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

20120328-140141.jpgI love to talk, but I have found that people really only want to listen if I actually have something to speak about. Funny, eh? It’s the truth though; if I have nothing interesting to say, but a driving need to say it. people will eventually get fed up with me and move on. I remember an instance when I was at a party in Missoula, Montana with a bunch of writing students. This was a party held at the house of one of the professors from the graduate writing program, and occurred after a reading on campus. I’m not one to shy away from a party, but I definitely was not in my element at this one. So I did what I always do, tell jokes, and talk about what I know. Literature, the esoteric deep stuff these kids were into, is not my strongest subject, so I went to personal anecdotes and jokes. At one point I was standing in a circle with about 8 other students and it seemed like we were having a good time, laughing and telling stories. I was talking about living in South Africa, and telling a few fun stories about life in Seattle, when people from the circle started to peel off and attend to other matters. A couple guys went and got beers, a couple other people kind of just left the circle, while others when to greet a professor and chat him up. All at once I found my self standing alone, looking for someone I knew. I eventually found my girlfriend, and began talking to her. As I looked back to where the group had been standing before I found something shocking, and disheartening; the group had reformed, exactly in the same spot, just with out me.

I had bored the group into pulling a tactical maneuver that was, in essence, a false retreat. What does all this have to do with the book, “The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements”? Everything, at least to me it does. I have always loved to read, usually either way out there science fiction, dry technical text books, or classics written by stuffy dead guys. This reading habit had the side effect of making me a pretty boring conversationalist when it came to many subjects. “The Disappearing Spoon” is a book that has helped me take a step in the right direction, away from stuffy boring facts, or irrelevant subject matter. It’s a book that has helped to arm me with interesting, short stories that some people might actually want to hear.

“The Disappearing Spoon” is filled with stories from the world of chemistry that contain a very personal flavor. I could tell you about molecular bonds, and the amount of energy needed to break those bonds, depending on the type of bond, and the location in the shell where the shared electron exists, and the amount of energy input. Or I could tell you a story about how Gallium is a metal which moves from solid to liquid at just above room temperature, and so a spoon made out of this wonderful metal will melt in a cup of hot tea, making it seem to vanish. I see one of these fun little stories going over really well at a party and the other getting me beat up after high school lets out.

This book brings the history of the periodic table alive, with stories about human life interacting with science in a way no Chemistry lecture ever could. Anyone with the slightest interest in science would enjoy reading this book. Hmmm, that reads like a Reading Rainbow book review, but it’s true, The Disappearing Spoon is amazingly enjoyable, fun to read, and full of fun stories with which to impress your friends. If you are looking for something in the non-fiction realm to add to your reading list make it this book. If you don’t like non-fiction then just tell your self the stories in The Disappearing Spoon are not real.

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

Pages: 416

Average Cost: $14.99

Available for E-reader: Yes

Final Verdict: This book has Geek Cred.

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