Books by Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman is a novelist, essayist, physicist, and educator. Currently, he is Adjunct Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is married to Jean Greenblatt Lightman, a painter, and has two daughters, Elyse and Kar


SEARCHING FOR STARS ON AN ISLAND IN MAINE by Alan Lightman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 27, 2018

"From Newton and Galileo to Einstein and Aristotle, from St. Augustine and the Buddha to contemporary theological thought, Lightman presents a distilled but comprehensive survey of the search for meaning, or the lack thereof, in our longing to be part of the infinite."
One of our most reliable interpreters of science offers a slender book of ruminations that venture wide and deep. Read full book review >
SCREENING ROOM by Alan Lightman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"The author shows us many small moments, igniting each with sparks of passion, memory and intelligence."
A family death sends a celebrated author back to his boyhood home in Memphis, Tennessee, where many family members and memories await. Read full book review >
THE ACCIDENTAL UNIVERSE by Alan Lightman
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 14, 2014

"A scientific and philosophical gem."
Lightman (Science and the Humanities/MIT; Mr. g, 2012, etc.) explores how our perception of the visible world is shaped by the invisible world, which we do not directly perceive. Read full book review >
MR G by Alan Lightman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"A grab-bag of physics, philosophical inquiry and family tomfoolery that fails to cohere."
In his sixth novel, physicist Lightman (Einstein's Dreams, 1993, etc.) playfully bridges the gap between creationism and evolution by having the Creator Himself explain how the whole shebang started. Read full book review >
GHOST by Alan Lightman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 23, 2007

"A weighty issue, but a wisp of a novel."
A guy sees a ghost. This leads to an evaluation of the supernatural in Lightman's low-key fifth novel (Reunion, 2003, etc.). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 18, 2005

"A thoughtful and evocative collection, Lightman's first since A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court (1986)."
Eleven essays on science, especially physics, and its relation to the humanities. Read full book review >
REUNION by Alan Lightman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 22, 2003

"Love Story for intellectuals."
What can you say about a pregnant ballerina who decides to have an abortion? Rather too much, as it turns out, in this fairly lugubrious fourth novel from the NBA-nominated author of The Diagnosis (2000). Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2000 by Alan Lightman
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Oct. 26, 2000

"A fine addition to a well-established series."
The 15th edition of this always-strong annual collection features essays that range in subject and tone from philosophical to poetic, guest-edited by Lightman (The Diagnosis, p. 1063, etc.). Read full book review >
THE DIAGNOSIS by Alan Lightman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 5, 2000

"The depiction of digitally crunched life, however valid, is overdone, the author's purpose elusive."
From the author of Einstein's Dreams (1993), a haunting if ultimately unsatisfying metafiction. Read full book review >
GOOD BENITO by Alan Lightman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 18, 1995

In his second foray into fiction, MIT physics and writing teacher Lightman (Einstein's Dreams, 1993, etc.) integrates hard science into a commentary about chaos and order in human experience. Read full book review >
EINSTEIN'S DREAMS by Alan Lightman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Cheerful fantasies, balanced exquisitely between poetry and the popular physics essay. (First serial to Granta and Harper's.)"
Lightman, a teacher of physics and writing at MIT, evokes the musings of Albert Einstein in this playful, unusual first work of fiction. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

"Let us hope the necessary congressmen are included. (Twenty-five b&w illustrations—not seen.)"
Lightman (Physics; Science and Writing/MIT) departs from his usual lighthearted essays and popular discourses on science (A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court, 1986; Time Travel and Papa Joe's Pipe, 1984) to present a no-nonsense summary of prospects for astronomy in the decade ahead. ``Prospects'' seems the apposite word since Lightman is really offering a prospectus here, outlining what could be done to further knowledge of the universe if all the recommendations for new instrumentation and computer technology were implemented. Read full book review >