughout history! His writings are extremely informative, as well as enjoyable!