Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Book Review--The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing Spoon:  and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements by Sam Kean


Ever have to slog through a book to get to the end?  I did recently with The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean.  The premise seemed promising—a trek through historical events using the periodic table of the elements as touchstones.  I like science and I’m always looking for ways to peak my interest in history (not my favorite subject) so it seemed like a win-win.  Yeah, not so much.  I really had to force myself through the first half of the book; Kean went into great detail about the initial cosmic distribution of the elements and then into structural analysis of atoms and electrons.  Yes, necessary information to understanding the elements but did it really have to take half the book?  I’m not convinced.


Now, the second half of the book started to get interesting when Kean brought the elements into play during times of war and the great scientific races between countries to discover new elements and classify them in an understandable manner.  But I found it difficult to keep the strings of what he was discussing together because he jumped around from time to country and from scientist to principle with not a lot of tie-in between.  I did find interesting tidbits and the information matches up with what I know about chemistry and physics (more than average but definitely not an expert) but the muddled format was off-putting.


However; I finished, I felt good about it when I was done and now I’m rewarding myself with eye candy… the fun photographic collection of Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel.  Seeing these canine faces stretched into grins just makes me smile J

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