Tag Archives: science

The Diversity of Life by Edward O. Wilson

This is a classic biology book I picked up to fill a nonfiction slot in a summer reading program. Plus, Wilson has won two Pulitzer Prizes so the writing must be pretty good.

Published: 1992

Genre: nonfiction science

Length: 424 pages Continue reading

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Recommended Science books

I like to read science nonfiction books – they feed my inner scientist. Sometimes it’s hard to pick out the really interesting books from the “you’ll only love it if you’re already a fan of the topic.” Today, I thought I’d put together a post of some of my favorite science books. All these books fall into the “fascinating” category. Be careful  – you’ll want to share random bits of information with your nearest friends and relatives.

If you click on the title, you’ll be taken to my original review. If you click on the cover photo, you’ll be taken to an Amazon page where you can buy the book yourself (and thanks for supporting my blog!).

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean

Here’s your first book full of tidbits. In this case, it’s all about the periodic table of the elements. You get everything from how the periodic table was put together to the discovery of elements, both natural and synthetic. My favorite part was discussing the origin of element names.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

I like pretty much every book Mary Roach has written. In this case, she’s writing about long-term stays in space. This is even more appropriate now since there are several organizations working on sending people to Mars. A trip to Mars will involve a new series of issues, and Roach discusses many of those issues in this book. She’s not afraid to discuss any bodily function, either, so don’t be surprised by the topics covered!

A Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston

Let’s bring the books back to Earth, but still stay timely. This is the oldest book in the list, and it was inspired by the anthrax attacks in 2001. The book is all about smallpox. While smallpox has been eradicated from the wild, it still exists in at least a couple of labs and could be used to create a biological weapon if the wrong group gets a hold of it.

Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson

This is my submission for the single topic science book. You know what you’re going to get when you pick up the book – it’s all about feathers. However, the author does a great job of alternating between how birds and humans use feathers. There’s also a bit on the evolution of feathers, that probably needs an update by now, but is still interesting.

Anything sound good to you? Anything you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

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

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Mission Control, This Is Apollo by Andrew Chaikin

Tomorrow is our last meeting of American History Club for the school year. We’re doing a second session on the space program. It’s surprisingly difficult to find a YA level book about astronauts/the space program/space race. I ended up choosing a nonfiction book instead of our usual fiction or narrative-driven nonfiction book because that’s all I could find in our library system.

Subtitle: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon

Published: 2009

Genre: nonfiction history

Length: 105 pages of text, 114 pages total Continue reading

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The ZOMBEE Project by Allison Mulder

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: March 2, 2017 in EscapePod (you can either read or listen to the story for free at the link)

Genre: science fiction

Setting: near future, the United States Continue reading

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Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I saw (and loved) the movie and wanted to read the book it was based on. When there was a Kindle sale of the book, I bought it. I read it now to see if it would work for our next American History Club meeting about the space race.

Subtitle: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Published: 2016

Genre: nonfiction science biography

Length: 267 pages of text, 368 pages total

Setting: In and around Langley, Virginia, 1940s-1960s Continue reading

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Physicists

We’re continuing to learn about physics, splitting out time between physics and physicists. Mr. Curiosity finished How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog and found it hilarious, and full of good physics ideas. Now he knows all about about evil squirrels and bunnies made of cheese. I’ve also had the kids learn about physicists, and here’s the books we’ve used.

I found a graphic novel of Richard Feynman called, appropriately enough Feynman by Jim Ottaviani. The book covers Feynman’s whole life, jumping back and forth to different periods of his life. It’s definitely targeted toward an older crowd. For one thing, there’s the physics and tricky mathematical equations mentioned. For the other, the pages are pretty dense with blocks of talking heads and little action showing on the page. Feynman was an interesting physicist who certainly had a way with words, but it’s not like he did exciting-looking activities.

The other book I found is Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby. It covers women who made significant contributions in medicine, biology, genetics, physics, geology, astronomy, math, and as inventors. Within each category, the scientists are presented in chronological order. The author devotes three or four pages to each scientist and her breakthrough research, often discussing how the woman had to fight against discrimination to get her voice heard. Miss Adventure is enjoying reading this one. The books reminds people that women have been involved in science just as much as men, even if our achievements are often ignored or co-opted.

And those are the books we used for physics this week. Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Science Overview Books

My daughter’s gymnastics team is hosting a meet this weekend (Stars and Stripes, a big meet with 1800+ competitors over four days), so I’ve been busy at the convention center all weekend. Team parents are expected to work a couple of sessions to help the whole thing run smoothly. I still have time to review a couple of books, though. I found two interesting science books I want to talk about today:

Let me start with the more general book, The Science Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) published by DK. DK does some great overview books, so I’m not surprised they are the publisher. This also seems to be one of a series of books focusing on big ideas simply explained (I need to get The Politics Book next for Mr. Curiosity). The book is organized chronologically and for each major scientific breakthrough, you see the chain of observations that lead to the conclusion, what people thought before and after the breakthrough, a biography about the scientist, and some explanatory information. The book has great graphics and is designed for minimal scientific knowledge. It certainly would be an asset to a homeschooling library.

The second book is BODY: A Graphic Guide to Us by Steve Parker and Andrew Baker. As you would expect from the name, each page is a large graphic about a part of the body. The book walks you through the different organ systems and explains how they work with simple graphics. I would just flip open to a page and immediately be drawn into fascinating little details about the body. Miss Adventure spent the entire drive home from the library going, “huh” and then having to read me some tidbit. Be aware that this was published in the UK, so there are some alternate spellings (oesophagus, for example) and the measurements are all in metric.

And those are the new books we flipped through in school this week. Joining up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

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

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