“Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries” by Neil DeGrasse Tyson – narrated by Dion Graham

After I post this I will officially be caught up with book posts! I’m vowing not to get behind again. Next month is NaBloPoMo so I’ll be posting daily then so at least I’m guaranteed to stay caught up on book posts through the month of November haha! Ok, on to the review.

This book is a collection of Tyson’s essays from Natural History Magazine. Audible offered it as a daily deal and I snatched it up with enthusiasm. I’ve followed Neil Tyson on Twitter for awhile after reading a tweet of his. I can’t remember what it was but I’m sure it was something either scientific and interesting or scientific and sarcastic or both. He was also in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. I remember being overly excited when I heard his name on the show. Hey! I follow him!

“Death By Black Hole” was very interesting. I like reading nonfiction every so often to keep my brain sharp. I get a kick out of how tired I get when I listen to a book like this. This book definitely gave me brain cramps several times haha! I’ve always been a visual learner, still am even though my eyes no longer work. So I didn’t have a problem with the parts of the book I could put mental images to like planets and asteroids and the color spectrum and stars and such. During parts of the book that discussed planetary physics however, my mind wandered until things got back to what I could imagine. My mind never wandered far though because Tyson made jokes throughout the book that would grab my attention.

Near the end of the book I was pleasantly surprised to hear the name of an observatory I am very familiar with since it’s only about fifty miles from where I grew up. Tyson talks about the Kitt Peak National Observatory and how it managed to get the city of Tucson Arizona to pass a city light ordinance. I did not know about this! Actually the more I think about this, a milky memory is forming somewhere in the back of my mind. Maybe I do remember…I blame whatever illness I had as a kid that kept me from going on the Kitt Peak field trip. I never did make it there before my eyes quit working. How unfair.

This link explains the light ordinance and why we need to preserve our dark skies here. The more I read about this the more the memory is sharpening. I do remember that I knew about this back in the day. It was really cool to have it discussed in the book I was reading, a book written by a scientist I greatly admire. I wonder if the pathway lights at his building no longer point up. tisk tisk Mr. Tyson! I bet they’re fixed. This book was published in 2007. Back to the lights in Tucson, I remember driving near the University of Arizona campus at night and seeing the odd colored street lights. There is a planetarium on the campus so the street lights are this eery yellowy orange light. I’m guessing the spectrum of that color doesn’t travel well into the sky, helping to preserve the dark skies and allowing excellent views at the planetarium.

I really enjoyed and laughed out loud during a segment where Tyson describes all the mistakes made in movies, like the starry sky Rose stares into as she floats on the board at the end of Titanic having the wrong stars. Right at the end of the book, tyson discusses God and science. That chapter was really good.

I’m so happy Audible made this a daily deal! I was glad to start a fiction book again last night, but a nice science book is always a welcome break after I read several heavy or scary books. The narrator was very easy to listen to. Almost soothing, smooth. I liked it.

Rating: Entertaining

“Death by Black Hole” at Audible ~ “Death by Black Hole” at Amazon

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