Saturday, November 21, 2009

Double Review Day

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Borrowed from my local public library.

**** "Enjoyable"

I have learnt by now that I enjoy the genre known as "popular science", which I presume means science written for the non-academic reader. I like finding out about stuff! This book sees Bryson take the reader on a tour of everything that is currently known about the universe, the Earth, and life on Earth.

Starting with an explanation about what scientists currently believe about how the universe began, Bryson introduces us to the unimaginable scale of everything science related. The enormous size of the universe is balanced by the truly teeny tiny size of its constituent parts. For instance, if we were to draw a picture of the solar system to scale, with the Earth reduced to the size of a pea, Pluto would be two and a half Kilometres distant! And a typical atom has a diameter of 0.00000008 centimetres, or eight one hundred millionths of a centimetre! But even more amazing, most of this diameter is actually empty space, with the nucleus of the atom occupying only one millionth of a billionth of the  total volume. Unbelievable!

Bryson also discusses evolution, ice ages, extinctions, and the rise of homo sapiens. I found it genuinely fascinating, and recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

Since finishing uni for the year, I've had plenty of time for reading, so I can treat you to another review.

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris.

Borrowed from my local public library.

*** "Readable"

Real Murders is the first in the Aurora Teagarden mystery series by Charlaine Harris. Since I really enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series, and also recently read, and loved, one of the Harper Connelly books, I thought I'd give this one a go.

Aurora Teagarden is a single 28-year-old librarian who lives alone in a townhouse in Lawrenceton, just out of Atlanta. She meets once a month with a group of like-minded individuals, who share an interest in true crime. Each month they dissect a famous case in detail, trying to decide whether the police arrested the right person, or attempt to solve unsolved mysteries. Unfortunately the Real Murders club find themselves right in the middle of a real murder when Aurora finds the body of Mrs Wright bludgeoned to death in the kitchen of the club's meeting place just as a meeting was due to begin. Before long the dead bodies and murder weapons are piling up, all of them with some connection to Real Murders club members, and all bearing striking resemblences to famous true crime cases.

Sounds promising, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it just didn't grab me. It's readable enough, but I don't think I'll be revisiting Aurora Teagarden in a hurry.

No comments: