My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Canon

The Canon
My new section at Lemuria Bookstore is the one with science, nature,
sports, ecology, hunting and fishing, adventure, sailing. We are all
becoming one with our newly assigned sections. We are getting to know each
and every book by studying its history in the bookstore and the message,
plot or puzzle inside. We might even go so far as to read the ones that
catch our eye. In this new trove of nonfiction, I have found a gem of a
great read. It is called The Canon by Natalie Angier. It is now available
in both paperback and hardback. On the front dustjacket are colorful
curlicues like dancing genes that promise some good fun inside.

Opening the book, the reader is instantly caught up in Angier's passionate
challenge to entertain as well as educate. Not your typical late night
potion for nodding off to sleep, this book will make you want to get up
and call your old science teacher, the one who required the yearly
projects for the Science Fair, and tell her she had teaching all wrong.
You might even wish you didn't pick astronomy at Ole Miss in the 1970's
just to get through your undergrad requirements.So I played a little game
to see if the boast on the jacket could truly entertain me as much as so
much good literature like the recent Mudbound or The Outlander or The
People of the Book or even Hell at the Breech. I went to the section
called Physics with the secondary title And Nothing's Plenty for Me. She
poses the question , "What if an asteroid portentously resembling a
Tyranosaurus rex, a giant trilobite or Steven Speilberg, were to slam into
Earth tomorrow, annihilating the bulk of human civilization and the
billions of civilians therein. . .What would be worth saving?" Here's the
answer: " The idea that all things are made of atoms that move in
perpetual motion (attracting and repelling and squeezing into a very tight
space from the bird's eye viewpoint)." She goes on to say that "physics is
the science of starter parts and basic forces and tells such things as why
a white T-shirt keeps you cooler in the sun than a black one.

Going to another chapter, perhaps appealing more to the general reader,
she waxes poetically about bone tissue in this section dealing with
molecular biology. She describes the bone matter as "so feisty and eager
to flaunt their powers that one might think they belonged to the
metaphoric skeleton that one tries to keep in one's closet."
There is nothing mundane or inert in this book. If we had all begun our
study of science with this book, we would probably all be scientists with
no one left to sell books in our fine independent bookstores. I think you
will savor this book as much as I have with chapter titles like
Probabilities - For Whom the Bell Curves; Thinking Scientifically- An Out
of Body Experience; Evolutionary Biology - the Theory of Every Body.