"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Friday quotes and review---The Disappearing Spoon

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
Th
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind 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

Book Beginnings:
"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!


19 comments:

  1. You are learning so much! It's an added benefit to your reading. I admire your dedication!

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  2. I think this sounds like a fascinating read. Have to have it. I love getting to know the background of things, especially if they are explained in a simple way.

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  3. I read the adult version of this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Being a Cybils judge is a lot of work, but it is so rewarding. Although I'll be glad to get the piles and piles of books out of my office area when it's over.

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    1. Glad to know it was good. Perhaps I could handle the adult version.

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  4. Hi, Anne. I answered the question you left on my blog post. It's long, so I don't want to type it again here. https://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2018/11/beginning-before-takeoff.html

    Looks like you and I read books that others consider "too hard" to tackle.

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    1. Thanks for replying. I'll head back over to your blog.

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  5. The title grabs me, and the idea of building an interesting story around the periodic table fascinates me. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. They do tell the story of which element dissolves in tea. Funny story.

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  6. This does sound interesting. I'd definitely pick the middle grade version. This week I am featuring Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by Forthright - an intriguing new fantasy. Happy reading!

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    1. I'd like to look at the adult version just to see if more charts and illustrations were included. There were surprisingly few for a middle grade book.

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  7. Great review and snippets! I read this a few years back and wasn't floored by it but enjoyed it all the same. It was a little out of my scientific element, though I loved learning through it. :-)
    Happy weekend!

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  8. This sounds interesting. I like the cover too. Have a great weekend!

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  9. Sounds like an interesting read. Hope you have a great weekend.

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  10. I'd keep it simple and start with the young readers version first. This sounds fun.

    My Friday 56 from Holly In Hiding

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  11. This book speaks to my inner science nerd.Susan is wrapping up the month with a nonfiction book at Girl Who Reads

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  12. Sounds like it's educational and fun!

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  13. This sounds pitched at just the right level for me also! I was never much of a science nerd at school, although I used to know the names of most of the elements, if not their position in the periodic table.

    I guess that reading for most book clubs and groups, is meant to be fun, not educational and needing to be over analysed too deeply, so I can see why they might have pushed back on this one.

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of the book :)

    Yvonne
    xx

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