I have a tendency to keep several books going at once. Right
now I have Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach, almost finished. Once again, very funny! I also am reading The Duchess by Amanda Foreman which is about the great-great-great-great aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales. It is a biography although
it reads a bit like exciting historical fiction (without, as the critic from the Chicago Tribune says, "....the bodice-ripping
details..." and believe me, bodice ripping was an expensive endeavor back then, all those intricate details on the clothes
made BY HAND--that guy would truly have to be worth it!!). I sometimes read fiction but only do so upon high, high praise
of the book. I also have waiting in the wings a book by theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind called The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics which I suspect will not tell me anything new about quantum mechanics, but will put a human face on the controversy surrounding
Stephen Hawking's bold proclamations.
finally, for my french translation course (French to English only--not quite ready for the other way around), I am reading
Morts pour la science: Avertissement: La Science nuit gravement à la santé or Deaths for Science with the caution "Warning! Science is hazardous to your health". It talks about
murders, suicides and accidents related to scientific discoveries. I need to translate a good 60 pages for the final
in the course. Once again, putting a human face
on scientific discoveries in a slightly unconventional way. This class is pretty fun, because with what I've learned up
to now, I can get on the Metro in Paris and carry on a conversation, in French, about cats being sent up in rockets (les fusées)
to measure, during the course of the flight, a certain number of spontaneous or ellicited physiological and neurophysiological
effects. Indeed. I can't wait!
other french class I am in is also enjoyable because it is phonetics, which is basically scientifically dissecting the auditory
sounds and vocalizations of the language. I might get better at listening and pronunciation--I hope, at least.
I decided I was burned out on grammar, so took a break from it this semester.)
If you happen to like your science in story form, might I suggest a series of books by the author (Joy Hakim) of
the series on American history A History of US called The Story of Science. Overall, I enjoy the books as they are an easy way to read science (middle to high school level) with many pictures,
tables, quotes from the scientists as well as a discussion of their discoveries in a historical flow. My only complaint
is that these books only cover the physical and chemical sciences, not life sciences, so don't expect all four years of
high school science to be found in them.