Our number 1 recommendation*
This book is arguably one of the best out there in terms of demonstrating both the fundamentals and complexities of Einstein's most famous equations.
It's a very popular book among students studying quantum mechanics and the like at University, but is just as helpful if not more so for people self-studying such as ourselves.
Disclaimer - it is a very complicated book, but is reasonably priced and is in my opinion, absolutely paramount if you want to truly understand Einstein's work.
You'll find that the style of writing is very "down to Earth", which I find particularly helpful as most books that cover topics such as these are often written very formally. It's a style of writing that we try our best to adopt here at Expansive!
Author - Sean Carroll
Other books worth a read
Another great book that we always go back to.
This books is less astronomy-specific than some of the others that we've mentioned, and covers science more generally. It does however, have a really nice section on black holes, as well as some other celestial objects such as the planets in our solar system.
Everywhere you look, you'll find detailed explanations and it's clearly written to provide clear, informative descriptions and passages, which is something that we strive to do at Expansive.
If I had to recommend a gift to someone interested in science, then this book would definitely be a strong contender.
As well as diving into the history of science, such as discoveries and innovations like the telescope, this book also contains detailed sections on phenomena such as lighting, super-conduction, consciousness and many more...
Despite being less directly astronomy related than the previous 2, make no mistake that this book was written by 2 individuals who dedicated their lives to discovering the origins of consciousness in the universe, and how we've deviated from our beginnings as a species.
Seeing as consciousness is one of several phenomena that we absolutely have no idea about, in terms of the origins and preservation of, I'd recommend this book to absolutely anyone, and even more so to someone who's investing their time into realising the wonders of this universe.
After reading this book, you will have a thorough understanding of the history of the human species (theoretically speaking), the natural diet, mechanisms involving hormones, steroid hormones, stimulants, the 3 systems of energy transfer in the human body (blood, nerve, and lymph) and many, many more...
Personally, we believe that most astronomers get lost burying their heads into the deepest regions of space, forgetting what the real phenomena actually is - consciousness. It's disturbingly easy to ignore this very concept, and follow the classic approach of trying to understand anything and everything in this universe.
Stars, nebulae, planets, clusters, galaxies, black holes, quasars.... They're all cool and that, but they're nothing compared to the very thing that's allowing you to visualise, understand and perhaps sympathise with what I'm writing right now.
We can attempt to explain where matter comes from in this universe, and therefore energy, but what manifested the natural elements to materialise into DNA and bring life to this universe is completely unexplained, and will likely remain as such forever, as we seem incapable of communicating with those who came before, and those who will inevitably arrive.
Or can we...