Star Wars books: My Star Wars reading list

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Movie artwork books seen for sale during London Film and Comic Con 2019 at Olympia London on July 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Movie artwork books seen for sale during London Film and Comic Con 2019 at Olympia London on July 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images) /
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Star Wars
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 12: A wax figure of Star Wars character Yoda on display at ‘Star Wars At Madame Tussauds’ on May 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images) /

The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide by Terryl Latch/Illustrated by Bob Carrau

One of my personal favorites on this list is, The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide, by Terryl Whitlach, with illustrations provided by Bob Carrau. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but for a book like this one, there is an exception. The reason why I say this is because the cover has both the appearance and texture of a scaly creature.

Inside readers will find a collection of illustrations depicting some of Star Wars most well-known species such as the rampaging Rancor, the insatiable Sarlacc, the razor-clawed Wampa, and even the infamous Womp Rat.

This book also introduces us to some never-before-seen creatures from the various planets such as: the mutant rats of Coruscant; the Butcher Bug and Spotlight Sloth of Dagobah; the Blarth (a Gungan pet), Greysors (Four-legged primates used like hunting dogs), and Tusk Cats (horse-sized felines used as mounts), all of Naboo; and finally, the creature featured on the books cover, the Condor Dragon of the Forest Moon Endor.

Whether you’re a child or an adult, there is plenty to both see and learn about Star Wars’ unique animal kingdom within this book. If I were to rate it, I’d give it 4 lightsabers up.

Highlight: One of the most impressive creatures in this book has got to be the Greater Krayt Dragon. This bad boy is huge. How big? It can carry an adult Sarlacc in its jaws! So ye-aah, it’s a big’ un.

The Star Wars Cookbooks

Next on the list from my personal collection is The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and other Galactic Recipes, by Robin Davis, with photos provided by Frankie Frankeny.
This amusing cookbook provides an appetizing array of cleverly named dishes inspired by some of our favorite Star Wars characters. Besides the aforementioned Wookiee cookies there are also: Princess Leia’s Danish Dos (Cinnamon buns that pay homage to the princess’ famous/infamous hairdo), Boba Fett-uccine , Greedo’s Burritos, Hoth Chocolate, and last but least not, Yoda Soda.

This books sequel, which I also own, The Star Wars Cookbook II: Darth Malt and more Galactic Recipes, is by Frankie Frankeny (the photographer from the original book), with photos provided on this one by Wesley Martin.

Like its predecessor, it also contains another serving of wittily named dishes inspired by the Star Wars films. Highlights from it includes: Darth Maul dip (which you can make using the included stencil to look like the Sith apprentice), Darth double dogs (two, foot-long hotdogs skewered and joined in the center by a croissant pastry), Protocol Droid pasta (made to resemble C-3PO from The Phantom Menace), Watto-melon cubes (watermelon cubes with blue sugar that looks like Watto’s dice), and finally, the hands-down best use of a characters name for a treat — Qui-Gon Jinn-ger snaps.

So, if you’re looking to make use of your time inside by whipping up something good, do check out these cookbooks. Also, a lot of the recipes make use of accessible ingredients that most us have around our homes (meaning, no having to make extra trips to the grocery store), and, as a bonus, it lets you make edible art.

Star Wars Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide by Ben Burtt/Illustrated by Sergio Aragones

For those looking to take your extra time at home to learn a new language, I present to y’all the Star Wars Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide, by legendary Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt, with illustrations provided by Sergio Aragonés of Mad magazine fame.

This book is filled with both humorous and useful expressions in a variety of Star Wars alien tongues. Among these are: Ewokese, Gunganese, Huttese, Jawaese, and Shyriiwook (Wookie-speak). There is also a section in the book that shares behind-the-sound commentary by Mr. Burtt.

In regards to this latter section, some interesting trivia gleaned from it includes:

Chewbacca’s “speech” was predominantly provided by a cinnamon-colored bear named Pooh. To prompt the creature into talking the trainer would withhold its food for a moment or pass other animals, such as a mountain lion, by its cage in order to hear its reaction. Other sounds for Chewbacca were gathered from walruses, different other bears, and even Peter Mayhew himself! (Star Wars Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide, Ben Burtt pp. 125-130)

The basis for the Ewokese language was initially provided by an elder Mongolian lady known affectionately as Grandma Vodka, because of her raspy, high-pitched voice. The final version of the language was a combination of Kalmuk, Native American Lakota, and some mock Tibetan. (pp. 150-152)

Boushh, Princess Leia’s bounty hunter disguise used in Return of the Jedi was voiced by the same lady who did the voice-over work for E.T., Pat Welsh. (pg. 154)

Jabba the Hutt’s voice was performed by Larry Ward, the slurpy sounds he made were derived from the pasta in Ben Burtt’s wife’s cheese casserole, and the burps he made came from sound engineer, Howie Hammerman, who provided his sonorous belches after consuming a can of soda (pg. 153)

Other highlights:
Besides the behind-the-sound trivia, the book has many colorful phrases for readers to use, such as:

Wua ga ma uma ahuma ooma
Translation: I think my arm has been pulled out of the socket.

Waag mam ga moo
Translation: The food is good.

Ur uh
Translation: Thank you

Translation: Hooray!

Meechoo iyo bugdoo
Translation: I am hungry.
Note: Get to moving away if the one saying this begins poking you with a stick and chanting, “Ooloo, ooloo”, that translates to: “You look tasty.” In which case your proper response should be “Yeha,” i.e. “Goodbye”.

Translation: Hey you!

Wanta dah moulee rah
Translation: Why haven’t you paid me?

Kava doompa D’emperiolo stoopa
Translation: You weak minded Imperial fool!

And my favorite…

Jeeska do sookee koopa moe nanya
Translation: Keep your suction cups where I can see them.

Star Wars
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 12: Wax figures of Star Wars characters Princess Leia and Jabba The Hut on display at ‘Star Wars At Madame Tussauds’ on May 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images) /

Star Wars Jedi Path and other Handbook/Manuals by Daniel Wallace

Next up, is The Jedi Path, by Daniel Wallace with illustrations provided by various artists. This book and it’s subsequent sequels by Mr. Wallace are all written as handbooks from the perspective of Star Wars various classes/factions including: Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunters, Smugglers, and Imperials.

I own three of these, The Jedi Path, The Book of Sith, and The Bounty Hunter’s Code. These books are filled with history, guidelines of conduct, interesting trivia, complete with annotations provided by famous Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunters and Rebels/Imperials.

The Jedi Path, the first of these books, details nearly everything one could want to know about being a Jedi. It includes sections on constructing lightsabers, the various combat forms, Jedi force abilities, the numerous paths one can take besides that of a Jedi Knight or Master, and even a section on transcending the Force.

Some of the most fascinating things I learned from reading this book was the name of the lightsaber technique that Obi-Wan used to defeat Darth Maul (Sai tok), the force ability used by Luke Skywalker to fight Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi (Similfuturus or, Doppelganger), and even forbidden force techniques such as the Jedi equivalent of force-lightning called Emerald lightning, or a kinetite. (Jedi Path, Wallace, pg 134)

The Science of Star Wars by Jeanne Cavelos

Just in case there are any Star Wars science-enthusiasts out there, I’d also like to include The Science of Star Wars by Jeanne Cavelos on this list. An astrophysicist, the author uses her background as both a Star Wars fan and a teacher to examine the scientific possibilities of George Lucas’ space opera.

This book both posits and seeks to answer such questions as: Could a planet be entirely desert, like Tatooine? How likely are the various aliens we meet in Star Wars? Can we create robots that have their own emotions, and why would we want to? How fast can ships go using propulsion, and what is the most efficient fuel? Could we build lightsabers? Could there be an unknown force that has the effects of the Force?

The author’s quest to provide these answers utilizes not only her own considerable understanding of the field of astrophysics, but the expertise of other scientists from their respective fields as well. The neat thing about this book is that besides asking the questions many of us fans ponder ourselves, it also helps to make us smarter science fiction readers, since we can better understand the possibility of common sci-fi tropes.