Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: "Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout"

I find science alluring and romantic, probably because I don't understand much of it. Sure, I managed to eek my way through biology and astronomy in college, but that's about as far as it goes. I couldn't tell you how electricity works or what's the difference between a proton and an electron and if any math enters the picture then you might as well be talking to a concrete cinder block. But I love the Idea of science. I love reading the stories behind discoveries and the biographies of those who devoted their entire lives to a concept that we now take completely for granted.

I love the intersection, that blazing spark, where science and art and literature and the humanities all come together.

Lauren Redniss' gorgeous book Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout throws gasoline on that spark and then waits for you to be consumed in the blaze. Not only does it address myriad aspects of science- love, passion, fights to the death, obsession, bitter sorrow, and, oh yeah, discovering elements crucial to the fate of the human race- it takes myriad forms itself as Redniss spins her biographical tale. Radioactive is a work of art, with mythical illustrations comprised of watercolors, chalk drawings, found object collages, photograph compilations and other techniques that seamlessly and beautifully blend together to give the reader the full experience of the story. Just the act of flipping through the startling, brilliantly colored pages can be stirring and awe-inspiring.

If you are a fan of science, or art, or love, or the intricacies of the human spirit, this book should be in your hands....

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