How To Read The Solar System by Chris North and Paul Abel 

Science. It’s actually really interesting, but it’s also much more enjoyable to learn more about science when you choose to learn more rather than when you are compelled to learn more.

I have recently started reading more science books, namely astronomy, and I find the subject matter absolutely fascinating!

I just finished this book:

I read the first few chapters of this book while simultaneously reading other books, but, from Mars on, I focused exclusively on this book. 🙂  And, if your going to read this book you should definitely focus, take your time and enjoy learning more about the subject matter. By the time I finished reading this book I almost forgot what I had learned about the Aurora Borealis!

The book is written by Chris North and Paul Abel, who, as stated on the cover, are hosts of a BBC series called “The Sky at Night”.  However, since I am unfamiliar with both the series and these authors, I came to this book with fresh eyes which, at least for me,  turned out to be a good thing because I feel like I discovered a great gem of a book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It’s an introductory book to our Solar System, and it’s 304 pages are filled with lots of good information about each of the planets and their respective moons. It also focuses on the Sun, comets, asteroids, minor planets and life in the Kuiper Belt. A nice added feature is that these authors provide helpful tips for the “amateur astronomer”to aid them in their observations of the planets. They briefly explain how using an optical filter or adjusting the size of the telescope will affect what you see. They also suggest when to view the planets and what you may see at that time.  This book also has a helpful glossary at the end, so if your not quite sure you understood what cryovolcanism meant, you can flip to the back for clarification. 🙂

I learned a lot from reading this book, not just about the planets, but also about the moons that orbit the planets in our Solar System. Many of these satellites are just as diverse and interesting as the planets they orbit-and some planets have an astonishingly large number of moons in their orbit! If you want to learn more about them, then this book will be a wonderful resource. I also learned that comets seem to be made of the same substance as the Sun and that other solar systems are not just like ours. Are we special? One of a kind? I guess this is why we spend so much time and money studying the Universe to try and answer this question.

I appreciated the detailed information these authors provided in this book. It wasn’t too much so as to overwhelm a newbie with its science, but it also went beyond mere basics. There was so much that I learned from this book that if I shared all that I learned, then this post would go on for quite a while. But, suffice it to say, each chapter gave me an opportunity to learn and consider something new. I enjoyed learning more about the chemical make up of the planets and how this affected their atmosphere and weather patterns. Jupiter has had a storm raging for hundreds of years now! I learned from this book that it’s famous  Great Red Spot is an “anticyclone” so “it spins anticlockwise”(P 190) and over time it has decreased in size. This is definitely one interesting planet!  It’s fascinating how life in space evolved from chemical reactions which, over time, led to the creation of our Sun and ultimately to our Solar System.

I enjoyed learning about comets and asteroids and I really enjoyed learning more about the Kuiper Belt. To me, this is deep space, and, not only do we know about it, but we have discovered dwarf planets out there! What will we discover next? And, what will we learn about our origins?

How To Read The Solar System is aimed at those who already have some knowledge and interest in astronomy and want to learn more. After reading Dava Sobel’s The Planets  I wanted to read something a little more in depth, and this book fit the bill. The writing isn’t as creative as Dava Sobel’s, and, I’m sad to say that this book has some typos which was distracting, but this book was incredibly informative and interesting. This book is a great introduction to astronomy for those who want to learn more and grow in their knowledge and understanding of the subject. I, for one, am very glad I took the time to read it!

Bookish Time Travel Tag

Thank you Ms. Arachne at A Canon of one’s own for the tag! I love historical fiction, so this will be fun! Also check out The Library Lizard’s blog too see where this tag began.

What is your favourite historical setting for a book?

Probably early America, but also anytime in English history and I also love reading about ancient Egypt.

What writer/s would you like to travel back in time to meet?

Henry David Thoreau and maybe Emily Dickinson  (if she would talk to me) and also Edith Wharton. I feel like I recently met Edith Wharton when I read The Age Of Innocence and I would like to get to know her more.

What book/s would you travel back in time and give to your younger self?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is such a beautiful story of friendship and transformation.

 What book/s would you travel forward in time and give to your older self? Weird question, I know. But what I meant by it was more along the lines of – what book do you want to remind your older self of because it was really important to you?

For this question I would have to say it would be a book of poetry: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. There was a time when I read her poems, in this volume of poetry, all the time! It would remind me of that period in my life.

What is your favourite futuristic setting from a book?

I can’t think of a “favorite futuristic setting” but the most memorable would be A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. If you have read this book, can you forget this society of order and control that restricts and punishes individual choice?

What is your favourite book that is set in a different time period (can be historical or futuristic)?

I loved Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It was about the plague in 17th century England and a village who took drastic steps not to spread contagion. It is also about a young woman’s journey to her own personal freedom and it has an ending that will completely surprise you.

 Spoiler Time: Do you ever skip ahead to the end of a book just to see what happens?

Sometimes I do, but not very often. I want to enjoy getting to the end.

If you had a Time Turner, where would you go and what would you do?

I would love to be part of the transcendental movement of early 19th century America. 

Favourite book (if you have one) that includes time travel or takes place in multiple time periods?

I love dual narratives and The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro has a dual narrative story that I loved. It is the story of two women, both on their own individual journey, of loss and heartache for one woman and of self discovery for the other, and how their lives intersect in an, albeit not surprising, but still very interesting way.

What book/series do you wish you could go back and read again for the first time?

This answer will be a repeat. It would have to be The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is one of my favorite books and it would be sweet to read it again for the first time.

This tag helped me to think about some books that I haven’t read in a while and it was fun to remember them. 🙂

So, I tag the following bloggers if this sounds interesting to them:

Laurie at Relevant Obscurity

Sally at Books by the Window

And anyone else who thinks this looks fun!

One year Blogiversary!

Wow, I have been blogging for a whole year now!

This has definitely been a great experience for me! I started this blog last October because I wanted a place to share some of my thoughts about the books that I was reading. This blog has given me a place to do just this, but, for me, the real bonus has been interacting with other book bloggers. I appreciate the variety of voices and opinions in the book blogging community! I have discovered new authors and genres and I have been encouraged to read more widely and to step out of my reading comfort zone. I may find myself reading a few more YA and dystopian novels in the near future and to consider the unique perspective they offer. And, for me, this will be broadening my horizons because I typically read mostly historical fiction…which I love and will continue to read! 🙂  

I am currently trying to read more Classic Literature written by women by participating in the Womens-classic-literature-event and, more recently, I have started to read more about science. I think Dava Sobel is to blame…and I thank her for it! 🙂 

It has been a wonderful reading journey so far. Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog and who has commented on it this past year.  I appreciate your comments, feedback and book suggestions! And, I look forward to more book reviews and ‘bookish’ discussions along the way.

Happy reading!