I’ve been having a bit of a tidy up of the pile of books that sits at the side of the sofa waiting to be read and came across this in a pile of “coffee table books”. I don’t remember buying any of them but decided that I would actually read them rather than just leaf through looking at the pictures.
This book was written to accompany Brian Cox’s TV series from 2013. It has lots of lovely pictures in it and quite a bit od text.
The chapters cover “Home” – essentially how our planet sustains life – “What is life”, “Size Matters”, “Expending Universe” and “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”. As you would expect from Brian Cox there is quite a lot of science although I found it reasonably easy to understand. It certainly held my interest more than “Why E=mc2 and why you care”, which is the only other Brian Cox book I have read. That one nearly made my not-very-scientific head explode!
The book looks at everything from different angles, ideas and possibilities and I enjoyed finding out a bit more about the science behind things like the size of a species or the delicate balance of eco-systems.
There were two things that were difficult about it.
The first was the size and weight of the book. It isn’t easy to hold a large, heavy book for long periods when you’re trying to curl up on the sofa and read. I understand that these types of book aren’t really meant to be read but…
The second was the chapter on DNA and how elements form and mutate. I found this hard to understand, not helped by the fact it was the last chapter, it was late and I wanted to finish the book before going to bed. Probably I should ahve just saved the final chapter for another day when I was more alert and able to understand. However, I didn’t and I’m left will the overall feeling that the science bits were hard.
That said, I would definitely recommend actually having a go at reading the next coffee table book someone buys you for Christmas.