What If? by Randall Monroe

Subtitle: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Published: 2014

Genre: nonfiction science

Length: 303 pages

Font: Adobe Caslon Pro

Interest: I read Monroe’s webcomic, xkcd, religiously and always enjoys it’s smart, scientific tone. I had heard in multiple places that he had a book published, and picked it up when I saw it at the library.

Summary: Really, the subtitle tells you exactly what the book is about. Monroe answers a series of odd, scientific questions. None of them are at all realistic (for example – what would happen if the Earth, but not the atmosphere, suddenly stopped spinning? or a baseball pitcher threw a ball at .9c?) but Monroe treats them as if they could happen and answers them scientifically, with a strong dose of humor thrown in. Plus, we get occasional, interstitial chapters containing weird (and worrying) questions from the What If? inbox. There’s even illustrations by Monroe within each chapter that help get his point across, usually in some kind of amusing fashion.

Final thoughts: While the science in this book is interesting, you’re really going to read it for the humor. I laughed out loud multiple times each chapter, and was continually searching for someone to read the one-liners to. My husband also discovered that the chapters are the perfect length for bathroom reading. Mr. Curiosity stole the book first and read it in two days. Upon completion, he immediately asked for the book for Christmas. High quality science.

Title comes from: A question section on Monroe’s website.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 90/100 in my 100 Book Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or subtitle to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!



Filed under Book review

4 responses to “What If? by Randall Monroe

  1. Pingback: Christmas presents | Fill Your Bookshelf

  2. Pingback: Best of 2014 | Fill Your Bookshelf

  3. Pingback: What I Will Be Reading #33: Mr. Curiosity’s Edition | Fill Your Bookshelf

  4. Pingback: We Have No Idea by Jorge Chan and Daniel Whiteson | Fill Your Bookshelf

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