If you’re interested in some ideas about the current state of cosmic inflation and Big Bang theory, check out recent Sean Carroll’s bloggingheads turn (~12 min). Recommended.
Also, George Smoot’s book, Wrinkles in Time is very readable and fun (like listening to a really interesting, smart friend) and gives a background to his COBE research and contributions to Big Bang theory. He had quite an adventure.
It’s a good way for novices to prevent from becoming cranks. Thanks to Mr. Carroll for sharing.