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review 2019-01-20 22:23
The Disappearing Spoon
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

DNF @ page 81.

 

Dear fellow Flatbookers,

 

I am so sorry.

I really thought I had turned a corner. 

I really thought I had found a book that could keep my interest and that would not lead me to yet another DNF of a pop science book. 

 

But here's the thing, after making it through Part 1 of Kean's books I have serious issues with The Disappearing Spoon:

 

1. Kean comes across as a condescending twit. This is a major turn off for me.

2. Kean can't write in a way that conveys a clear train of thought. Also not great for a book that tries to explain science to non-scientists.

3. Kean's ramblings from one topic to the next give me neither pleasure nor information, both of which are essential from a pop science book.

4. Kean's research is abysmal. Seriously, 81 pages and I am frustrated by the glaring lack of attention to historical fact (see below*) ... so have to imagine that his scientific facts are not trustworthy either.

5. I simply cannot bear to read Kean's dismissive comments about the achievements or discoveries of scientist in the past, while Kean himself has nothing to show for it, nor does he make any attempts to show up any other personalities who may have been more worthy of praise and recognition. 

 

So, in the words of a great classic character (fabulously portrayed by Greg Wise) ... I will not torment myself. 

 

I'm out. 

 

Sorry. Again. 

 

I just can't.

 

Love,

BT

 

 

Seriously, tho, I was really irked by the portrayal of Bunsen's character, by the dismissal of Mendeleev as a fluke, by the portrayal of J. F. Boettger's biography (which is riddled with "inaccuracies" ... like describing him as a trickster in the same line as a slide of hand magician... He was an apothecary's apprentice. And the king - there were two kings actually but that is a longer story - really didn't force him to make porcelain in the first instance, he wanted gold. Porcelain just happened to be worked on at the same time...with more success.) - And I don't even have a clue why the section about Boettger was included in the first place. It served no purpose.

 

I was sorely miffed by the time I got the end of Part 1. 

 

Then I skipped ahead a bit as I by chance came across a page where he mentions Alvarez and the iridium layer that lead to the KT impact theory. It really was then when I came across the things that broke the camel's back: Kean dismisses Alvarez' findings without much of an explanation why and glosses over supporting evidence, then he cites the Indian volcanoes (which were a coinciding factor as discussed in Alvarez' book), and then completely wanders off: first to a still disputed Nemesis theory and then to Sagan quoting "We are all star stuff." 

There is no logical argument to follow here nor is there any underlying evidence for what Kean presents.

Tho, to be fair he didn't actually make any point, so his ramblings don't exactly *need* backing up with facts.

 

Seriously, this book can go ... add itself to the charity pile right away.

 

Previous Reading Updates:

 

Reading progress update: I've read 56 out of 400 pages.

Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 400 pages.

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text 2019-01-20 20:59
Reading progress update: I've read 56 out of 400 pages.
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

"He was lucky, really, that a good scientist like Lecoq de Boisbaudran discovered eka-aluminium first. If someone had poked around for one of his mistakes – Mendeleev predicted there were many elements before hydrogen and swore the sun’s halo contained a unique element called coronium – the Russian might have died in obscurity. But just as people forgave ancient astrologers who spun false, even contradictory, horoscopes and fixated instead on the one brilliant comet they predicted exactly, people tend to remember only Mendeleev’s triumphs. Moreover, when simplifying history it’s tempting to give Mendeleev, as well as Meyer and others, too much credit. They did the important work in building the trellis on which to nail the elements; but by 1869, only two-thirds of all elements had been discovered, and for years some of them sat in the wrong columns and rows on even the best tables."

Too much credit? Too much credit for being able to imagine beyond what was known at the time and what could have been known at the time?

 

And where exactly lies Kean's contribution to explaining how the world around us works? It certainly is not by way of his erratic explanations in this book.

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url 2019-01-04 08:24
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review 2019-01-02 18:40
A Happy Endings Wedding (Happy Endings Book Club #11) by Kylie Gilmore
A Happy Endings Wedding - Kylie Gilmore

 

 

All a wedding needs is two people in love and the people that love them. For Josh and Hailey who took the scenic route to their happiness, the day has finally arrived, but the surprises just won't stop. Will they make it to their happily ever after with the bride's sanity still intact? A Happy Endings Wedding is classic Gilmore. There's humor, heart and honest emotion that will keep readers laughing through their tears and remembering why these characters are so easy to love.

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