Skip to main content

Permit me a little jubilation

Just occasionally you get a book review that you want to shout to the world about. I've just had one that's got me all excited - the only slight oddity being it's for a book that doesn't come out until August.

The book in question is Before the Big Bang, of which you will no doubt hear more as August comes upon us. And the review is in Kirkus Reviews. (You'll see it in the 'Non-fiction' section.)

As I understand it, the reason these reviews are published so early is so that bookshops, libraries and the like can get a heads-up. I can only hope someone notices this one. Also, apparently, Kirkus are known for being quite fierce in their reviewing, so getting a starred review like this one is something of a coup.

Kirkus is a pay site, so you can't read the review there. Just to give a taste, here's some highlights:

Excellent popular history of how humans understand the universe...
British science writer Clegg (Upgrade Me: Our Amazing Journey to Human 2.0, 2008, etc.) excels in recounting the struggle over our universe’s origin, which most—but not all—agree lies in a vast primeval expansion known as the Big Bang... Clegg follows the footsteps of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and Timothy Ferris’s Coming of Age in the Milky Way. He shares his predecessors’ enthusiasm, eloquence and ability to explain complex ideas but provides a bonus by covering startling developments of the past decade...

Forgive me if I now go and do a small but meaningful dance in the garden.

Comments

  1. Nice one, Brian. You are forgiven. Just watch where you're putting your feet in the garden...

    Thanks for link to Kirkus - not come across them before.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well done, Brian. I must say, a good review can keep me buoyed up for weeks. This could be a reflection of the sad ordinariness of my life, or that I get very few good reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  3. John - Kirkus are apparently very influential in the US.

    Mr Crox - neither, I'm sure. It's just thrilling to have an afirmation from someone who isn't a friend/relative/financially involved that what you write isn't utter rubbish after all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm dancing for you too. And I can't wait to get the book. This one's right up my proverbial alley!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Mirror, mirror

A little while ago I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Royal Institution in London - arguably the greatest location for science communication in the UK. At one point in the talk, I put this photograph on the screen, which for some reason caused some amusement in the audience. But the photo was illustrating a serious point: the odd nature of mirror reflections. I remember back at school being puzzled by a challenge from one of our teachers - why does a mirror swap left and right, but not top and bottom? Clearly there's nothing special about the mirror itself in that direction - if there were, rotating the mirror would change the image. The most immediately obvious 'special' thing about the horizontal direction is that the observer has two eyes oriented in that direction - but it's not as if things change if you close one eye. In reality, the distinction is much more interesting - we fool ourselves into thinking that the image behind the mirror is what's on ou