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The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

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 very impressive, very well-edited prose dealing with the various interesting elements of the periodic table. Kean in one or two places over-explains, he has a noticeable stylistic quirk of suddenly bringing up a contemporary reference


yttrium is a very interesting element. it is used in record player needles and certain advanced medical tools. oh by the way did you hear britney spears got a yttrium nipple ring last year.


(okay, kean didn't actually write that. exaggeration for humourous effect)

invested in this ebook because Little/brown is such a reputable publisher and was not disappointed. clearly went through the revision / edit / peer-review process and in entertaining layman's fashion expresses the author's keen love of chemistry and fascinating elemental properties / history. books such as this of course have to be written for a broad audience, so I don't take too many points off for the one or two places Kean over explains. further, the book does not lose steam, remaining full of fascinating anecdote throughout.

i reserve the 5 only because of... sheer statistical ruthlessness? like maybe the book wasn't amazing amazing amazing... i dunno... will think about it after a second read. 4/5 for now. high 4.

6/14 re-read

was only somewhat engaged during my first read-through, and a second was helpful. yes Kean does have a slight tendency to jump around topics, taking up some 19th century investigation in one paragraph, and then suddenly pointing out a 1990s event the next, probably due to his extreme youth. however, this same emergetic, high-interest style makes for a book that can be read in one sitting. i'll ease off on the 'high 4' comment to a solid '4' but a solid 4/5 it is, no chance of a backslide to 3.