Summer Reading, Part II


I have a feeling that reading is all I’ll be doing this summer, considering that my summer reading list has now expanded by 3 dress sizes! Thanks to everyone who has provided suggestions so far—I always appreciate a test drive.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps), I made the mistake of reading a bunch of book reviews last night (click here to read them; they start on page 13), and they are all super-intriguing. Needless to say, they are now on the list:

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet – Neil deGrasse. This one’s about the decision to demote Pluto from the Big 9, the ensuing backlash, and the special place that Pluto occupies in pop culture and Americans’ hearts.

Keep Watching the Skies! The Story of Operation Moonwatch & the Dawn of the Space Age – W. Patrick McCray. Seems that the only American folks tracking the Sputnik in 1957 were amateur astronomers; this book tells the stories surrounding that effort and shines a light on the current role of amateurs in astronomy.

The Last Witch of Langenburg: Murder in a German Village – Thomas Robisheaux. Oh, the paradoxical life of an accused witch: confess, burn, but know that you’ll still go to heaven…because you’ve confessed…and possibly because you’ve burned. This one is the (true, I think) story of a hard-living woman accused in 1672 of witchery. Seems that Monty Python was not far off on this one.

The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America – Steven Johnson. This is the story of Joseph (not Jason) Priestley who both discovered that breathable air comes from plants and ended up founding the Unitarian Church. The science fact that plants make oxygen is so basic, so what I want to know is, where has this story been hiding? I’m reading the book just to find out what in the world this quote means: “epic breakthroughs happen when…energy flows and settlement patterns and scientific paradigms and individual human lives come into some kind of mutually reinforcing synchrony that helps the new ideas both emerge and circulate through the wider society.”

Real page-turners, I know, but we might all be surprised. Happy reading!