|Nomadic SA Chick||
Publisher: Penguin Books
Page Count: 288
Nonfiction Genre: Science, Astronomy, Space, History
Dates Read: May 27 - June 4, 2015
What do you truly know about our universe? Do you know when Saturn was discovered? Do you know why Mercury is named Mercury? Do you know the complicated political atmosphere of being a woman in the search of space, especially before the 1980s? Did you know that it is highly unlikely that Jupiter is more than just a ball of gas without a solid surface anywhere in its makeup? Dava Sobel takes us on an adventure through time and space (Doctor Who reference, anyone?). She starts with the sun, and works her way out through the solar system, well past Pluto. She tells us great histories of the planets, their discoveries, and the reasoning behind a lot of the names.
I bet most of this stuff Sobel discusses in her book was never taught to any of us beyond a high school science class. Even my college Astronomy class didn't touch on many of these things. I cannot express how beautiful this book is. Sobel tells colorful stories filled with history, mythology, and feeling. In some moments, I felt like I was standing there with some of their scientists as they made their discoveries, and like I could feel the overwhelming joy that overtook these scientists when another discovery came to light.
Each planet (including the sun, moon, and a couple non-planets) are given their own individual chapter, with the exception of Uranus and Neptune, which has a strong need to be combined. Each chapter gives a unique voice to the entity it is representing. My favorite perspective was that of Mars, which was told in the first person, as though Mars was telling its own story. Each chapter has the history of the planet, how it came to be, how it was discovered, the mythology behind the names, as well as being loaded with tons of facts and details pertaining to the planet.
My favorite chapter was Jupiter's because of the insightful detail Sobel provided us, and I felt like there was so much I did not know or understand about this planet. On the flip side, I found Earth's chapter to be the least entertaining, because it covered the history of Earth, including the discovery of each piece of land on the planet; a lot of information that has been thrown at us since primary school history and geography classes. No mater what, this book is beautifully written and full of insight.
Ratings (based on a 10 point scale)
Quality of Writing: 9
Plot Development: 5
Ease of Reading: 9
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars