It is week 15 of the year and I'm on my 14th book but only my 5th blog post about books. Here's my list thus far...
1. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglass Adams
2. Leviathon by Scott Westerfeld
3. The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
4. The Little Book by Shelden Edwards
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
6. Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
7. A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson
8. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
9. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
10. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
11. Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
12. Country Driving by Peter Hessler
13. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
14. Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (still in progress)
Lost World, Remarkable Creatures and Galileo's Dream each have made me stop to think about the science I take for granted as each of these books deals with the state of science in a given time. Lost World of course isn't a modern book so when Professor Challenger's expounds on science facts it seems quait and antiquated. But Remarkable Creatures and Galileo's Dream are both newly released, and the authors had to put themselves into the minds of historical figures and have those figures react to their discoveries and grapple with what it might mean. It gives me pause that idea of extinction, for instance, was earth shatteringly new, 200 years ago, and it is extraordinary to me to how the authors bring that sense of wonder, awe and confusion to life as these characters struggle to make sense of what they discover.
My ds and I are both reading Galileo's Dream, but haven't quite finished it yet. So far --I'm about half way done-- we agree that the historical fiction aspect of the book is our favorite part. Galileo has come to life. The sci fi part we can't quite decide about, why it is there, whether it is worthwhile, how it is central to the story. It's that big question -- WHY did the author write this book? Tune in next week when I'll see if my son and I come up with an answer.