I went to the new library about a month ago and just wandered around for a while. I walked by a display and saw How to build your own spaceship : the science of personal space travel by Piers Bizony. I checked it out and found it was a very good book. I suspected it might be dry or overly technical, but it was not any of those things. It spent a month in my purse as my "walking around" book, and I was always glad to have a few minutes to read more.
There was lots of information about the science of space flight, the physics of getting large things into space, kinds of businesses you could start in order to get into space. But there are also great stories about the history of spaceflight, both manned and unmanned, from around the world. Tales of success and of failure, Of grand ideas and practical alternatives. As a kid who watched the Apollo take offs, I was enchanted. Bizony never talks down, but he manages to convey the information in everyday language, explaining technical terms simply as he goes.
While I have no plans for a backyard rocket, I'm very glad I read this book and would recommend it to anyone interested at all in space.