Book Corner: Books to Get Ready for the 2024 Eclipse

It’ll be a partial eclipse of the heart…er, Sun… here in the greater Fredericksburg area on Monday, April 8. While the Sun will only be roughly 86% obscured, as opposed to the path of totality that will run from Texas to Maine, it’ll still be a remarkable event. Just be sure to pick up (and wear) a pair of special eclipse glasses,, opens a new window available at Central Rappahannock Regional Library branches starting April 1, while supplies last. Fun fact from NASA: the next total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States will be in August 2044.

Check out these TOTALly fascinating books about the Sun, the Moon, and what happens when they cross paths.

American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World, opens a new window by David Baron
In Baron’s page-turning narrative, three separate scientists compete to observe the historic total eclipse of 1878 and prove to Europe that Americans could also make valuable contributions to science. Renowned asteroid hunter James Craig Watson and Vassar astronomer Maria Mitchell each raced across the American West, braving train robberies and skirmishes to chase the eclipse predicted by astronomers. Meanwhile, Thomas Edison headed west with an invention he hoped would change science forever. American Eclipse pairs scientific discovery with a thrilling Wild West adventure in this exciting tale.

Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are, opens a new window by Rebecca Boyle
The Moon, far from inert, is key to life on Earth. Over four billion years ago, its gravity steadied our planet's orbit, and its tides once stirred life-giving nutrients that evolved into complex life. Today, it affects everything from wildlife cycles to plant growth. Before humans invented writing, we were using the Moon to track the passage of time and plan for the future, and it featured heavily in early religion and philosophy. Then with Apollo 11, our connection to the Moon became physical. Today, scientists want to return to the Moon to study it, while governments and the super-rich want to profit from resource extraction. But who owns this celestial treasure, and how can we ensure its protection?

Chasing the Sun: How the Science of Sunlight Shapes Our Bodies and Minds, opens a new window by Linda Geddes
Other than its potential to burn my skin to a crisp and my appreciation for longer daylight hours, I hadn’t given much thought to sunlight until now. Science journalist Geddes provides an accessible look at how sunlight and darkness affect human health, from circadian rhythms to the importance of vitamin D. She helps us with “forging a healthier relationship with light” by demonstrating how jet lag, night shift-work, seasonal affective disorder, and more affect our well-being.

Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses, From Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets, opens a new window by Tyler Nordgren
Written in anticipation of the “Great American Eclipse” in 2017, Nordgren’s exploration of humanity’s evolving relationship with eclipses is freshly relevant today. Eclipses, especially solar, instilled both dread and fascination in ancient cultures. Then Greek philosophers learned to use them to measure their world, Victorian-era scientists launched eclipse expeditions, and modern physicists still use them to confirm Einstein’s theories. Today, an entire tourism industry revolves around the eclipse. Where will you be on April 8?

Black Sun, opens a new window by Rebecca Roanhorse
The first in Roanhorse’s epic adventure series inspired by pre-Columbian societies, filled with rich characters and vivid worldbuilding. In the city of Tova, the winter solstice is a time for celebration. This year also brings a solar eclipse, an event that is foretold by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and is set to arrive on the solstice. Xiala, the ship’s captain, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a person’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger, Serapio, who is blind, scarred, and is described as harmless. Xiala knows, though, that a man described as “harmless” often ends up being a villain.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess, opens a new window by Sue Lynn Tan
This enchanting fantasy is inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese Moon goddess. Xingyin, raised in secret on the Moon, is unwittingly being hidden from the fearsome Celestial Emperor, who exiled Xingyin’s mother for stealing the elixir of immortality. When her magic flares and she’s discovered, Xingyin flees to the Celestial Kingdom, where she ends up training alongside the Emperor’s son while in disguise. Xingyin must battle deadly creatures and challenge the Emperor in order to save her mother’s life in this romantic, adventure-filled tale of magic and mythology.

Visit, opens a new window for all things 2024 Eclipse at Central Rappahannock Regional Library, including events, more reading recommendations, and resources.

Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.