Monday, 22 September 2014

Well, at least I learned something - The Universe Inside You by Brian Clegg

I bought this book in the hope I'd learn something about about biology and the human body; instead I got a book which uses the human body as a jumping off point to talk about other things: atoms and quantum physics and what happens to a helium balloon in a braking car (it heads towards the rear of the car because deceleration is acceleration in the opposite direction, and acceleration is the same as gravity, and the helium is lighter than air so heads away from gravity (or something), hence anybody in the back seat gets smacked in the face with a balloon, which I consider a tremendously useful tip).

It's not that it's bad, it's just not what I was looking for from this book because I've already read a couple of other books which cover some of the same subjects and more (like Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything). I also found this a bit of a trog in places, but as it's split into short sections it's very easy to read a couple of pages, go away and come back.

When it's interesting, it is very interesting, the tone is light and the explanations clear. I certainly learned something, but at other times I would have liked it to be a bit more comprehensive. There are also numerous mentions of experiments etc you can do on the associated website. Although that's a good thing if you're interested, for me I'd rather have a book which isn't constantly telling you to go to a website. If I'm reading a book, I'm reading a book. As I am already familiar with most of the experiments referred to, I didn't have any problems reading the text about them. Even if you weren't familiar with the experiments, I think you'd be okay.

I read this on Kindle and had no problems doing so - there are a few diagrams but they were all clear to me.

So, not really what I was looking for but decent for what it is. If I hadn't already known a good quarter of what was in this book, it may well have been four stars. I'd certainly consider other books by the author.

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