Ever wonder how something really cool (but really complex) works only to be frustrated by trying to do research about that really cool thing? Seems like the so-called "experts" like to use a lot of big, fancy words to explain such things. And the more complicated the thing, the bigger and fancier the explanation. So that, even after hours of research using Google, Wikipedia, books by people with degrees (or whatever), the average person knows no more about said really cool thing than before they began their research. Sometimes, they're even more confused than before.
This is why Randall Munroe, author of What If, wrote Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff In Simple Words. In this oversized and heavily-illustirated and diagramed book, you'll find explanations on everything from the Space Station to the Human Body, from Plants & Animals to the Periodic Table. And all of it is explained in words the average 6th or 7th grader can understand. And all of it with a touch of Monroe's trademark ironic humor. Sometimes the titles used to describe the items in this book are a bit too simplified (for example, bridges are referred to as "tall roads" and elevators are "lifting rooms") and you have to actually read the description and look at the pictures to figure out what the author is talking about. But I suppose that's part of the ironic humor part. Take it for what it is.
Overall, though, Thing Explainer is a fun book to browse. Plus, you'll learn a thing or two. --AJB