The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Find a quote from page 56.
This is the book I'm reading right now---
Title: The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (Young Reader's Edition) by Sam Kean
"When you think of the periodic table, you probably think of that colorful chart with many columns and rows hanging on the wall of your science classroom. You may have talked about it in class, and you may even have been able to use it during tests and exams. Unfortunately, even when you could use it, this gigantic cheat sheet may have seemed less than helpful! But the table and each box on it are full of secrets waiting to be decoded" (11).Friday 56:
"Using chemicals as weapons started in ancient Greece, when the Spartans tried to gas Athenians into submission with the most advanced technology they had at the time: smoke. It didn't work" (54).Review: In 2010 Sam Kean published The Disappearing Spoon for adults. This year he rewrote his original work and made it accessible for younger readers targeting middle grade students, grades 5-8. The original book came to my attention sometime after it was published and I tried to talk my book club into reading it. That suggestion was summarily voted down. The ladies in my group didn't want to read a "hard" book about science. As I read this young reader's edition, I was glad for that no vote. This version, though aimed at young teens, seemed to be just the right level for me. Ha!
"Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history? The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, greed, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them" (Book blurb).The creation of the periodic table has never been something I've never thought about before. It has always existed, right? Wrong. Apparently what we know from the poster on our science room wall is just one of over 700 charts created since scientists started discovering the elements and trying to figure out how to communicate their relationships to one another. As the current rendition came into common usage, it is fun to read about many of the stories of how the elements were discovered over the course of time. What we know today without any doubts had to be figured out by someone or several people. These stories of discovery make the book so fun and charming.
My husband and I listened to the audio version together. His comment is one I agree with. It is interesting to learn about history when it presented on a theme, like the creation of the period table, rather than always learning about history as presented in a chronological/textbooky way. I am previewing this book as part of my role as a Cybils judge. It has been such a fun assignment for me to read a plethora of books I never would have picked up otherwise. I am glad I did read this one!