The stars have always fascinated me. No, I am not talking about the latest shiny actor or musician. I am talking about the night sky of course. My childhood bedroom used to have the best view of the night sky, at least I thought it did!, so much so, I moved my bed underneath the bedroom window so I would get a better view of the night sky. My mum wasn’t best pleased with me moving my bedroom furniture around, but I think secretly she understood why. No matter what my worries of the day were, I could get lost amongst the stars – just for a moment or two, sometimes even longer! I can still picture that same view from my bedroom window now, with just as much appreciation for it as I did then ( maybe more!).
I remember that all I wanted for Christmas one year was a telescope, I wanted it so much and I would not consider anything else. I remember my mum telling me that we could not afford a telescope and it was too expensive. That night I cried, and for a few days after that too. Somewhere along the way I realised how selfish I was being and although I still wanted a telescope I realised I would have to buy one myself when I got older and I could earn my own money.
Then arrived Christmas morning and I remember being excited (but not much as my usual hard to tolerate over-enthusiastic – every Christmas was ‘The Best Christmas Ever!’) self!)
After opening a few gifts (some books and socks of course!) Mum passed me my final and rather large gift. It was a sleek plastic case and I remember wondering what it could possibly be and as I flicked the catches and opened the lid – there it was my telescope! I was in awe. I looked at my mum in disbelief and I remember her saying ‘It’s only second hand’- as though that was something to be ashamed of! What she did not realise is that it being second hand meant so much more to me than any newly bought gift could ever have. My mum, knowing how much I wanted a telescope and knowing she could not afford it, had spent months tracking down a second hand telescope to make my dream come true! And let me tell you it was the best telescope ever! (I still have it to this day) I also have a great appreciation for how fortunate I was back then.
The view from my bedroom changed eventually with newly built houses in the distance obscuring much of my lovely night sky view. Eventually and inevitably I grew up and moved out of home, but I still look up at the night sky with awe and wonder and I think back to the stars from my bedroom window.
Mostly I think how grateful I am to my lovely mum and the day she gave me the stars.
I hope that since we are all spending our time at the moment on the inside looking out that you get to appreciate the night sky too!…and with that said I have chosen some science books to review for this post. It is only fitting after all!
And I personally think you don’t have to be a science whizz to enjoy these books!!
Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand: Fifty Wonders that Reveal an Extraordinary Universe by Marcus Chown
This is pretty much self explanatory in the title, but the author ‘Marcus Chown’ crams fifty scientific facts into this book and yes they have to be read to be believed. The author has done the near impossible with this book and that is make science interesting to the masses. His narrative is very likeable with punchy one liners and short chapters which prevents the science from overwhelming the reader. This is a highly entertaining read with little snippets of scientific smarts written with a considered approach to a larger audience. A must read of astounding facts!
What if? : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
The author of this book is a cartoonist with a scientific background and he brings the two together in his book perfectly, providing scientific and often humorous answers to hypothetical questions that have been submitted to him via the public. The quirky cartoons and the scientific facts make for an interesting read and although I did not relate to some of the questions – which were indeed absurd – as stated in the book title and somewhat worrying! the answers are still fascinating and enjoyable! I am sure this book will have a wide appeal and it certainly gets you thinking!
The Art of Urban Astronomy: A guide to stargazing wherever you are by Abigail Beall
Again, I can’t hide the fact that the title sums it up perfectly, but this little ‘star’ of a book – see what I did there! – holds so much more within its pages. The author has managed to present what can sometimes be a dry and hard to understand subject in a very easy to read and intriguing way. She breaks down the subject matter into easy to follow and engaging chunks of text highlighted with the occasional diagram for good measure. There is a lot here for you to get your teeth into (not literally!), the author does not skim over subjects and her enthusiasm for the topic is very clear which is sure, in my opinion, to come across to any reader! If you have an interest in astronomy you will want to read this!
I feel like I say this a lot, but it would be great to hear from you if you decide to read any of the books I recommend! I would love to hear your thoughts.
In case you did not spot it already I have added another page to my blog aptly named the ‘Pick-nic’ page, there you will find my personal favourite book pick of the month…
Also, the ‘Imagination’ page will be updated again soon, so look out for that!
Until next time, fellow booklings stay well, stay safe and enjoy reading!!