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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: The Magic of Reality

I do most of my reading from the library, but The Magic of Reality is one of those few books that makes me want to buy a copy. And not an electronic copy, but a hardbound paper copy. To top it off, it's a science book!

Written by Richard Dawkins and illustrated by Dave McKean, this book is gorgeous. (McKean, in case you don't know, illustrated most of the covers for The Sandman) This is a great introduction to science for liberal arts majors: there are no equations anywhere in the book, and Dawkins is a superb writer.

Every chapter starts with a few myths about how certain things came to be (like rainbows, the universe, or diseases), and then proceeds to explain how the science behind it works, how scientists came to the current understanding, and in some cases, what areas are still currently being explored. McKean's illustrations are gorgeous: I love how they are integrated completely into the layout and the text, and some times you'd be reading an explanation and the illustration would float directly behind the explanation. All the illustrations are in full color, as is every page of the text.

The topics range from atoms (unfortunately, Dawkins doesn't get into quantum mechanics) to continental drift to rainbows to evolution. This is probably an ideal book to get for a budding young scientist who can already read at a high level. Or perhaps for the science geek who loves illustrations and the deluxe treatment that the publisher has given this. Highly Recommended. I knew most of the material and still felt compelled to read through it once more just to enjoy Dawkin's writing and McKean's illustrations.

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