Tag Archives: Popular science

Popular Science? June Update

So….. Um….. FAIL so far!

Not that I haven’t been reading you understand, I just haven’t been reading what I set out to read… Other books seemed to jump off the bookcase into my arms, demanding to be read! So, in an effort to convince myself that it’s okay that I read these alternative books I shall justify my time by giving you a short review of each of those I read last month.

Our Tragic Universe – Scarlett Thomas, Canongate, pp425.

Our Tragic Universe

This story revolves around Meg, a writer stuck in an unhappy and disfunctional relationship who sets out to change the path her life is going down.

This book was brilliant. An unimaginative start to the review I realise, but true nevertheless.  How could it not be brilliant? It combines science, knitting and writing – surely a perfect combination for someone like me! That aside, the book is well-written in that once you start reading, you are drawn into the lives of the characters and you don’t want to put the book down. How will Meg deal with her relationship? Will she become the novelist she longs to be? Will she manage to put her problems before her friends for a change?

I loved this book and although the scientific content was slightly overwhelming at times, it is going to be my choice of read when it’s my turn to pick at Book Club! I definitely need to read it again to fully appreciate everything written in this novel. I have previously tried to read another of Thomas’ novels, PopCo, but found it much more difficult to get into than this.

8/10 – a great read that I would recommend to friends, but something that needs to be re-read to fully appreciate the detail.

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson, Gollancz, pp160.

I am Legend - S.F. Masterworks

Written in 1954, I Am Legend has been translated to film three times. The story revolves around Robert Neville, the only human left on Earth as he battles daily with vampires. Every other person on the planet has become a vampire and the book is spread across three years of Neville’s life as he struggles to come to terms with what has happened and research a possible cure.

Wow. This book was dark… Despite being written in 1954 and being set over twenty years later you felt as though it was very relevant to the present. It has been written in a timeless manner, with a subject that although is clearly Science-Fiction, really strikes a chord. The development of both his relationship with the vampires, the vampires relationship with him and the development of the vampiric society is extraordinary yet so close to the real-life relationships humans face today.

9/10 – A very clever book that should be on Book Club lists everywhere. Loses a point only because it made me feel a bit too scared to read it too often!

So there you go, two of the books I read instead of the books I should have read!

I also read this:                                          and I should have read this:

 The Book of Lost Things  The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

But hey, you can’t have everything I guess! Note to self: Must. Try. Harder!


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Filed under Popular Science Book Challenge

Popular Science?

As a scientist, or at least someone who is trying to become a scientist, there are several tomes on my bookcase that would be found under the category ‘Popular Science’ in any good bookshop.

I was reading an article in The Independent yesterday about books that attempt to capture and explain great scientific questions and ideas into slim novels accessible to the average reader in the general public. It also said how these books largely remain unread.

It hit me with great clarity that I have several of these aforementioned books sat on my bookcases with their pages as yet unturned! Admittedly some of them I bought because I thought I should, but the majority were bought with the best of intentions. To read and be astounded at the vision of their authors; to understand those great scientific concepts; and to fill my brain with knowledge.

Many were started and put down due to outside distractions. Others have just been sat, waiting patiently and passed by for a read less demanding.

But this will be the case no more! In a challenge to myself, I will read these items of Popular Science, all the way through, and I WILL learn something! 🙂

So watch this space for discussion, reviews and my thoughts on just how accessible they really are.

Wish me luck! In the meantime, please feel free to tell me which books you think of as popular science and more importantly, how you got on with reading them!

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